When the Democratic National Convention convenes in Philadelphia on July 25, union labor will be front and center.
The June 6 signing an official project labor agreement between convention organizers and the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council ensures that the several hundred workers who will retrofit the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia in the weeks leading up to the convention will be union members.
|Head of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades and Local 98 Business Manager John Dougherty, left, meets with Democratic National Convention CEO Rev. Leah Daughtry, center, to sign a project labor agreement that covers all construction for the July nominating event. (Photo credit: H. Barmore/DNCC)
“The labor community is a vital partner to our convention efforts and to our work in the Democratic Party,” said convention CEO Rev. Leah D. Daughtry. “Their commitment to protecting the rights of workers and working families is reflective of the core principles our party will illustrate during the Democratic National Convention. Our valued labor partners will ensure that this convention is built efficiently with an unparalleled quality of craftsmanship.”
The Democratic convention comes immediately on the heels of the Republican gathering in Cleveland. The party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump, is locked in a bitter contract standoff with working people who voted to organize late last year at his Las Vegas Trump International Hotel. Since the vote, Trump has filed 15 NLRB objections against the Culinary Workers and Bartenders unions and stonewalled every attempt to reach a first contract.
“The differences between a Democratic Party that embraces working men and women and brings them into the political process and a Republican Party that embraces an anti-union, anti-worker billionaire as their nominee couldn’t be any clearer,” said Third District Vice President Don Siegel.
In multiple interviews this presidential cycle, Donald Trump has voiced support for right-to-work legislation and hired one of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s top aides to run his political operation. Last November, Trump said the reason America couldn’t compete in a global economy was because, “wages are too high.”
While work begins in Philadelphia, Democrats are busy raising the $84 million the convention is expected to cost, and if recent conventions are any indicator, there will be plenty for IBEW members to do. Both the 2008 and 2012 Democratic conventions featured multi-story LED displays on stage and required thousands of miles of power and communications cabling.
Philadelphia Local 98 Business Manager John Dougherty, who also heads the city’s building and construction trades council, said his members were looking forward to “delivering a first-class convention that will be seen and heard around the world.”
In 2008 and 2012, nearly 40 million viewers tuned in to watch Barack Obama accept the party’s nomination, and 2016 is expected to be no different.
“We will make Philadelphia and the DNC extremely proud,” Dougherty said.
Photo used under a Creative Commons license from Flickr user Shinya Suzuki.