Real plumbers ratchet up support for Obama, EFCA

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DETROIT -- Six thousand building and construction trades workers from various parts of Michigan marched to the McNamara Federal Building here to show support for the Employee Free Choice Act and the election of Sen. Barack Obama as President of the United States.

The workers marched from IBEW local 58 and included Painters, Plasterers, Teamsters, Operating Engineers, Carpenters and Millwrights, Elevator Construction, Pipefitters, Electricians, Sheetmetal workers and as the president of Plumbers local 98 pointed out “some real plumbers not Joe the plumber of McCain-Palin fame who isn’t a plumber after all.”

Mark Gaffney, president of the Michigan AFL-CIO who introduced Pat Devlin, president of the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council encouraged everyone to keep the phone banks and labor walks going and take two days off: Nov. 3 and Nov. 4 Election Day and not let up until we elect President Obama and a 60-seat majority in the U.S. Senate.

Devlin who introduced Richard Trumka, secretary- treasurer of the AFL-CIO encouraged the workers to go back to their work places and talk to those undecided workers and explain why we need to elect Obama.

Trumka also spoke of the last eight years as anti labor and the National Labor Relations Board as the anti labor board because of its delaying tactics. “Which is why we need the Employee Free choice Act,” he said. He compared this period to the 1930s, and said “During the debate the other night Obama said he would not sign a trade agreement with Columbia because of their policy of imprisoning and killing trade unionists. That’s why we need to elect Obama.”

A number of union presidents spoke, as did a representative of James Hoffa, president of The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, who said, “We have our differences in the labor movement, but we must all work together to elect Obama president and get the Employee Free Choice Act” passed.

Gary Peters, a pro labor Democrat running against arch reactionary Republican Rep. Knollenberg spoke against giving tax breaks to companies who move overseas.

Congressman John Dingell talked about his father being one of the sponsors of the Wagner Act and compared the Employee Free Choice Act to it.

Dingell is a hunter and fisherman and said Obama won’t take your guns away but will make it possible for you to afford to go hunting.