Monday, April 23, 2007

More talks with labor

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The Democrats are continuing their discussions with labor. This time it's Colorado Governor Bill Ritter:

Gov. Bill Ritter met today with AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and promised to work with him to resolve problems with organized labor leading up to the Democratic National Convention next year. Ritter, a Democrat, said he and Sweeney discussed the lack of union workers at area hotels, problems over contracts with stage hands and the temporary use of union labor at the main convention venue, the Pepsi Center.
Sweeney said that "a number of labor issues" arise over the staging of a national political convention, "and so, many of our local unions here have issues that they wanted to raise and which they are raising and we will be working on from now until the convention."
Sweeney declined to say what the union would do if agreements aren't reached on the outstanding issues, including the hiring of union stagehands for the convention and signing a contract with the Hyatt Hotel, the main hotel for delegates.

"I really am very optimistic that not just the hotel issue, but that many of these issues that relate directly to the convention, that every effort will be made to resolve them and I'd like to focus on that and not talk about what if," Sweeney said.

It certainly seems that tensions have cooled after this meeting and the meetings that Dean held last week. There will likely be flare-ups as things move along, but with national figures like Sweeney and Dean now heavily involved, hopefully things will settle down.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Howard Dean's Screamin' Goodtime Jamboree

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An amusing look at Dean's April 12th visit to Denver.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

DNC and labor making progress

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Finally, some cooler heads may be prevailing in the disputes between labor and the organizers of the 2008 Democratic Convention:

Organizers of the Democratic National Convention made progress Thursday in resolving labor disputes that threatened to overshadow the event.

Labor officials were granted a seat on the Denver 2008 host committee that they had sought since last summer. The leader of one of the state's largest unions said it was time to "move on," and national AFL-CIO President John Sweeney flew into Denver to "tone down the rhetoric" that has surrounded the debate over labor issues in Colorado.
Several sources said the atmosphere at the meeting was cordial. Much of the discussion involved the contract local unions have been asked to sign promising not to picket or disrupt the convention. The Pepsi Center is normally a nonunion facility, but during the convention only union labor will be used.

The local stagehands union has objected to working in a non- union facility and had refused to sign the contract. National representatives from that union, as well as from the construction trades, the communication workers and Unite Here - which organizes hotel workers - all met with Dean and Hickenlooper.

At the meeting, labor was promised a seat on the Denver 2008 Host committee. The unions also asked for Hickenlooper's help in organizing downtown hotels. About one-third of the 6,000 delegates are expected to be union members, and they prefer to stay at a union hotel. However, the new convention center Hyatt Regency is currently the only hotel that's been organized.
"A lot of us want to move on," said Mitch Ackerman, Colorado president of the Service Employees International Union

More from AFL-CIO president John Sweeney:
Sweeney met with union reps who had attended the Dean meeting.

"I think the discussion was a good discussion," Sweeney said as he left the Hyatt Regency - the one city hotel where workers have formed a union and are negotiating for a contract. "But there's a lot of work that needs to be done."

And from Mitch Ackerman, president of the Colorado Council of the Service Employees International Union:
"There is consternation about the fact that a nonunion venue was chosen, and there is some consternation that this is a town where workers really struggle to form unions."
As I've said, regardless of threats, the convention is staying in Denver, so it make sense for all sides to figure out ways to work out their differences.

Friday, April 13, 2007

DNCC vs Host Committee

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Dan Slater explains the difference:

Right now, there are two separate organizations who are charged with running the Convention planning effort. The first is the Denver 2008 Host Committee, which most of you have heard about. Denver 2008 is locally-run, and is the group that formed the convention bid and are now working to raise the money and volunteers to support that bid. Right now, anybody locally who is working on the Convention is probably working with this group. However, there is a separate organization, known as the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC), which is the arm of the DNC charged with running the Convention for the DNC. The DNCC is the group that gets the FEC grant to run the Convention, and in the end, the DNCC will be spending most of the money raised by the Denver 2008 Host Committee.

