- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 3, 2002

PITTSBURGH President Bush celebrated Labor Day by telling union workers that his agenda is "for hard hats, not lawyers" and urging Congress to pass legislation that will create more union jobs.
"Look, anybody who wants to join a union can do so in this crowd," Mr. Bush told members of the International Brotherhood of Carpenters at a Labor Day picnic.
The carpenters are one of several large unions, including the Teamsters, that have broken with the AFL-CIO to support Mr. Bush. The president is counting on such support to deliver Republican victories in the midterm elections.
Yesterday, White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer played up such "splits in the labor movement," which has traditionally supported Democrats.
"There are obviously some union leaders who have the willingness to put national interests above partisan party interests," he told reporters aboard Air Force One. "There are other union leaders who are really appendages of the Democratic National Committee."
"When you look at rank-and-file union workers, there is increasing support for President George W. Bush, and they are not in lock step with some of these older-line liberal labor leaders," he added.
In an effort to build on that support, Mr. Bush pointed out that the Democrat-controlled Senate is stalling legislation that would create union jobs, including a bill to provide terrorism insurance for new construction projects.
"We'll take some of the risk to get these big construction projects moving," he said. "There's been over $8 billion worth of projects that have been delayed because they can't get insurance. That means 300,000 workers aren't working.
"You see, if we want to do something to make sure the job base continues, Congress needs to get moving on a terrorism-insurance bill," he said to enthusiastic applause. "And this bill has got to be good for hard hats, not lawyers."
Mr. Bush also plugged his energy bill, part of which allows oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is backed by many unions as a source of jobs, but opposed by many Democrats and environmentalists.


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