Earlier this week, Garrick Farria -- a Dallas-based union leader who was among those instrumental in getting Proposition 2 on the May 9 ballot -- sent a letter to local media organizations in which he expressed his regret and reservations concerning the whole deal. Farria, a former political director for New York-based Unite Here!, now holds the same title at Workers United -- which says it consists of more than 150,000 former United Here! members out "to put workers first again." And Farria acknowledges that he was chief among those United Here! representatives collecting signatures that forced the referendum that demands Dallas residents go to the polls every time the city wants to offer a developer more than $1 million in incentives and tax breaks. "I was personally involved in the project from its inception," he writes.
But now, Farria says the whole thing now appears to have been nothing but a sham. Schutze wrote as much in February, when he described United Here!'s efforts as nothing short of "political extortion tied to an effort by Unite Here! to extract a labor agreement from the city for the planned city-owned convention hotel downtown." Writes Farria about United Here!'s efforts, better known now as Dallas Right to Vote:
As it stands now, the DRV is impotent, weak, and is merely out to embarrass Mayor Leppert and to further complicate the Convention Center Hotel deal for it's own reasons. This is not what I signed up for. I do believe that the City should be held accountable to the taxpayers when it spends public money on (largely) private projects, but the DRV, through its inaction has started to operate on a different set of beliefs. I wouldn't be surprised if the DRV has a completely different agenda altogether, and I would be equally surprised if any of the non-union affiliated coalition partners even know what's really going on.
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United Here!'s leadership tells The Dallas Morning News this morning that, nope, that's just not true, and they dismiss Farria as a disgruntled former employee. Rudy Bush also discovers that while United Here! claims it's going to make a last-second push, there don't appear to be any plans -- or any money -- to actually make that happen.