Mayor Ness Responds to Lifetime Labor Temple Ban

Ness Calls Move "Extreme, Dramatic, Discouraging"

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Mayor Don Ness called it extreme, dramatic and discouraging.

The Duluth Central Labor Body recently voted to ban him from the Labor Temple for life.

“They are making this very definitive and very permanent case that we just want nothing to do with Don Ness anymore,” said Ness.

Ness told FOX 21 he was on his was to lunch at JJ Astor on top of the Radisson when he was stopped by union members holding an informational picket outside.

The picket involved the hotel deciding to use non-union labor employees to do work on rooms.

Ness said he spoke to them, heard their concerns, said he would look into them and went on his way to lunch.

Ten days later, Ness said he read in the magazine “Labor World” that he had been permanently banned from the Labor Temple without any notice from union officials.

“This does feel like it’s less about me going to lunch and more about folks wanting to try to embarrass me politically or as I’m leaving office to make some sort of broader statement,” he said.

The hotel picket was not a strike and Ness said if it was he would have never crossed the line and walked into the Radisson.

What Ness said he can’t understand is how union employees who work at JJ Astor were allowed to cross the line when he was not.

“I’m kind of at a loss in terms of how they would take this position that allows for union employees to go to work, but would impose a lifetime ban on me for going to lunch at a union restaurant staffed with union employees,” he said.

Phone calls and emails to the Duluth Central Labor Body for comment were not returned.

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