New York City construction workers voice strong support for John Kerry, saying that President Bush’s 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 O’Brien, a member of concrete workers’ Local 18A and also a shop steward, agrees. "Even unions that temporarily supported Republican candidates won’t support them now," he says.

GIMBLET Can’t support Bush. O’BRIEN Freedoms are at risk.
(Photos by Tom Sawyer for ENR)

O’Brien, who immigrated from Ireland 20 years ago, complains of the administration’s "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 doesn’t 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 Arabia’s involvement [in Sept. 11] would have been OK." But "with the exception of benefiting his [Bush’s] 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."


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
Ohio Workers See Power in Numbers
Nevada Building Trades Increase Voter Registration, Push Kerry