Unions have long been the backbone of the Democratic Party. So why aren’t they getting more love in Charlotte?
As often as conservatives mention President Obama and “union thugs” in the same breath, you would at least expect them to be friends. But though the Democratic Party and labor unions have in recent history been joined at the hip, today unions are sleeping on the couch. The DNC provides just the latest evidence of a relationship that is frayed at best.
While according to the AFL-CIO, there are apparently 1,000 union members attending the convention as delegates, the labor movement just doesn’t seem very visible here. Those 1,000 delegates aren’t walking around swathed in union buttons and T-shirts. And unions themselves haven’t contributed the large sums to the convention that they did four years ago, which came with prominent speaking roles and banners and such. The Laborer’s International Union of North America (LIUNA), which spent $1.5 million on the 2008 DNC and was heavily involved in the event, isn’t even participating in Charlottethis year. They’re still spending money on their ground game, but the lack of convention enthusiasm is pronounced.
And though there have been labor leaders at the convention podium, their roles haven’t been incredibly prominent.