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At Labor Gathering, Luxury, Jockeying and Applause for Secretary (result is 4 mill hrs union work)

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:37 PM
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At Labor Gathering, Luxury, Jockeying and Applause for Secretary (result is 4 mill hrs union work)

Published: March 7, 2009

MIAMI BEACH Union leaders cannot seem to get enough of Miamis luxury hotels. Unemployment may be soaring and the stock market tanking, but that did not stop the A.F.L.-C.I.O.s leaders from gathering at the Fontainebleau hotel-resort last week, where rooms often run $400 or more a night.

Fox News ridiculed labor leaders for using members dues money to stay there. The hotel was a favorite of Frank Sinatra, and the opening aerial shot of the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger was filmed there. More recently, it was host to a televised Victorias Secret fashion show.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis, center, and the A.F.L.-C.I.O. president, John J. Sweeney, left, attended a community forum at a Miami church on Monday.

Several union presidents, standing near the Fontainebleaus 10 pools and 40,000-square-foot spa, mumbled that they were embarrassed to be there. They said they were kept so busy attending meetings from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. that they had no time to luxuriate poolside.

In 1996, John J. Sweeney, then the newly elected president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., announced that the federation would halt its decades-old practice of holding winter meetings at a luxury hotel in Bal Harbour, just up the road. Mr. Sweeney saw how labor was taking a public-relations beating with all the photographs of union potentates sunning themselves by the hotel pool.

A.F.L.-C.I.O. leaders defend the decision to meet at the Fontainebleau, saying that two years ago they promised to hold their 2009 executive council sessions at the hotel to persuade its owners to use union labor for the rest of a $1 billion renovation. That deal led to four million hours of unionized work, labor leaders say.

Nonetheless, fearing embarrassment, Mr. Sweeneys aides recently told the Fontainebleau they wanted to cancel the meeting. Florida unions quickly protested, saying the states embattled economy needed labors tourism dollars and vote of confidence.

Ive never seen Sweeney so agonized, one aide said.

FULL story at link.

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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 10:26 PM
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1. So News Corp. twists the story again. (nt)
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Synicus Maximus Donating Member (828 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-08-09 12:32 AM
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2. Well the rooms do start at $399 a night for a weekday.
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