Friday, June 29, 2007

Union rooms hard to come by

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

One of the biggest problems with Denver's bid to host the 2008 Democratic National Convention was the lack of union hotel rooms. But when workers at the Hyatt Regency formed a union, it was a huge boost to Denver's chances. But the Hyatt is only one hotel, and rather than having the states fight over which delegations get to stay there...

In a significant break with tradition, no state delegations will stay in a unionized hotel in Denver during the 2008 Democratic National Convention, the national party confirmed Wednesday. Because there is just one unionized hotel in the city, Democratic National Convention Committee officials were concerned that states with high union representation would be clamoring for the 1,100-room Hyatt Regency Denver.

The Hyatt will be used during the Aug. 25-28, 2008, convention but will probably house national party officials and support staff....The arrangement disappoints many Democrats, whose rule of thumb is to seek out union hotels whenever they travel and who are accustomed to staying at union hotels during convention week. The last time Democratic conventioneers traveled to a city with little to no union representation was 1988, in Atlanta.

But several state party officials interviewed said they considered the accommodation plan a workable solution. "There is one union hotel in all of Denver," said New York State Democratic Party chairwoman June O'Neill. "It's the reality."

DNCC staff discussed the plan at a meeting of Democratic state party chairs in Annapolis, Md., in May. The announcement drew an audible reaction. "There was a collective sigh," said Mary Insenhour, the executive director for the Pennsylvania party. "But what are we going to do?"

You know this drives Pennsylvania and other union states crazy. From last October:
Democratic delegates from states with strong union presences say they're uneasy about staying in non-union hotels. "We simply cannot," said Vivian Guinan, comptroller of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.
This is the price the DNC is paying to have the convention in Denver, but it is still a reasonable price to pay to have the convention in a not pure blue state.

And to take this one step further, in the one union hotel, the union contract is still not in place:
Nearly nine months have past since hotel workers at the Hyatt Regency in Denver made the decision to unionize, and Colorado Confidential has learned that employees are still without a contract.
Can a hotel really be a union hotel without a union contract?