December 8, 2007

Obama Didn't Get Sung The Gore Lullaby

Al Gore joked during the 2000 presidential campaign that his mother sang him to sleep with the union jingle, "Look For The Union Label". Barack Obama could have used a lullaby like that, as he took criticism from organized labor over the choice of venue for his Oprah Winfrey campaign rally. The Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire has no union representation, despite the best efforts of organizers (via Memeorandum):

Barack Obama’s presidential campaign deeply concerned organized labor by booking its big rally Sunday with superstar Oprah Winfrey at the non-union Verizon Wireless Arena.

But an agreement reached tonight ensures no picket line will be set up at the event, saving Obama from an uncomfortable choice and potential embarrassment.

A union representing organized stage hands has been trying unsuccessfully to gain a foothold at the arena since it opened six years ago. State and national labor officials informed the Obama campaign of the issue after the campaign had signed an agreement to hold the event at the arena, according to AFL-CIO state president Mark MacKenzie.

This evening, after a week of negotiations, MacKenzie said an agreement was reached that will avert a picket line at the event by members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 195.

The super-duper, double-plus-secret agreement has Barack Obama committed to .... talking positively about unions. Wow! What a breakthrough for the AFL-CIO subsidiary, the Democratic Party! Who would have thought that a Democratic candidate for President would ever stoop to pandering for the favor of organized labor?

In this, Obama made no more of a mistake than the Democratic National Committee did when it chose Denver for its national convention in 2008. They also checked themselves into a non-union venue, the Pepsi Center. In order to keep the unions from staging protests, the Democrats made arrangements to staff the convention with union personnel, but the Pepsi Center reverts back to non-union control after the Democrats leave.

It seems as though the unions require increasingly smaller and smaller efforts to mollify them, at least from Democrats. By the time the general election rolls around, they may find themselves satisfied with a parade wave from Democrats as they cross picket lines.


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