Tag Archives: Democratic State Convention

Will a labor dispute disrupt Democrat’s party?

X-posted from California Notes

by Randy Bayne

Even on vacation in San Diego I can’t seem to keep away from labor and politics. The weather hasn’t been great. Today started out cool and windy, so we decided it would be a good day to travel into San Diego from where we have been staying in Del Mar and do some shopping and pre-convention reconnaissance. Marcie and I are both delegates to the State Democratic Convention in April.

Our first stop was at the hotel we will be staying at. We arrived to see a big sign being held by two members of Carpenters Local 1506. The sign read, “Shame on Hilton” and “labor dispute.” I would have pictures except that I had forgotten my camera back at the condo.

One of the carpenters has been with the union for 36 years, the other 4 years.

They said they were doing roving informational pickets at area hotels which subcontract with Morgan Development, a company they call a “rat.” According to a flyer they were handing out,

“A rat is a contractor that does not pay all of its employees prevailing wages, including either providing or making payments for family health care and pension benefits.”

  Some have criticized Local 1506 for their tactics, but there is nothing wrong with demanding fairness and equity in the workplace, especially when it comes to paying a fair wage that meets community standards. They do this by pressuring those who subcontract with offending employers. Not unlike consumers protesting against offensive TV shows by pressuring advertisers. Placing pressure on the one paying the bills can be a very effective tool.

Carpenters Local 1506 sees these protests as an obligation.

“Carpenters Local 1506 objects to substandard wage employers like Morgan Development working in the community,” says their flyer. “In our opinion the community ends up paying the tab for employee health care and low wages paid tend to lower general community standards… believes that Hilton has an obligation to the community to do all it can to see that area labor standards are met for construction of their resort.”

  This particular Hilton is a union employer. That’s one of the reasons the CDP chose it to house delegates. As a union employer, they should be committed to using subcontractors that are also union, or at the very least pay union scale or prevailing wages, health care, and pensions. So yes, “Shame on Hilton”.

Local 1506 is asking people to “tell Hilton that you want them to do all they can to change this situation and see that area labor standards are met for construction of their resort.”

Local 1506 has been doing this across the state. It is not likely that it will cause any disruption to the State Democratic Convention, but maybe it should. At the very least the CDP should express their concerns about a union hotel subcontracting with employers who do not pay prevailing wages. After all, the block of rooms the CDP reserved is sold out, and believe me, its no small amount of money.