Thursday, May 04, 2006

Will Denver's bid have a union problem?

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

I've written here and here how the lack of union hotels could hurt some of the bids for the 2008 Democratic Convention, especially for Denver and New Orleans. In fact, the DNC had to get special dispensation to book a non-union hotel for last month's Spring meeting.

Well, it turns out that some Denver labor leaders are not happy about Denver's bid for the convention. From a nice article by Julie Dunn in today's Denver Post:

Several Denver union leaders are prepared to oppose the city's efforts to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention, mainly because the city does not have a unionized hotel to house attendees.

The Denver Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO recently passed a resolution declaring its opposition to Denver's hosting the convention. It plans to discuss those concerns with Denver City Council members and the city's bid organizers before broaching them with the Democratic National Committee.

"There are too many elected Democrats in Colorado that have not honored their pledge to help workers form unions or protect workers during contract campaigns," the resolution states.
The union group is sending the resolution to its 80 local unions this week.

"This is not, 'Don't even bother, throw Denver out the window,"' said Leslie Moody, president of the Denver Area Labor Federation. "We want to see this convention encourage the city to take the wages and benefits of our lowest-paid workers more seriously."

Local lawyer Steve Farber, co-chairman of the Denver 2008 Host Committee, said he does not expect Denver's nonunion hotels to derail the group's efforts. "No Democratic Party leader has yet told me that it will impair our efforts to bring them here," he said. "I assume it is a factor, but there are numerous factors that are going to be considered. "If (the labor federation) thinks they're going to block the bid, they're only hurting themselves," he added. "This is about jobs and economic impact."

Other cities also under consideration are New Orleans, Minneapolis, New York, Detroit, Dallas and Las Vegas. Of those, only Denver and Dallas do not have unionized hotels, according to Unite Here, which represents hotel workers across the nation.

Unite Here, one of 14 union groups to endorse the resolution, is working to unionize roughly 650 workers at the new Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center. "I know there is strong support and interest among the workers there," said Moody.

Several city and tourism leaders voiced concern that efforts to unionize the 1,100-room hotel were becoming too politicized. "In terms of them using this as a vehicle to unionize the Hyatt, we don't feel that's appropriate," said Denver City Councilwoman Elbra Wedgeworth, who is also a co-chairwoman of the host committee. "They need to do that on their own."

The Denver host committee could likely be split by this issue, as, by definition it combines business and Democrats together. But it seems to me that they should support the union efforts, as it will make it more likely for Denver to get the bid.


Anonymous said...

Minneapolis doesn't have union problems...