Saturday, July 22, 2000

Democrats ignore labor, Nader tells Ohio crowd

By Kate Roberts
The Associated Press

        COLUMBUS, Ohio — Presidential candidate and consumer advocate Ralph Nader has been dubbed a Democratic party “spoiler” for November's presidential election. But Mr. Nader says he can't spoil an election that's already rotten for labor and environmental groups.

        “The Republicans and Democrats go around asking labor for their votes and then, when they get elected, they turn their backs and throw themselves and their careers into the laps of huge corporations,” Mr. Nader said at a campaign stop in Columbus Friday.

        Mr. Nader stressed unity between union workers and environmentalists, arguing that the two have similar agendas and are being ignored by Democratic candidates who assume they can carry those constituencies.

        A campaign spokesman for Vice President Al Gore disputed Mr. Nader's assertion that Democrats are lax in courting the support of organized labor.

        “Al Gore's committed (to) working families and his addressing the AFL-CIO this morning (in Washington) speaks to that,” Jano Cabrera said from Mr. Gore's Nashville headquarters.

        After a rally with several environmental groups, Mr. Nader spent about an hour with a group of steel workers who have been locked out of their jobs at AK Steel's Mansfield plant since Sept. 1.

        Steelworkers spokesman Tony Montana said the international union has already endorsed Mr. Gore, but members attended Mr. Nader's rally to bring attention to labor and environmental issues.

        Mr. Nader promised the first thing he'd do if elected president would be to push for the repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act, the 1947 federal law that restricts union strikes.

        Mr. Nader's supporters say they've collected enough signatures to put him on the Ohio ballot. He has to file as an independent because the Green Party does not have ballot status in Ohio.


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- Democrats ignore labor, Nader tells Ohio crowd
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