Monday, November 7, 2011

Foxx hit again on union jobs question

UPDATED 5:54 p.m.

Good morning, and welcome to O-pinion, the Observer editorial board’s home for opinion and debate. We encourage you to share your civil thoughts on these issues by posting a comment. I’m Editorial Page Editor Taylor Batten, and I’ll be your online host today.

With about 19 hours before polls open for tomorrow’s Election Day, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx is having to fend off continued allegations that union shops are getting preferential treatment over non-unionized Charlotte companies for DNC business.

Charlotte’s John Monteith, who heads business development for a local printing firm, this morning copied the media on a letter he wrote to Foxx. He again accuses Foxx of putting politics and unions ahead of Charlotteans. The Observer reported Saturday that convention officials told Monteith he wouldn’t win a certain contract because he doesn’t employ union labor.

“As one of your voting constituents, I am disappointed that you did not take the time to contact me to discuss my concerns regarding the actions of the DNC and the distribution of work,” Monteith writes this morning.

Monteith said he was told not to waste his time bidding on a printing contract with the DNC. He says that work was awarded to a union company in Washington, D.C. UPDATE: Convention officials tell the Observer's editorial board that Monteith is mistaken about this. The contract that Monteith appears to be referring to was not a printing contract. The D.C. company, Hargrove, won a different contract for setting up the convention center.

“It is situations like these that have me concerned that you have not taken our best interest into account. Maybe you were given wrong information prior to telling Charlotte you were keeping the work here. Maybe, in actuality you ‘misspoke’ to your Charlotte constituents.” He continues: “I fear that as mayor of the City of Charlotte, you do not have the best interest of your constituents at heart. … We need a leader that is not bothered by pressure from unions, doesn’t follow Chicago style politics and puts Charlotte first.”

We’re awaiting comment from the Foxx campaign, but Suzi Emmerling, a spokeswoman for the host committee said on Friday that a DNC official “misspoke.” The host committee’s executive director, Dan Murrey, said it “is categorically untrue” that only unionized firms can bid on convention work.

The website Politico reported that Sherwood Webb, the owner of a Charlotte project management firm, ran into similar problems because his shop isn't unionized. UPDATE: Convention officials say the contract Webb was interested in was ultimately won by Rogers Builders, a Charlotte company that is non-unionized. is reporting that Charlotte hotel workers could be threatened by union workers coming in during the convention to replace them. UPDATE: "The claim is totally fabricated and false,” said Kristie Greco, DNCC spokesperson. “There is no Democratic Convention-related obligation to cause the furlough of hotel workers (during) convention week.”

We imagine Charlotte firms will continue to win DNC work. But to this point, it seems Foxx and the DNC host committee are losing the public relations battle on this issue.

In other news

New polls suggest the sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain may be hurting his popularity. An Ipsos poll for Thomson Reuters showed Cain’s favorability rating with Republicans drop from 66 percent to 57 percent a week earlier. The poll was conducted online, though, which is much less reliable than traditional telephone polls. We think it’s a little early to count Cain out.

Hitting the hardwood?

Whether the Charlotte Bobcats will be playing any time soon could be decided in the next couple of days. Things don’t look good for NBA fans – or for the Charlotte businesses that depend on Bobcats games for much of their revenue. NBA commissioner David Stern has given players until Wednesday to agree to a deal that gives the players 51 percent of basketball-related revenue. If they don’t, Stern says, they’ll get something a whole lot worse. Without a breakthrough in the next 48 hours, much or all of the NBA season could be in jeopardy.

In case you missed it

The Observer editorial board, in today’s paper, says travelers at Charlotte’s airport would be getting a raw deal if the City Council agrees to block all banks except Bank of America from putting ATMs there. Also over the weekend, we explained why big tuition hikes at UNC campuses are bad not only for students, but for the whole state.

Check back later today for a recap of our endorsements for tomorrow’s election and other news and opinion.


Skippy said...

You see this what happens when you have to spin this, eerr lie about the fact that if you are not unionized, you are going to the back of bus which means out of state contractors are getting first dibs on the bids and in fact will most likely get the work. In other words, the DNC and Mayor Bobblehead lied about the "local jobs created" aspect of this and yet is still being applauded as a key player in bringing this pending disaster to Charlotte when in fact he had nothing to do with this decision. This is a key swing state, this state was hand picked by our "smartest" President ever. And now the most open administration ever is once again being coy about funding or the lack thereof.

