How does New York City stand out from the other potential hosts of the 2024 Democratic National Convention? Pro-worker values. At least, that’s the argument some of the most powerful labor leaders in the state used in a letter to President Joe Biden on Wednesday.
Eight union leaders signed the letter: American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, NYS & NYC Building & Construction Trades Council President Gary LaBarbera, 32BJ SEIU President Manny Pastreich, Hotel and Gaming Trades Council President Richard Maroko, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union President Stuart Appelbaum, United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, District Council 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido, and UNITE HERE Local 100 President José Maldonado. They emphasized the importance of showcasing “a unified, multiracial democracy that supports a broad coalition of workers.”
The letter calls New York “the heart of America’s labor movement,” with the highest rate of union membership outside of Hawaii. By holding the DNC in the city, Biden’s reelection campaign “can stand proud of progress made while showing working-class voters that you will continue to fight for their interests.”
A spokesperson for the DNC 2024 NYC Host Committee told City & State the committee worked with union leaders on the letter, “who were eager to sign on.”
This comes a few months after New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ post-election op-Ed that warned Democrats of the erosion of support from working-class voters and deemed working people the party’s “north star.”
Adams has been pushing the city’s bid for the convention, calling it an economic boost, and an important symbolic choice to highlight the city’s comeback after being the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Every mayor in the last 50 years has made a bid to host their party’s convention, but most failed. Most recently, former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s pitch to host the 2016 DNC in Brooklyn fell short, due primarily to concerns about Brooklyn hotel accommodations and security around the Barclays Center. For 2024, New York City is competing against Atlanta, Chicago and Houston. This time around, the city’s proposal centers on Madison Square Garden in Manhattan with support from the nearby Javits Center. If victorious, this would be New York City’s first time hosting a DNC since 1992 when Bill Clinton and Al Gore won the nomination.
Conventional wisdom says New York City would be an unlikely choice since the state is safely blue, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Atlanta and Chicago were the front-runners. However, Democratic National Committee Chair Jaime Harrison told WTTW in Chicago that he doesn’t subscribe to the idea that parties should choose swing states for the most political leverage. The Republicans have already chosen Milwaukee for their 2024 convention, and with the Democrats’ official decision expected early this year, the labor leaders are doing their best to give the Big Apple’s bid a boost.
With reporting by Jeff Coltin