Friday, October 7, 2011

Charlotte GOP Mayoral candidate calls for hiring locals, not unions, at DNC bash

Verne Strickland Blogmaster
October 7, 2011

By Jim Morrill And Steve Harrison Staff Writers 

Posted: Thursday, Oct. 06, 2011

Jobs at next year's Democratic National Convention became an issue in Charlotte's mayoral race this week when Republican Scott Stone called on incumbent Democrat Anthony Foxx to ensure that DNC jobs go to local businesses and not "out-of-state labor unions." 

"They said they want to maximize union labor," Stone said. "How do you maximize union labor while also giving opportunities to local workers?"

    While Stone spoke to reporters, Foxx was meeting with students at West Charlotte High School, where he talked about work and youth employment. He highlighted the city's youth employment program, which he said has grown under his watch from 180 participants to 240.

    Stone challenged Foxx to sign a pledge to defend the state's standing as a right-to-work state and fight for local businesses over out-of-state unions. Foxx campaign manager Michael Halle declined to comment, referring reporters to the convention host committee.
    Some labor unions have threatened to boycott the convention because North Carolina is a right-to-work state and one of the least unionized in the country.

    The city's convention contract with the host committee and Democratic National Convention Committee says, "To the extent permitted by law, to the extent, if any, such labor is available in the region ... all services, goods, equipment, supplies and materials to be provided or procured ... shall be performed or supplied by firms covered by current union collective bargaining agreements."

    "The DNCC and the host committee have made hiring workers with ties to Charlotte and the region a top priority," said Dan Murrey, executive director of the host committee. "We intend to make sure Charlotte businesses get every dollar possible."

    He said a new vendor directory will help match local businesses to convention contracts, or help those businesses partner with outside companies.

    Foxx, meanwhile, spoke to a group of JROTC students at West Charlotte High, from where he graduated in 1989. Much of his talk was about how to be successful and urging the students to work hard. He also touted what he described as the success of his youth jobs program.
    "It's still not close to what I want," he said. "I want us to achieve."

    The program, called the Mayor's Youth Employment Program, matches participating firms with high school students who serve as interns. Companies include Bank of America, Duke Energy and Bissell Companies.

    Foxx said he lobbied business leaders to hire more high school students.

    Schools that feed into West Charlotte High will be helped by project LIFT, an initiative led by the Foundation for the Carolinas to spend $55 million to improve student achievement.