New York City construction workers voice strong support for John Kerry, saying that President Bushs policies have driven them away.
"Bush offers us absolutely nothing. We have no incentive to vote for the man," says Dennis Gimblet, of carpenters union Local 608 and shop steward at Pinnacle Industries, Mt. Vernon, N.Y. He voted for Bush in 2000 but works for Kerry this time. Maurice OBrien, a member of concrete workers Local 18A and also a shop steward, agrees. "Even unions that temporarily supported Republican candidates wont support them now," he says.
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|GIMBLET Cant support Bush.||OBRIEN Freedoms are at risk.|
|(Photos by Tom Sawyer for ENR)|
OBrien, who immigrated from Ireland 20 years ago, complains of the administrations "extreme conservatism," and a "gradual degradation of personal freedom." He warns that the administration is supported by a news media "controlled by the very wealthy" that doesnt challenge its assertions. He also says Bush has weakened OSHA, encouraged export of jobs and enacted new rules, which took effect Aug. 23, that cut workers rights to overtime pay.
Former Bush supporter Gimblet says the war in Iraq and Bush labor policies turned him. He is a Marine Corps veteran and a member of the National Rifle Association. He worked at Ground Zero, where his local lost 18 people in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, supported the invasion of Afghanistan and says "dealing with Saudi Arabias involvement [in Sept. 11] would have been OK." But "with the exception of benefiting his [Bushs] corpor-ate partners there was no benefit in going to war in Iraq," he says.
He calls it wrong to balance the war on the reserve and National Guard, which he says are not as combat-ready
as active duty troops, and says longer Republican control of the National Labor Relations Board and more Bush appointments to the Supreme Court would be "devastating for labor."