"We have registered about 500 union members to vote within the last three months," says Tommy White, secretary-treasurer of laborers’ union Local 872, which represents about 3,500 members in southern Nevada. "We’re supporting John Kerry because President Bush squashed project labor agreements. He also wants to cut overtime and outsource jobs."

MESHELLE Looks for a change. WILKENING Gets out the vote.
(Photos by Tony Illia for ENR)

Felicia Meshelle, an eight-year member of the Southwest Council of Regional Carpenters, says health care and insurance are two big issues and she supports a change in the White House. "I say the next four years would be better with someone else, someone more in tune with our nation. I have three kids that I have to feed. I wouldn’t be able to make as much on a nonunion job."

Frederick L. Wilkening, Southwest Council political coordinator, acknowledges "the international does a lot of things independent of the council." He says 44% of the council’s 7,200 members are registered as Republicans and 52% as Democrats. The Nevada carpenters have joined with the AFL-CIO to use personal digital assistant technology in precinct walks. He says 65% of the membership is registered to vote.

Steve Hill, president of Silver State Materials Corp., a Las Vegas-based open- shop ready-mix concrete company, is planning on running for lieutenant governor and supports Bush. He says people are concerned about the economy and homeland security and thinks the President has handled both better than any of the leading Democrats.


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n Nevada, building trade unions are registering voters and pushing the Kerry candidacy, despite an appearance by President Bush at the carpenters’ Las Vegas training facility and the international union’s undeclared political stance.