In the end, the DNCC is primarily concerned with making sure that what goes on at the Convention is a good portrayal of Democrats in general and our nominee in specific. The Host Committee, on the other hand, is primarily concerned with making sure that Denver looks good (by making the Convention look good). That’s quite an over-simplification, but it probably gets the point across. The DNC wants people running the DNCC to be folks who know what putting together a successful Convention is about, and who have done this in the past — and who answer to the DNC. That’s why the team running the DNCC looks a little different than those running the Host Committee.

DNC Announces Convention Leadership Team

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DNC Chairman Howard Dean has announced the six members of the senior leadership team for the 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC):

Leah Daughtry, CEO
Peggy Cusack, Chief of Staff
Susana Carbajal, General Counsel
Jenni Engebretsen, Deputy CEO for Public Affairs
Sky Gallegos, Deputy CEO for Intergovernmental Relations
Cameron Moody, Deputy CEO for Operations
Jim McMullen, Deputy CEO for Administration and Finance
You can see the press release for all of their backgrounds. Daughtry and Moody were on the Technical Advisory Committee that helped advise Dean on the convention choice. I would highlight Cameron Moody's resume:
Cameron Moody has more than 18 years of experience in project management, strategic planning, special event logistics, and transportation systems.... Moody was Deputy CEO for Operations for the 2004 Democratic National Convention Committee where he oversaw the planning and implementation of Security, Transportation and Housing. In this role, he interfaced with the Boston Host Committee, Secret Service, Boston Police, Boston Conventions and Visitors Bureau, Boston Fire Dept., Boston Police, State Dept. of Transportation and a host of other agencies and corporate entities. Moody also served as Deputy Director of Operations for the 2004 and 2000 Democratic National Conventions and Deputy Director of Transportation for the 1996 Democratic National Convention. Cameron also worked on the 2002, 2000 and 1996 Olympics and the 1997 Denver Summit of the Eight (G-8 Economic Summit).
Readers of this blog know that it's the logistics that interest me, and Moody has the right background.

But when will Wally Podrazik's hiring be announced?

One other note. Some in the blogosphere are unhappy with the choice of Jenni Engebretsen because she comes from the RIAA. You can see the reasons at Boing Boing and Daily Kos.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Convention Jobs

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Interested in a job at the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver?

If you'd like to work for the Democratic National Convention Committee, you can email your resume to While we're not hiring right now, we'll keep your resume on hand for when we are.
Of course, it will be just a little easier to get a volunteer position.

Official Convention Web Site

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The DNCC (Democratic National Convention Commitee) finally has the official convention web site up and running:

Today, the Democratic National Convention Committee unveiled its website for the 2008 Democratic Convention in Denver: The website provides up-to-date information on the convention, which will be held from August 25-28, 2008. The 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver will help put the Democratic Party's presidential nominee on the path to victory for the November 2008 election.
Looks like they'll have lots of good stuff here, including video (still under construction) from the last 6 conventions.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Dean: Denver "a little risky"

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Democratic chairman Howard Dean:

"Denver is a little risky. But if you don't take risks, you don't win."

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Dean's visit to Denver

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Lot's of news about DNC Chairman Howard Dean's visit to Denver on April 12. Dean was supposed to meet with AFL-CIO President John Sweeney to discuss the convention labor situation, but scheduling issues are causing problems:

A labor showdown over the 2008 Democratic National Convention to be held in Denver might have to wait a bit. A possible meeting next week to address a rift between labor leaders and the Democratic National Committee remained up in the air Tuesday because of scheduling challenges.

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney initially planned to meet with Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, who will be in town April 12 on convention-related business. But Sweeney also wants to meet with Gov. Bill Ritter, who will be out of town at the time. "As of this afternoon, he (Sweeney) has not made a final decision," Esmeralda Aguilar, a spokeswoman in the AFL-CIO's national office, said about a possible Denver trip. "It sounds very tentative."

