DNC may have to respect N.C. right to work for convention
posted at 9:25 am on November 30, 2011 by Jazz Shaw
When the DNC announced that it would be bringing it’s convention to North Carolina, the locals were understandably enthusiastic. While it’s really only a temporary sugar rush for the economy, any event of that size represents a valuable injection of cash and jobs into the local economy. But as the plans moved forward, the conversation began to turn to the question of what sort of jobs would be created? Who would get the lucrative contracts associated with the convention?
As the Charlotte Observer reports, local legislators became concerned over whether Tar Heel State workers would have the first crack at these opportunities and – more to the point – if the state’s right to work status would be respected.
North Carolina lawmakers approved a nonbinding resolution Tuesday asking the Democratic National Convention to change its rules and “respect North Carolina’s right-to-work laws.”
It comes after Republicans raised concerns about North Carolina firms not getting contracts for the September convention because they are not unionized shops.
The resolution asks the DNC to refrain from hiring workers and companies from outside North Carolina when qualified businesses or workers are available within the state…
“It may astonish you – it’s not about politics, it’s about jobs,” said state Rep. David Lewis, the Republican sponsor.
Lewis said he supported the convention in Charlotte, but he wanted to make sure local workers are hired.
“I think it’s only fitting that Tar Heel workers at least have the opportunity to benefit from (the convention),” he said.
So far the report only identifies one contract which went to a union shop at the expense of a local, non-union outfit. It involved printing services, which is unlikely to be such a rare skill set that it couldn’t be accommodated by the local talent. But we’re still early in the process, with many more contracts yet to be awarded, so the legislature is probably wise to nip this in the bud.
It’s important to note that this isn’t an effort to legislate the hiring process. The measure is a non-binding resolution which simply calls upon the DNC to do the right thing by the state’s workers and to respect their local labor laws. But it brings the issue very much into the public eye, and since it involves Jobs, Jobs, Jobs it’s obviously an embarrassment that the DNC won’t want to have hanging over their heads – or those of their candidates – just as we get into the hottest part of the campaign cycle.