The unions — all part of the AFL-CIO's building and construction trades unit — told party officials this week they are gravely disappointed that labor was not consulted before Democrats settled on Charlotte, N.C., where there are no unionized hotels.
"We find it troubling that the party so closely associated with basic human rights would choose a state with the lowest unionization rate in the country due to regressive policies aimed at diluting the power of workers," Mark Ayers, president of the building trades unit, wrote in a letter to Democratic Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Many unions, of course, will still be in full attendance at the DNC, and the unions that will not be participating are intentionally not using the more negative word "boycott." They're just not going. Nor is this a signal they'll be sitting out the elections.
This is the second cycle in a row that the Democratic party has chosen union-unfriendly territory:
Organized labor and Democrats had a similar squabble over the choice of Denver for the 2008 convention. That gathering was held at the nonunion Pepsi Center and Denver had few unionized hotels. At one point, Teamsters President James Hoffa threatened to "blow up" the convention with picketing and protests if union issues were not worked out.
But the two sides ultimately struck a deal to staff the Pepsi Center with union employees.
We'll see if any such deal is put in place in 2012.