While Sweeney was among the labor leaders who earlier assured Dean that labor disputes could be worked out ahead of the 2008 convention, the AFL-CIO later went on the attack after Ritter vetoed a pro-union bill. Sweeney and other leaders in the labor federation have threatened to pressure Democrats to move their convention to another city.
Regardless of that meeting, Dean will also be holding a public rally. Dan Slater has the news:
Some of you may have heard by now that DNC Chair Howard Dean is coming to Colorado next week to help celebrate the award of the Democratic National Convention in 2008 to Denver. Here’s the best part: you’re invited!

The DNC issued the formal press advisory this afternoon, announcing the details of the event, and how you can get your tickets to attend. Here’s that advisory:

Washington, DC - Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean will join Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, and Denver 2008 Host Committee President Elbra Wedgeworth in a community celebration of the Denver 2008 Democratic National Convention on April 12th. The event will be open to the public and tickets can be picked up beginning Monday at the Colorado Democratic Party and Denver 2008 Host Committee offices listed at the end of this advisory.
Let’s be sure to give Governor Dean a great Colorado welcome! It is so important that we show him exactly how enthusiastic we are about the DNC coming to Denver next summer — if you’ve talked about wanting to volunteer, or to help out the Convention effort, well, this is the first thing you can do: show up. It is always a great day when Governor Dean comes to Colorado, but this is even bigger — it’s about the Convention. See you there!

See DemNotes for all the meeting details.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Hoffa: Labor issue could "blow up"

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In another sign that Denver's potential labor issues are not getting closer to being resolved, Teamsters union leader James Hoffa Jr. said to Colorado Governor Bill Ritter that if key labor issues for the 2008 Democratic Convention aren't worked out, "it could blow up":

Teamsters union leader James Hoffa Jr. joined the debate over Denver's selection as host for the Democratic National Convention by confronting Gov. Bill Ritter at a Washington dinner and promising the issue could "blow up" next summer if Colorado doesn't become more labor-friendly.

"We're very upset about it," the International Brotherhood of Teamsters president said of the Democrats' decision to stage their convention at the nonunion Pepsi Center. In an interview Monday, Hoffa also mentioned Ritter's veto of a law that might have made it easier to organize unions in Colorado. "All of labor is upset," Hoffa said.

Hoffa said it is "ironic" that the Republicans are planning their convention in heavily unionized Minneapolis-St. Paul. "Maybe we should flip it and let the Republicans come to Denver," he said.

Hoffa expressed his displeasure personally to Ritter on Saturday night in Washington at the annual Gridiron Club Dinner, where politicians mingle with the media. He said he told Ritter that if he and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper didn't work out some key issues, the convention could be plagued with protests and picket lines.

"It could blow up," Hoffa told Ritter.

Hoffa said he agrees with the president of the AFL-CIO, John Sweeney. Last month, the AFL-CIO said it would ask the Democratic Party to move its convention to another city if a law like the one Ritter vetoed wasn't enacted.
"The governor is confident that all of the issues can be worked out and that we will have a successful convention in 2008," said Ritter's spokesman, Evan Dreyer.
It is not unusual for labor to use the leverage a national Democratic convention brings, observers say. At the 2004 convention, national Democrats helped mediate a labor dispute between police and the city of Boston that stopped a picket line and gained the police a new contract and big raise.

But this time Democrats tried to craft an agreement meant to get past the Pepsi Center's nonunion status. So far unsigned, the agreement would promise that only unions would be hired to do the work at the Pepsi Center in exchange for a promise by unions not to protest.

The Democratic National Committee said Monday that it remained optimistic that differences could be solved. "Labor is an important partner," said DNC spokeswoman Stacie Paxton. "We will continue to address concerns and work with all of our partners toward a mutually acceptable agreement and successful convention."
You would at least like to see some conciliatory talk going on, some sense of finding a common ground. I'm sure it will happen at some point, but not yet.