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Unions Already Boycotting 2012 DNC Convention
posted by: Cindy Omlin | August 15, 2011, 04:25 PM   

The AFL-CIO told Democratic Party officials last week that they were angered over the decision not to consult them on selecting a city for the convention. As host cities often see major economic bumps from the thousands of supporters, media, and tourists spending millions over the course of a week of festivities, union leaders worry that the convention is sending the wrong message to President Obama's base.

The decision has made 13 separate trade unions rethink their participation in the convention thus far. One in particular, the International Association of Machinists, made no apologies for boycotting the DNC Convention for the first time in decades. "This is the union that came up with the idea of Labor Day, and the convention starts on Labor Day in a right-to-work state," said spokesman Rick Sloan. "We see that as an affront to working men and women across this country."

In response to the union backlash, Democratic National Convention Committee CEO Steve Kerrigan cited local support, "We were proud to have the support of local labor leaders when we chose Charlotte to host the 2012 Democratic National Convention, including the N.C. AFL-CIO." While the local unions may be cooperating in light of the thousands of travelers promised to the area, the larger national groups have made their disapproval known.

The National Education Association, the nation's largest labor union, has yet to announce plans to sit out the convention, but many argue the damage has already been done in terms of maintaining union support. Political analysts warn the decision may cost the DNC millions of dollars in donations from groups that are considered President Obama's base constituency.

In the wake of labor battles in Wisconsin and Ohio, union leaders from across the country see the selection of North Carolina as a symbolic gesture from the President and Democratic Party officials, who they argue, are not supporting unions the way they have traditionally. A selection of forced-union state could have shown solidarity in the face of labor reforms.

The withdrawal of support from these union groups does not bode well for President Obama's approval numbers. According to a new poll posted Sunday, just 39% of Americans approve of President Obama's job performance, while 54% disapprove. Both are the worst numbers of his presidency, leaving many to speculate grim chances of reelection at a time when his union base is fleeing. Only time will tell if in order to gain money and support from the NEA, President Obama will back off his ambitious education reform agenda that the union has so adamantly opposed, including support for charter schools and Race to the Top competitive grants.

What are your thoughts on the DNC's selection of North Carolina for the 2012 convention?
Comment below.
Originally posted by Alix at AAE.

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