- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 8, 2002

Some labor unions are threatening to withhold money from Democrats this election year because Bill Clinton's presidential library is being constructed in Arkansas without 100 percent union labor.
"It's ironic that the presidential library dedicated to Ronald Reagan an ardent foe of our unions was built 100 percent union," said Edward C. Sullivan, president of the AFL-CIO's Building and Construction Trades Department, which is made up of 14 unions with more than 3 million members.
The unions "are furious at being treated this way by former allies," and most will stop their contributions to the Democratic National Committee, Mr. Sullivan said Thursday.
Organized labor is a critical ally for Democrats, especially with control of both the Senate and House in question this November.
A DNC spokeswoman expressed no fear that union members would turn away from the party.
"The Democratic Party has enjoyed a long and cooperative relationship with labor for many years, and we expect that relationship to continue," said DNC spokeswoman Maria Cardona.
A message left for Clinton spokeswoman Julia Payne was not immediately returned.
Unions contributed manpower and millions of dollars to Mr. Clinton's gubernatorial and presidential campaigns. Organized labor also accounted for a large portion of the support Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton got in her campaign for the Senate seat from New York.
"The sad part about this agreement is that it also sends a terrible message to our politically active rank-and-file members who worked so hard across America to help elect President Clinton," Mr. Sullivan said.
The library, to be located along the Arkansas River in Little Rock, will be built using 75 percent union labor to fill the 350 construction jobs, according to an agreement reached last week between the William J. Clinton Presidential Foundation and local union officials. The national unions won't approve the agreement, but they also won't fight it, Mr. Sullivan said.
Construction started Wednesday on the library, which is scheduled to open in 2004.

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