In Ohio, the state some analysts say could be the Florida of the 2004 election, construction workers have become politically involved and may be a significant force. Construction workers in Akron say jobs, health care and standard of living matter most to them.

Green’s worry is job security. (Photo by John Klein for ENR)

"I certainly hope that labor can make a difference," says Jack Green, of bricklayers’ union Local 7. Green, who volunteers for the Kerry campaign, believes workers will have an impact because a large percentage of them vote. Green worries more about job security and jobs going overseas than terrorism. He would like to see more federal funding of projects and the additional jobs that would be created. He would, however, like to see the federal government "stop trying to hinder the unions. President Bush is trying to eliminate project labor agreements and is about being opposed to organized labor." Green is very much in agreement with his union on politics–both solidly backing the Kerry-Edwards ticket.


Presidential Race Has Unions Flexing Their Muscles

Construction Groups Woo Members to Make Every Vote Count
The Heat Is On for the Heart of Florida
Conservatism Is Strong in South
Illinois Workers Want Lagging Public-Works Projects Bolstered
Unions See Iraq, Health Care and Jobs as the Main Issues
Industry Texans Support Native Son But Some Go To Dems
Nevada Building Trades Increase Voter Registration, Push Kerry
New York Workers Say They Have Had Enough Of Bush

Paul Triplett, a member of carpenters’ union Local 639, says workers are trying to make a difference by backing Democratic candidates. Triplett is very concerned about the work that has been taken out of the country. He says, "John Kerry is making an issue of bringing the work back to us." Triplett doesn’t totally agree with the politics of his union, which has not endorsed either candidate. He says the membership, from the business managers on down, are backing the Democrats.

Mike Barnhouse, a construction inspector, feels that the construction work force can be a major factor in the election due to sheer numbers. On Iraq, he says, "We’re there and should get it done and get out. We need security and cannot let terrorism rule."

Barnhouse feels that most politicians do not care about him or his co-workers. He says they tend to ride the wave of whatever is popular. He would like to see state and federal elected officials become statesmen not politicians. They should do something good "for the majority of the people and not just for the rich select few that work for their re-election," he says. Green says he feels that elected officials care, but only to the extent that they have to. On the local level, however, he says politicians are "concerned about the people."