Huge union rally Saturday to send message to Democrats

Union leaders from Philadelphia gathered this morning to preview their "Workers Stand for America" rally, expected to pack 30,000 organized labor members on the Ben Franklin Parkway Saturday.

John Dougherty, leader of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, made clear that labor is feeling taken for granted by traditional Democratic political allies but denied that the rally is a "shadow convention." Unions are furious that the Democratic National Convention will start in union-unfriendly Charlotte, North Carolina on Labor Day.

"I want to thank the DNC for waking us up," Dougherty said. "The days of taking the labor movement for granted are over."

Dougherty said he does not know if President Obama or anyone from his reelection campaign will address the rally. "By Saturday, we'll know," Dougherty said.

This morning's news conference made clear Saturday's event could be an unfriendly atmosphere for Mayor Nutter. Pete Matthews, head of the city's blue-collar union, railed about Nutter's stance on contract negotiations but also noted how few local elected officials were in the room.

"Where are our political friends?" Matthews asked. "They knew about this meeting. Where are they at?"

City Councilmen Bobby Henon and Bill Green were there along with state Rep. Bill Keller.