Wiley Coyote said...

Why don't you ask Mayor Fixxit how he "headed off crippling budget cuts to CMS", especially since he doesn't have a damn thing to do with CMS other than being a hypocritcal mouthpiece?

Anonymous said...

I dont blame Foxx. Hes pushing our city as best he can. Its Obama setting conditions and terms on the host city. And anyone aware with what Obama has done to Boeing should not be suprised by right-to-work businesses being shut out. If Boeing and all its new jobs couldnt sway Obama, what chance did Foxx really have??

Rick Thames said...

Newsflash for John Monteith and the rest of Charlotte: Unions are very good for the workers in Charlotte. The problem is that the south is uneducated about Unions and haven't first clue about the upside a Union offers employees.

It certainly isn't all about money; it's primarily about treating workers properly and like humans, providing proper working conditions, as well as offering fair treatment and benefits.

I am SO SORRY the natives, the Southern Republicans, and the uninformed jump to conclusions when the topic about Unions is brought up. Trust me, by fighting against Unions, you're only hurting yourselves.

Mayor Foxx really needs to start focusing on being Pro-Union, especially since the DNC is coming to the Queen City in 2012.

Wiley Coyote said...

Charlotte already has union workers here....

When I headed up a tradeshow and convention services company in Charlotte, we had a contract with the local that required us to have a certain number of union workers over our own employees to do work in the Convention Center.

Union, non-union, it doesn't matter, unless one group tries to be exclusive.

Work is work.

Wiley Coyote said...

And to Rick...

You might want to acknowledge the fact some unions are blood suckers, like in Chicago, Philly and DC.

I've worked with them, I know.

Philly got so bad, companies stopped booking tradeshows there.

Julian Cuthbertson said...

Unions have good and bad characteristics. They are definitely known to increase total cost.

In the Northeast an underground tunnel was to be constructed to transport trains from NJ to NY and initially cost 6B and then estimates magically increased to 13B.

Anonymous said...

Hotel employees being sent home for DNC convention! Not only can you not bid for new work for the DNC, you cant even keep your existing job! Im beginning to realize Foxx sold out right-to-work employees big time!!

>> However, at the Ritz Carlton, Charlotte, where President Obama is reportedly staying during the convention, employees did confirm that they had been told they would be laid off during the convention.

More here...

Rick Thames said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick Thames said...

And to Wiley...

I know the good it brings.It protects the workers from BAD and abusive employers or managers. Also, having a Union allows a worker to file a grievance in case there is any mistreatment or abuse in the workplace. Without a Union, management can just treat employees like animals, and simply dispose of them when they are done.

Wiley, I KNOW...I'm from Detroit, so I know about so much better than you!

Skippy said...

What is the matter Taylor no courage - and to any nit wit that states the unions are still relevant, then you are about as a useful idiot as the OWS. Unions are nothing more than gigantic funding machine for Team Obozo, using tax payer money like the incestuous family that the are:

Mayor Anthony Foxx says allegations that the DNC contract steered jobs toward out of state union shops are untrue.

Foxx says, “It speaks to the use of labor within the region. This idea that someone from Alaska is gonna take a job from someone in Charlotte is absolutely ridiculous.”

And John was not alone. Charlotte company Webb & Partners were also told to look elsewhere if they weren’t unionized:

But Webb & Partners project management firm owner Sherwood Webb says he heard it straight from the horses mouth, “They said we will be using union labor.” That’s why Webb says he never made a bid.

John’s story was told throughout the media yesterday, and on the local Fox station as well. This prompted the DNC to put to bed any notions that jobs would be outsourced to unions ahead of local non-union businesses.

Committee for Charlotte 2012 Executive Director Dan Murrey said in an emailed statement, “The notion that the Host Committee will only allow unionized firms to bid is categorically untrue.”

Rick Thames said...

and to Skippy Handleman

Do you smell the $hit you're shoveling? Unions aren't going anywhere, boy! You're so used to your redneck ways and always letting "The Man" have his way, you don't know how to comprehend any other concept. Or is it that you're the one in charge and you don't want to be challenged...wimp!

Skippy Handleman, you grew up and continue to live in a southern box. You just accept an order of hierarchy, as if workers are supposed to be treated as scum and without any protection. That where Unions step in, Skippy.
You're a tool, Skippy and I'll personally see to it that Unions are started up in the State of North Carolina, just so it tortures YOU!