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Labor won’t picket Election Central (or the winter homeless shelter)

October 25, 2010 - 9:30 pm

During the primary, Election Central was like a big ol’ Republican Convention. It was like Tea Party Headquarters. There wasn’t a Democrat to be seen at Golden Hall because the unions were boycotting the facility and no politician expecting labor’s support could be seen crossing the picket line.

Thing is, the unions and the San Diego County Democratic Party didn’t let the press know that until the last minute. Election Central (which, btw, is San  Diego’s traditional omni-partisan celebration of election results) was a friggin’ mess to cover and the Dems were completely underexposed in the media, both metaphorically and literally. Their private party was just too damned poorly lit to be flattering in photos.

When we learned San Diego City Council was considering Golden Hall for the winter homeless shelter, we shot a tweet at Evan McLaughlin, political director for the Labor Council of San Diego and Imperial Counties. We wanted to know if the unions were going to picket homeless people as well.

Today they told us the answer was no.  And they won’t be hypocritical about it either. They’ve also essentially suspended the boycott for Election Central, Part 2 on Tuesday.

Here’s the letter that explains the Labor Council’s rationale:

Dear Friends:

As you know, our stagehands’ union, IATSE 122,  has an AFL-CIO sanctioned boycott at Golden Hall. The reason for the boycott stems from the closing of the facility which was being operated with a union contract, and then re-opening without the assurances to using union workers. In the private sector, this is considered traditional union-busting activity. We think the City of San Diego should not be excused for this simply because they are a public agency.

However, because the City Council has voted to turn Golden Hall into the winter homeless shelter, the union realizes there is a great opportunity to resolve some of the issues that they have faced with the new management in the facility. We are hopeful that the New Council Swearing-in Ceremony will need to be changed from Golden Hall, as well as other events that are currently utilizing low-wage, contracted workers.  For this reason, we will not be enforcing the boycott with a picket this election night.

As with any boycott, we are asking that you do not purchase any item sold inside Golden Hall, if you do enter Election Central.

We are also asking for assistance with the current Pasadena-based management company – DMS Facility Services–  and the general manager, Rick Romeo, to force a resolution of this issue. Furthermore, we think it is the responsibility of government to ensure that any trade show or large event hosted in Golden Hall provide for the safety of the workers at the venue.  To that end, we hope that there will be a review of what we believe to be a number of OSHA violations at the venue, including: A counter weight system that is broken, frozen and off-weight, a temporary power panel upstage that is falling apart, and asbestos in the ceiling that is currently being worked around without protective gear.  For additional information about the history of the labor issues or safety issues at Golden Hall, please contact the Business Manager of IATSE local 122, Carlos Cota, at 619-640-0042.  Thank you for your help.


Lorena Gonzalez

Secretary-Treasurer, CEO

San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO

3737 Camino del Rio South, Suite 403

San Diego, CA 92108

What this means is that we expect to see some friggin’ donkeys on election night. Come visit our table, Dems!

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