AFT picks Detroit over Las Vegas

DETROIT - The Las Vegas Review-Journal is reporting that the American Federation of Teachers will conduct its 2012 annual meeting in Detroit rather than Las Vegas so that the union does not appear to be on a junket.

Calling it the "AIG effect," the Review-Journal noted that insurance giant AIG came under heavy criticism after receiving $85 billion in bailout money, then sending its executives to a luxury California resort.

The teachers union apparently is not the only group shunning Las Vegas, according to the report. Convention business overall is off by 26 percent as of July.

Las Vegas public relations executive Reggie Burton told the Review-Journal that the convention industry must combat negative perceptions of Las Vegas. One way would be to arrange for convention attendees to do community service work, Burton said. For example, people who attended Starbucks Corp.'s annual meeting in New Orleans last year also spent time building houses with Habitat for Humanity, the Review-Journal reported.

Las Vegas Review-Journal, "Inside Gaming: 'AIG effect' sending meetings to Motown," Sept. 27, 2009

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "101 Ideas to Revitalize Michigan," Jan. 15, 2009