Labor unions and Democrats form a pretty traditional political alliance that’s usually on display in full force at the national conventions. Big labor historically spent big money on concerts, lunches, rallies and panels for its members, and spent millions to help fund the Democrats’ party.

This year? Not so much.

Some union officials are sitting out the political fete entirely after the Democrats chose a labor-unfriendly location in the right-to-work state of North Carolina. Others are sending skeleton staffs to support their union delegates, but say they’re focusing resources elsewhere. Labor groups aren’t shelling out for big events in Charlotte, and many aren’t even donating cash to the cause — despite their exemption from new restrictive fundraising rules.

“I think there’s going to be just less participation this time; there’s less enthusiasm,” said Moses Mercado, a Democratic lobbyist who has attended the past four Democratic conventions. “And it’s going to be noticeable,” he added. “Obviously, they’re a big part of the Democratic family; they’ve always been, and they’ve played a large role in funding and doing other things at the convention.”

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