Barack Obama made his stop in Tampa, Florida, and once again he used a non-union labor force to set up his show. He has gained a lot of support from labor unions with many officially endorsing him, but when it comes time to use one his team chooses the cheapest route out. On December 9, 2007 he appeared at a non-union venue, the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H. with Opera Winfrey. Local 195 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) have been trying to organize this venue for over 6 years and they informed the Obama team of this hoping they would change venues. The Obama camp said no since it was the only venue big enough to hold his show. Then the local planned on picketing the venue, but the Obama team made an 11th hour deal with the union. He later broke the deal he made with union, especially after the union endorsed Hillary Clinton on December 10th. According to a release from the IATSE, “When Oprah Winfrey campaigned for Obama in New Hampshire in early December, it was decided to hold the event at a non-union venue. Local 195 contacted the campaign and requested they move to a union site. The campaign refused. When IATSE threatened an informational picket line at the event, Obama promised to make pro-union statements at the rally and to use union labor for future events. The picket was then canceled. Obama did make a pro-union statement at that event, and the campaign promised that they would use union venues in the future….Then on Dec. 10, 2007, the IA endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. While campaigning in Iowa, the Obama camp asked IA locals for one union employee per event, but used additional nonunion labor at each one. Stage technicians set up stages, hang backdrops and run technical equipment needed for many of the campaign rallies and speeches that are broadcast frequently.” It looks like Obama is still stiffing the IATSE in his events as is evidence by this letter from a Tampa union member.
Obama for America May 21, 2008
P.O. Box 8102
Chicago, IL 60680
Re: Disappointment in Tampa Florida on May 21, 2008
To whom it may concern,
I write this letter in disbelief and confusion.
Let me first explain that I am a proud card carrying member of the united labor force known as the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees Local 321. I have a wife who works full time and two young children. Being a part of a Labor Organization has played a big part in helping my family maintain our middle class economic stability. Through my United Labor forces negotiations I have been able to provide insurance for my children as well as have money placed into an annuity account so I will not be forced to rely on Social Security as I grow old.
Originally I had thought this type of economic security was one of the platform issues Senator Obama supported. I regret to learn that his actions speak to me that this issue is not part of his platform at all.
On Wednesday, May 21, 2008, Senator Obama gave a speech at the St Pete Times Form in Downtown Tampa Florida. About a week prior to this rally a member of Obamaâ€™s campaign had contacted my Unions office with interest in using our United Labor force. We have experience in this type of work. We have contracts with 4 theaters and work on these types of shows regularly. It is our craft and we are a proud group of middle class people.
It saddens me to learn that my Business Agents messages to Obama’s campaign people after their initial inquiry call were never returned. Instead my Unionâ€™s efforts to work with Obamaâ€™s campaign were ignored at a time when my brothers and sisters of IATSE Local 321 were in need of a job.
It is sad to say that there are at least 20 of my fraternal brothers and sisters who will be put in the position to collect unemployment this week due to lack of work. Their need for this government help could have easily been avoided with the money raised in working for Senator Obamaâ€™s campaign in Tampa Florida. Instead of employing my faithful brothers and sisters Obamaâ€™s campaign chose to use a labor force that is not united and does not pay any benefits to its workers.
I have many deep regrets in writing this letter.
Sincerely looking to dedicate my loyalty,
Cc John McCain, Tampa Tribune, TBO.com, Florida Governor Charlie Crist, Mel Martinez Florida Senator, Bill Nelson Florida Senator, New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune.
This is what happens when you don’t join the Obama train. They just leave you behind. I thought he was running for all of us, not just his Obama fans. I bet he uses union Culinary workers while in Nevada. Just ask the state of Florida. If you don’t vote for him, you don’t count in his world.