The Real Democrat Party Just Stood Up
Monday, May 24, 2010
For the past several weeks, labor leaders, elected Democrats, and socialist activists have been organizing a hostile campaign against the Procaccianti Group, the company that manages Providence’s Westin Hotel, and one of the few companies crazy enough to still be conducting business here in Rhode Island.
Citing the mistreatment of Westin workers, the Rhode Island Left has been organizing a boycott of the hotel for several weeks. In the midst of a deep and unpredictable economic recession, Procaccianti has been forced to do what many other companies have done - cut down on costs. This includes layoffs, pay cuts, and healthcare co-pays.
But the Procaccianti Group forgot to ask Democrats for permission before deciding how to run their private company as they see fit. You see, this isn’t America. This is Rhode Island - a state that Forbes Magazine calls “the worst place for business.” A place where “the regulatory system is out of control,” according to Raymond Fogarty, the director of the Chafee Center for International Business at Bryant University.
In October 2009, the all-Democrat Providence City Council passed the Hospitality Business Protection and Worker Retention Ordinance, a government mandate that forced all new management teams of any hotel associated with the Dunkin Donuts Center, the Convention Center, and the Veterans Memorial Auditorium to retain every rollover employee for a minimum of six months. In addition, the Council’s decree dictated certain wage rates and precise hiring practices – exactly who could be hired, at what time, and how much they must be paid.
It gets worse. Much worse. The Democrats’ ordinance reads, “At the end of such six-month period, the new hospitality business employer shall perform a written performance evaluation for each employee retained…If the employee’s performance during such six-month period is satisfactory, the new hospitality business employer shall offer the employee continued employment.”
Isn’t business in Rhode Island just dandy? Here, the government runs your company for you.
Currently, the City Council is attempting to add to their tyrannical piece of legislation by extending the ordinance to an entire assortment of businesses that could possibly be construed as associated with the city’s tourism or hospitality industries. Democrats believe this is the best way to “bolster Providence as a tourist destination, and to promote the stability of Providence’s hospitality and tourism businesses.”
Tourism? Sure, some individuals might want to stop in to see what a Marxist freak-show looks like. But job-providing companies will not.
The boycott of the Westin Hotel is the Rhode Island Left’s latest assault on free-market capitalism. And it recently reached a horrific point of classic left-wing sabotage after Netroots Nation, a highly influential progressive organization, informed the Westin hotel that they would not host their 2011 convention in Providence unless the Westin caves to union demands. Democratic activist Matt Jerzyk stated, “Bravo to our fellow bloggers at Netroots Nation for supporting the Westin Boycott and telling Providence and the Westin Hotel that they will not host their 2011 conference here unless the labor dispute…is resolved.”
Jerzyk went on to gleefully analyze the potential aftermath of Netroots Nation’s threat. “The loss of Netroots Nation could be a huge blow to the Rhode Island economy. The state stands to lose millions of dollars in economic activity, a potential big boost for Rhode Island's creative economy and the attention of the nation's premiere Internet entrepreneurs. Just think about it! With Providence's slogan, ‘the creative capitol,’ we could generate massive amounts of local and national connections for the new, knowledge economy. The key word being ‘could.’ ”
Rhode Island Democrats are actually applauding the impending economic devastation to their own home state, and the extortion of Providence’s largest hotel during an economic recession.
It matters little if Jerzyk claims later that his joy was only over the economic threat, but not the actual fulfillment of it. After all, when someone makes a bluff, he is always prepared to accept the fact that his bluff may be called. In other words, Jerzyk believes that a "huge blow to the Rhode Island economy" is worth the effort to attain the demands of just one special-interest group.
Rep. David Segal (D) is also aiding Netroots Nation’s shakedown, praising them by saying that the “progressives have exerted smart leverage in this fight.” Alongside City Councilman John Lombardi, Segal has physically joined the picket line outside the Westin. “I want to do my part to increase pressure on management on behalf of workers,” the young Democrat recently avowed.
David Segal is an elected representative. He has the political cache to contact Netroots Nation in order to discourage them from seriously injuring the entire State of Rhode Island based on the outcome of a single labor dispute. Instead, Segal chose to assist and admire Netroots Nation’s “smart leverage.”
Collective bargaining in Rhode Island has gone way beyond private dealings between unions and management. Progressive activists and elected Democrats consistently inject themselves into the process, exerting government control over private industry, contaminating the business environment, blackmailing individual companies, and extorting every Rhode Island taxpayer.
Democrats will defend their actions by claiming the moral high ground, asserting that they are merely sticking up for people who are struggling in tough economic times. But it’s all a liberal smokescreen. There is nothing compassionate about socialist control over the Rhode Island economy. It is cruel, tyrannical, and un-American. And it vaporizes the jobs desired by the working class, and prevents new job opportunities from finding their way to the Ocean State.
Rhode Island workers can join the long line of people that Democrats continue to betray, and shepherd toward lives of poverty, unemployment, and government dependence.
Travis Rowley ([email protected].