The sixth-largest union in Iowa has endorsed Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt’s presidential bid. R. Thomas Buffenbarger, president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, says it’s a “large and diverse” union with 12-thousand members in Iowa. Buffenbarger says members are nurses, doctors, limo drivers, machinists in tool and dye shops, workers in jet engine plants, and employees at airports, rail lines and bus systems. He says the union intends to help Gephardt because the country’s manufacturing sector has “been mauled” during President Bush’s time in office. Buffenbarger says it’s a big union, and there’s not one sector that hasn’t been “devastated” during the Bush Administration. Buffenbarger says 2,500 of the union’s members in Iowa have lost their jobs since President Bush took office, and he says they’re concerned about union members who work now in Amana for Maytag, since Maytag has closed its Galesburg plant in favor of shifting production to Mexico. Gephardt received the endorsement today at the union’s meeting in Ohio. Gephardt will campaign in Iowa this weekend.
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