-By Warner Todd Huston
The Cleveland, Ohio chapter of the AFL-CIO is mad. After Cleveland was chosen as the host city for the 2012 Democrat Party convention some carped that Cleveland was not sufficiently unionized to qualify as the right place for the Democrats to hold their event. Cleveland’s AFL-CIO, however, begs to differ.
The AFL-CIO was so incensed at the accusation that they wrote a letter to the DNC.
“Cleveland and the Cleveland metropolitan area boast a healthy number of union hotels,” the executive secretary of the region’s AFL-CIO federation, Harriet Applegate, wrote in a letter to Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine this week.
In October the union agitation group UNITE HERE sent a letter to the Democratic National Committee demanding that both Cleveland and Charlotte, N.C. be dropped from contention because there isn’t enough union participation in those cities. UNITE HERE insisted that only St. Louis, Missouri and Minneapolis, Minnesota satisfied the favored amount of unionization to suit them. Of course, this whole claim — at least as far as Cleveland goes — is absurd. But there is one reason why UNITE HERE would lie about Cleveland and it has to do with a rival union.
You see, Cleveland’s hotels are organized by Workers United, a group that split away from UNITE HERE in 2009. So it isn’t that UNITE HERE found no unions in Cleveland, it’s that they found the wrong unions in Cleveland. What we have here is one union trying to torpedo the possibility that its rival union might get some business.
So much for honor among thieves, eh?
But just take a second to think about what this whole controversy is saying. These unions are saying that the Democrats cannot patronize any place that isn’t suffused in unions. In other words, these people are asserting that Democrats do not represent any American that isn’t in a union.
I think that suits me just fine, actually. If Democrats don’t want to let into their party anyone not in a union, well I say that is a great idea. After all, unions are less than 20% of the entire American work force. If Democrats want to limit themselves to such a tiny number of voters, I say they should go for it!