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Unions Team Up for 2004

TWELVE UNIONS THAT HAVE endorsed the presidential campaign of Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) yesterday announced formation of the Alliance for Economic Justice, an organization that will allow them to legally pool their resources and work together in the 2004 elections.

The group, which includes the Ironworkers, Teamsters, Laborers and Steelworkers, was formed in large part because the AFL-CIO -- the largest labor umbrella group -- will not endorse a Democratic candidate before the Jan. 19 Iowa caucus, a make-or-break event for Gephardt.

Donald Kaniewski and Frank Voyack, political and legislative directors of the Laborers' International Union and the Ironworkers, respectively, said they hope to get all 20 unions that have endorsed Gephardt to join the alliance. The budget and staffing have not been worked out, they said.

The alliance will be a labor federation under the 501(c) (5) section of the U.S. tax law, they said. This will allow the unions to work together registering members, getting them to the polls and conducting education programs. Kaniewski said about 52,000 Iowa workers belong to unions that have endorsed Gephardt.

Washington Post 10.17.03

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