Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Denver and union leader still talking

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

The latest on Denver's negotiations with it's local labor leaders. From the Denver Post:

Negotiations to ease labor issues and save Denver's bid for the 2008 Democratic National Convention have made little progress despite a decision on which city will host the convention expected soon. Denver and host committee officials have been in contact with local stagehands union leader Jim Taylor for about two weeks. But Taylor still objects to holding the convention at the Pepsi Center, another union official said.
Leslie Moody, president of the Denver Area Labor Federation, said Taylor and national labor officials want to hold the convention at the Colorado Convention Center.

"Jim is actually really curious about the convention center and why it hasn't been seriously considered as the venue," Moody said. "He is really looking into that and looking at the bid and figuring out why they have written off the Colorado Convention Center so much."

But host committee officials said the convention center is simply not an option. The Democratic National Committee specifically asked for a basketball arena for the convention, said Debbie Willhite, the executive director of Denver's host committee. And host committee president Elbra Wedgeworth said switching to the convention center would amount to creating an entirely new bid in the 11th hour.

She added that the convention center is booked during the weeks needed for the 2008 convention. "Unless they are willing to raise millions of dollars, there is just no way it could be held over there logistically," said Wedgeworth, who is also a Denver councilwoman.

Mr. Taylor is clearly not a reader of this blog. As I wrote back in February:

The Democrats haven't been in a "convention hall" setting since San Francisco in 1984, and they don't want to go back. There's less seating, bad sightlines for any far-away seats, and no existing skyboxes to entertain the VIPs.

And from the Rocky Mountain News:

A local labor official received a call Tuesday from AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, asking what it would take to overcome union objections to bringing the 2008 Democratic National Convention to the Pepsi Center.

The call was the latest sign that a labor dispute that has held up Denver's bid for the convention is now being worked out in Washington, D.C.
Steve Adams, president of the Colorado AFL-CIO, said he thought the dispute would be settled in Washington. He said national labor officials have authority to negotiate a deal on behalf of local affiliates. "I have a sneaking suspicion something will happen here at the very end," Adams said.

Getting the national labor folks involved is very smart, and looks like it might be the resolution to this whole thing. Now the Hotline thinks this is all "Not a Good Sign for Denver", but I disagree. The Hotline assumes Dean is making a decision this week, but Dean is in no rush, and if he can get labor to sign off on a Denver convention, he should have no problem waiting a little more for that to happen.


Gabe Stein said...

This is now beyond ridiculous. I'm usually moderately pro-union, but this one man is being given way too much power and he's clearly uninformed and in no position to be doing this. 'Why can't we hold it at the Convention Center?' That's Bush league!

Now the national/state giants are intervening because they want the convention in Denver, yet I'm getting flak over at Kos for not sticking to Democratic union principles? Taylor is the only one here mis-representing unions, and at the same time putting the entire National Convention at stake in a crucial year when the location definitely matters. And for what? A few hundred jobs at the Pepsi Center that will be unionized during the convention. Like I said, beyond ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

Bummer that it's taking so long, but you are WONDERFUL Matt in keeping us updated!

Thank you! Libby K.

Gabe Stein said...

I want to reiterate Libby's comment. Despite my passion at times, the service you're (Matt) providing is wonderful and I enjoy reading the blog immensely.

Matt said...

Libby, Gabe, thanks for the kind words. -matt