Friday, May 05, 2006

Wedgewood labor comments causing a bit of a stir

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

I noted yesterday that some labor unions in Denver are concerned about Denver's bid for the 2008 Democratic National Convention since none of the hotels in Denver are unionized. But a labor leader seemed to present a moderate approach:

"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."
Denver City Councilwoman Elbra Wedgeworth, who is a co-chairwoman of the Denver host committee, responded by saying she didn't want efforts to unionize at the new Hyatt Regency Denver at the Colorado Convention Center to affect the bid for the convention:
"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."
And then in today's Rocky Mountain News:
One Denver city councilwoman believes the unions have a point, but not one that should hinder the city's efforts at landing the convention.

"We're not going to be able to turn Denver into a union town overnight," Councilwoman Elbra Wedgeworth said.

In an earlier version of the article, no longer linkable, she is also quoted as saying:

Do they have a point? Of course," Wedgeworth added. "But should we be the leverage for them to make that point? I don't think so."
One Denver progressive is not happy with Wedgeworth's responses, and has written her a letter, which includes:
I’m not saying it’s an easy situation with the hotels and all, but don’t you think you could have a least pretended to support the union campaign? Couldn’t you have at least given out some kind words of support, rather than “they need to do that on their own”?
Colorado Democratic Party Vice-Chair Dan Slater responded:
To set the record straight, the Denver 2008 Host Committee has been very inclusive of Labor from its inception. The head of the Colorado AFL/CIO, Steve Adams, is a Member of the Host Committee, and we've had ongoing discussions with the State AFL-CIO regarding our bid. (Note that the resolution was not passed by the State organization; it was passed by DALF.)

There are things we can control, and things we cannot control in our bid. I can assure you that our bid will be as labor-friendly as any in the nation. Where we will be hiring laborers, we will work to ensure hiring union laborers. A Denver Convention will mean an awful lot of jobs for Denver, and we are working to ensure that as many of those jobs are union jobs as possible.

For those who want to be dismissive of Councilwoman Wedgworth due to her comments, I want to say that I've worked closely with Elbra over the past few months on this bid, and I can assure you that she is no "DINO". Elbra is committed to this Party and our values. She's worked tirelessly to help bring the Democratic Party to Denver in 2008.

Sounds like the Denver unions and the Denver Host Committee should spend a little more time talking to each other and a little less time talking to the press.


Anonymous said...

I do not feel any need to defend my comments in the Rocky Mountain News article. I greatly appreciate Dan Slater defending me but as Dan has stated our Denver Host Committee has worked very hard to include union labor as a requirement of our proposal. We have requested and willing to meet with DALF or any union organization regarding the Denver DNC proposal because it is the right thing to do and what we want and will do it. There are many legal issues that are at hand with the unionization of the Hyatt Hotel and that cannot be dismissed or ignored by elected officials on the Denver City Council and the Mayor's Office. We and other democratic elected officals have stated that to DALF. I have talked with Ms. Moody and have the greatest respect for her as she has for me. We are awaiting to hear when a meeting can and will be scheduled to talk about he Denver 2008 DNC Bid.

Anonymous said...

It's time to put all of this Denver 2008 talk to rest. In Las Vegas, outside of the Nevada Republican Party headquarters (aka The Venetian), every single major strip and downtown hotel is unionized. What incentive do these properties have to continue treating their workers with dignity if the Democratic Party, which purports to be the champion of the working family, uses unorganized hotels to stage its biggest event? A decision to hold the convention in Denver would serve to permanently nullify our party’s claim to moral superiority on labor issues.

Anonymous said...

Minneapolis clearly has the most unionized hotels. It is time for a Convention in the heartland of America.

Anonymous said...

Vegas? HAHAHAHAHA!! You want to put a moral debate to rest, you're crazy to go to Vegas, man! Go Denver!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that Las Vegas is even a city being considered. I live in Seattle, and consider myself semi-liberal, but think that after 20 years of RNC ranting about "moral" values and us "dems" with a "lack their of". Really, Las Vegas is great for other conventions, but for something as big as the DNC 2008?! Firstly, it's going be hotter than hell in Vegas in August [I've been thier]. Secondly, what about the families intending to come to the convention for 2008? What kind of a message do we want to send? "Well, if you want family fun and values, huh, you're gonna have to go to the Republican Convention!" ?!?! Personally, I like the idea of Denver hosting the convention, because of; one: historical value (it will be the centennial in the Centennial State). Two: Denver and Colorado have seasons, and fall is supposed to really be beautiful down there. I thought about it, and realized that Denver is in the perfect location to take back the American West for a victorious Predsidential election. And somebody said something about John Denver on one of the previous blogs, and I love that idea to. I'm supporting Denver, unionized or not. Besides, this union thing (which I think has been blown way out of proportion) could open up a converstion with the voters about work ethic/values. And the fact that Republicans are telling America "You lazy welfares! You won't work for minimum wage, so I had to get me an illigeal! Americans are lazy, man!". I see opportunity to win an election with the DNC in Kerry's hometown.

Anonymous said...

I don't see what this big deal is about unions either? I think Denver will get it union or not. It's the perfect place for 2008.

eb said...

Check out some of the union hotels in MN here: and