Six of the democrats running for president courted union workers attending the annual Iowa Federation of Labor convention in Waterloo yesterday. Each candidate had a 30-minute-long turn at the mic, and answered questions about worker’s rights, trade, health care and the economy. Most of their fire was directed at President Bush’s handling of the economy. North Carolina Senator John Edwards said President Bush had “taken a two-by-four to the American Dream.” Former Vermont Governor Howard Dean said Bush had done “everything he can to attack the middle class, and attack unions.” Missouri Congressman Richard Gephardt said Bush “Is hostile to working families and labor unions.” Florida Senator Bob Graham said Bush was widening the gap between the haves and the nave-nots, “and Graham said Bush “has slammed the door shut on opportunities for America’s working families.” Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucnich equated workers’ rights with human rights and Massachusetts Senator John Kerry talked about walking a local union picket line. “People don’t belong out on a strike line. They belong inside working, and they shouldn’t have their manditory overtime stolen from them,” he said. Labor leaders at the Iowa Federation of Labor convention in Waterloo promised to ensure over a quarter of the votes in the next presidential election come from a union household. Richard Trumka, secretary/treasurer fo the AFL/CIO, says in the 2000 presidential election, 26 percent of voters came from a union home, and the union wants to turn out a higher percentage in 2004. Trumka says 140,000 Iowans belong to a union, and they could prove to be a crucial voting block in the Iowa Caucuses which are the kick-off event of the 2004 presidential campaign.
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