WaPo, NYTimes, Networks Ignore Labor Unions Threatening Boycott of 2012 Democratic Convention

On Friday I noted an AP report about some trouble within the Democratic Party coalition as some labor unions have threatened to boycott the 2012 nominating convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

I wondered if the major mainstream media outlets would report the news. Unfortunately it appears many haven't. A search of major newspapers published between August 12 and 15 and featuring the words "labor" and "Charlotte" failed to turn up any hits in either the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, or Washington Post.

A similar search of Nexis for ABC, NBC, and CBS news transcripts failed to generate any hits.

For its part the Chicago Tribune newspaper carried a brief item on the matter, on page 31 of its August 14 early edition:

Some unions plan to skip Dems' convention in N.C.

WASHINGTON -- Casting North Carolina as an anti-union bastion, more than a dozen trade unions affiliated with the national AFL-CIO have told the Democratic National Committee they will sit out the 2012 convention in Charlotte, N.C.

Coming on the heels of some liberals' complaints that President Barack Obama is giving in to Republicans, the unions' decision is another sign that key Democratic allies are unhappy with Obama and other party leaders as they gear up for a difficult election season.

Local and state labor leaders are still on board. The North Carolina AFL-CIO lobbied for Charlotte to be the convention site. On Friday, a leader of the labor group called the national unions' decision understandable, but "shortsighted."

Still, the decision by the national unions -- representing 2.5 million workers in the building and construction trades -- reflects disappointment from labor activists who Democrats count on to get union members to the polls.

In a letter last week to Democratic Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the unions bemoaned the high unemployment rate nationwide and the choice of Charlotte at a time when union members "face assault after assault."

"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," Mark Ayers, president of the building trades unit, wrote to Wasserman.

Labor and Democrats had a similar squabble over the choice of Denver for the 2008 summit, where the gathering was held at the nonunion Pepsi Center.

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Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.