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Look for the Union Barrier
Posted by: Jon Henke on Saturday, August 04, 2007

The Democratic vision of Union protection(ism) for the American worker seems to be backfiring on them...
So I've done some crack reporting and figured out why it's so damn hard to plug in a computer here at YearlyKos. The problem is these nefarious unions. The McCormick Convention Center is, unsurprisingly, operated by a series of labor groups who, working hand in hand, rip apart the building and put it back together to fit the needs of whichever group happens to be renting space here. So for YearlyKos, the teamsters, and the plumbers, and the electricians all come in to haul partitions, and divert piping, and... lay wiring. One catch is, of course, that the more wiring you need, the more you have to pay. The other, less obvious catch, is that any wiring you try to do yourself—running extension chords and power strips across the room—might well violate your contract and cost you a big fine.

So the result is a lot of dead laptop batteries. At a frickin' blogger convention. The netroots may be big and powerful, but they're not that big and powerful. So here's my counterintuitive scoop for the day: unions are single-handedly destroying the communicative power of the very people who are here to help unions have a stronger voice in politics.
Granted, he's just being sarcastic about a relatively minor annoyance. But had the need for power-strips been more pressing, they would have been just as difficult to arrange.

Anyway, any blogger at the convention could have a power strip if they'd just pay a teamster a fair, living wage of, say, $25-50 to install it. If we've learned anything from Democrats, we've learned that we must never let the free market determine a wage, even if it means work doesn't get done. Which, of course, it will, because who wouldn't be willing to come off a few bills to plug in a power strip?

Incidentally, this is amusing on a number of levels...
Sources in John Edwards' campaign assure me that the consulted with the relevant union officials before installing power strips in their campaign booths.
[Note: disclosure]
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Maybe the union folks were all pissed about the Dem’s attempt to remove the secret ballot...
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
"teamster"? Out on the loading docks for sure. However — and it’s been a while since I’ve been to McCormick — but I’m pretty sure we’re talking IBEW or IATSE when it comes to AC power like that.

I think this is hilarious. Hilarious.
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—
I’ve done trade shows there and it is ridiculous - we got nailed once for MOVING a power strip. It had been installed by a union person, but later we needed it on the other side of the booth so I moved it. Big mistake...
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
I love telling the story of my rookie trip to man a booth at an exposition in New York City.

It seems that the union exhibitor-fleecing machinery was well-oiled for my visit, just as it seems to have been in Chicago.

NYC has a “safety” law that requires all carpets in exhibitor booths to be duct-taped on all edges so that visitors won’t trip on them. “Somehow” when the unions installed the carpets, none of the carpet edges on booths for first-time exhibitors got taped. The returning exhibitors were wise to the scam and supervised the installation of their carpet, seeing to it that the edges were taped.

When I arrived to set up the booth I was informed that, unless I got the union to return to the booth and tape the carpet edges, I would not be allowed to open the booth. Fine, I said, I will go out and buy some duct tape and tape the edges; after all, it is not rocket science. You can see this one coming, can’t you? Regulations require union personnel to do the taping.

Fine. Send the guy around ASAP, after all, even at union wage scale it will only take three or four minutes. Hold it. Union regulations require a supervisor on all “jobs”. Also, there is a minimum two-hour billing for any such "irregular" work. Also, since the exhibition is opening today and booth installation is complete, the rate will be overtime.

After several conferences with the officials running the exposition and several telephone calls to my home office, I agreed to the work. Two men, who had no doubt been scheduled far in advance for this work, came around and did all the booths for the first-time exhibitors in about 30 minutes.
Written By: notherbob2
URL: http://
I have been to the McCormick Center, and the unions there are ballbusters.

Now, go to Las Vegas, say, for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), and try to plug something in. Some guy who did that a few years ago told me how several guys (with big arms and tattoos) came over and told him, "Hey - f*ck you. We do the plugging in." When told he was merely plugging in a computer, one of the guys told him, "If you try that again something will happen to you that you will not like. You f*ck with the union, and the union will definitely f*ck you up. And f*ck you up BAD."

That was the last time this guy told me that he will go to Vegas. That town sucks. But the unions make it suck more.
Written By: Alexander Alt
URL: http://
You’re in really deep poo as a union when even Mayor Daley realizes there’s a problem. The fact nothing has changed in two years isn’t really suprising...
Some trade shows and conventions are threatening to go elsewhere if Chicago can’t cut the cost of doing business. Mayor Daley and Governor Blagojevich are asking union and business leaders to figure out how to lower convention costs.

Written By: Ryan
URL: http://
arrgghhh 3 years... Math hard.
Written By: Ryan
URL: http://
I used to go to ASCP (American Society of Clinical Pathologists) conventions.
They met every other year in Las Vegas, and the year in between at "anywhere but Chicago".

The union rules were just too much for all involved.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
From the pan, into the fire ..

Solidarity in cyberspace? Bloggers eye labour union
Written By: Neo
URL: http://

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