(Picture above is from a rally held in Pennsylvania)
Across the country, convention tradesmen, workers and Teamsters will be holding rallies on Dec. 15 with signs that say, “We Want To Work.” The rally, currently scheduled for the Javits Center in NYC, the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston and the LVCC has been in the planning stages for weeks and ironically, over the weekend, it was announced that at 10 a.m. EST on Dec. 15, the Live Events Coalition will finally have a hearing in front of the Senate. The coalition is requesting that everyone fill out a letter or make a 30 second video and send it in prior to Tuesday morning. The letter, entitled “Immediate Passage of COVID Relief to Save Events Industry,” can be found by clicking here.
In Las Vegas, Local 631 Teamster Daniel Martinez (pictured left) says, “I was invited to be the Las Vegas representative for a rally called Standby for our Future at the LVCC on the sidewalk in front of North and Central Halls. We are trying to draw attention to the fact we want to work and can do so safely. Teamsters and tradesmen across the country are going to be doing the same thing on Dec. 15 at 10 a.m. across the country. We are hoping Gov. Sisolak will take notice so a solution to move forward together can be accomplished. Signs are now being made because of the help of a good brother, Andrew Quentin Galvin.”
Martinez posted in a Facebook group called “You Know You Work in Tradeshows When…” writing, “Las Vegas convention people: We are set for 10 a.m. Dec. 15th. Let’s meet on the corner of Paradise and Convention Center Drive. I will have approximately 40 hand held signs saying “WE WANT TO WORK.” If you make your own signs, hand held only, no stick attached. Let’s shoot for four hours minimum. If you have any contacts with the media call them and call any and all convention workers. Let’s not lose our jobs without a fight.”
The post has nearly 175 likes and 60 replies, ranging from hopeful (Ralph Hymel wrote, “Givem hell guys !! Let’s all get back to work !!”) to profane-laced tirades against Nevada’s tyrant governor (“We need to make pissolack unemployed” is among those that are shareable).
Donna Woodard Smith wrote that “Houston is backing Vegas—we will be starting at noon Houston time. We all unions need to stand together. All tradeshows workers need backing—it involves a lot of different people and all must stand together.”
According to Martinez, “Bob Reineke is the one who started the group Standby for our Future and has helped each lead in every city organize this event.”
Reineke explains, “We do not want handouts. We want our jobs back or replaced by something that will provide us and our families with the type of life we have worked our butts off for years to maintain. Stop bailing out the rich and help us—the workers.”
He also lists three proposals:
Proposal 1: “We go back to work. We lay out extensive plan showing how we can produce tradeshows and conventions safely during this and any future virus concerns. We already have the pieces in place and the protocols ready to implement — we just need to show what we can do…”
Proposal 2: “If there are no conventions for the foreseeable future, we are not $12 an hour workers—we are trained, skilled employees who can once again be retrained to help rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure. Back during the depression and after the World War, America invested in America—we created National Parks and the National Highway systems by building amazing bridges and tunnels. That system is now and has been crumbling. Instead of paying us billions in unemployment, retrain us to rebuild our infrastructure.”
Proposal 3: “Buy us out. Support us until new jobs appear. If you want to propose a 70 percent payout option that would help—on average the convention workers who build exhibits make between $55,000-$150,000 /year. Unemployment and the $1,200/year stimulus won’t cut it—these are unlivable wages and many fellow workers have already found themselves homeless.”