AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka threw in a subtle but clear rebuke to the Democratic National Committee for holding its convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, during his speech from the main stage of the convention Wednesday night.
“We know that every worker here in North Carolina, just like every other state in this country, and every country in the world, deserves the right to organize, to bargain collectively,” Trumka said in the middle of a speech endorsing President Obama’s reelection bid.
He added: “And the Democratic platform, unlike its counterpart in Tampa makes crystal clear that Barack Obama and the Democratic Party will fight to protect and strengthen this fundamental human right.”
Trumka’s comments about North Carolina are a not-so-veiled reference to the fact that it is right-to-work state with a weak union presence. Unions are upset that the convention was set there and held a counter-event last month to make their displeasure known.
His statement about the platform indicates he hopes to gain concessions from the party in a second Obama term, though the language may simply be a face-saving measure for both sides.
In a letter to union leaders in July, Trumka announced the AFL-CIO would not be making major donations to the convention:
We won’t be buying skyboxes, hosting events other than the Labor Delegates meeting or bringing a big staff contingent to the convention. I will be attending the convention – mainly to lead the delegates’ meeting and to convey labor’s coordinated message where appropriate.
This partly explains the convention’s money troubles and why they had to cut back from four nights to three.