Chicago flexes its labor muscle in the fight for the 2024 Democratic convention

CHICAGO — The big-shouldered city is going on the offensive in its effort to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention, and union leaders argue that the city and state are more pro-labor than others in the race for the event.

The Chicago Federation of Labor will launch a new digital ad campaign Wednesday, available for the first time on NBC News, making a case that it is the home of the labor movement and has a plentiful cast of union members ready to work, particularly in hotels, if the White House locates the convention in Chicago.

Chicago, Atlanta and New York are the three cities being considered for next year’s main presidential primary event, though Chicago and Atlanta are favorites among pundits.

“Joe Biden talks about himself as the most unionized president we’ve ever had and I believe it. So it makes sense for him and the convention to come to Chicago.” Bob Reiter, president of the Chicago Federation of Labor, in an interview. “We will be talking about our values ​​as Democrats.”

Reiter noted that Georgia is a right-to-work state, which means employees’ jobs cannot be conditioned on joining or paying dues to a labor organization.

“Brian Kemp, who is the governor of Georgia, is not going to sign something like the workers’ rights amendment and amend his constitution to effectively ban right-to-work and other anti-worker laws,” Reiter said of the Republican governor. of the state, taking note of past confrontations with labor in the state.

Georgia is also making an aggressive case to host the convention, building on its pivotal role in the civil rights movement and its place as a critical battleground state. And New York has similarly argued that it has a strong union record.

But Illinois officials have promoted Chicago as the site of the next convention to ensure there is representation from the Midwest as the 2024 presidential race unfolds. (Biden chose Georgia to be among the states that advanced to the calendar of early presidential primaries. Iowa fell from first place, and Michigan moved to fifth place).

The Republicans are set to hold their convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, next year. The battleground state was technically the site of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, but the covid pandemic ruled out most in-person events and Biden accepted his Delaware nomination. Illinois officials also argue that the state, with Democrats occupying the governor’s office and the legislature, is leading on progressive laws, including a new assault weapons ban and accessible voting laws.

Biden, as head of the Democratic Party, will ultimately decide the location of the convention. A group from the Democratic National Committee visited the cities still in dispute and will make a next recommendation, probably this spring.

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