Pre-Debate Activity
Columbia, SC, May 3, 2003--Outside the debate hall, members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers led by John Carr, IAM Local Lodge
1725 Vice President (center), have a simple message: "Jobs!"

Carr answered some questions:
Q What is your union doing with respect to the 2004 campaign; are you educating your members or...?

What we're doing is trying to educate ourselves and our membership on the candidates that are out there and of course the issues too to go along with that.  We are talking about all nine candidates.

Q How?

We have legislative committees and things like that and we also have labor councils in most of our cities through the AFL, so there's several ways we do it.  Our members we communicate politically usually through our own newsletters.  We're also by this right here, we're coming out; we're getting active.  There's five or six of us that are in the local area from North and South Carolina.  However there's a whole bunch of us that came from other cities to support this group out of Georgia Pacific and some of the job losses going on right here in South Carolina.

Q How many states are people from?

You have five states represented here, who came in to support the members that live here in South Carolina around the Columbia area and work for Georgia Pacific.

Q What's going on at Georgia Pacific?

Well it's like everywhere else.  Jobs.  Jobs are going away.  That's our real issue.  Jobs.

Q How big is your local?

On September 11th 2001, we had almost 5,000 members.  Now we have 2,700 members in our local lodge.

Q What do you want?

The Democratic Party has traditionally been more for the worker, more for labor unions and working families and most of these candidates in here that have the ability to vote traditionally vote our way and vote on our issues when the bills and things come that way.  That's not good enough any more.  We can't tolerate a version of Bush-lite.  The economy's got to turn around; we've got to get jobs and to do that we need a candidate who's going to... come out with our issues, be the leader, be the one who goes to the media and says here's what I'm standing for--I'm fighting for jobs--and be the guy who says that, not to just take a light stance on that.  We need them to lead the way.  So that's why we're here.

Copyright © 2003  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.