In Labor We Trust
L.A. just loves labor.
At least that was the message city and business leaders were intent on communicating to members of the Democratic National Committee, who were in town last week to hear L.A.’s bid for the party’s 2000 national convention.
It was all orchestrated to capitalize on a big transit strike in Philadelphia, considered L.A.’s main rival for the political powwow. Concerned they would anger the party’s labor constituency, DNC members postponed their trip to the City of Brotherly Love until the strike is settled.
To leverage the incident, L.A. boosters wanted to emphasize L.A.’s love for labor by having the AFL-CIO host a lunch for the DNC.
But with so much at stake, labor officials were at every DNC function, driving home the message that union members would participate fully in preparing for and hosting the convention.
“We in the labor community fully support the effort to bring the convention to L.A.,” said William Luddy, political and legislative director for the United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America.
The new general manager of the Staples Center arena may not have been the best person to pitch the Democratic National Committee last week.
It’s not that he’s unqualified. During his tenure at Madison Square Garden, he helped host three Democratic National Conventions.
It’s his name, Robert Goldwater, as in Sen. Barry Goldwater, the ardent conservative Republican who recently passed away.
“This Goldwater will help the Democrats,” he promised the 52 site selection committee members.
Back to Work
While President Clinton called the end of the strike by autoworkers against General Motors Corp. “a victory for all Americans,” perhaps no one locally was more pleased than workers at Superior Industries International in Van Nuys.
Superior’s core business is making aluminum wheels for cars and trucks, and about 50 percent of its sales are to General Motors. Because of the GM strike, Superior shut down its factories in Kansas and Tennessee and temporarily laid off 1,000 employees. The strike also was blamed for an 18.4 percent drop in Superior’s second-quarter earnings.
Executives were closely monitoring the media all day last Tuesday after news came out that the strike was near an end. “We had the Internet, the TV,” said Jeff Ornstein, Superior’s chief financial officer. “We were delighted to hear the news, obviously.”