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Buildings Trades Split on Congressional Support

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – This is the last day for local candidates to make their final campaign pitches to constituents before Tuesday's elections. But will money be the final influence in who wins the races? Labor made big contributions this year, not only in the presidential race, but for local campaigns as well.

It is typical for labor to back Democratic candidates. Many union leaders across the country often say Democrats are supportive of working families and good paying American jobs, while Republicans tend to support the corporate world.

But in Western New York, one local union is throwing its support behind a Republican incumbent. Carpenters Local 9, which is a member of the Buffalo Building and Construction Trades Council, says it supports the re-election of Congressman Tom Reynolds in the 26th district. But the Building Trades is throwing its support behind Democratic opponent Jack Davis. Trades President Dan Boody says Davis is campaigning to save American jobs for workers.

"We definitely need someone in Washington to fight for us and fight against free trade," Boody said. "We need someone to help preserve jobs, good paying manufacturing jobs, and Jack Davis is the man to do it. Tom Reynolds has proven he is not the man do it, and Jack is, so we stand 100% behind Jack Davis."

Local Carpenters Business Agent Tom Burke says the International Carpenters union has contributed $10,000 to the Reynolds campaign. Burke says his union supports the candidates they feel are the best and look beyond party affiliation. He says in the 27th congressional race, they are supporting the Democratic candidate.

"We strongly support Brian Higgins and on the other side of the isle we always support Senator Dale Volker, Jack Quinn and Tom Reynolds," Burke said. "There is no question we work both sides of the aisle. We do not vote by party lines, we vote by the person. That's just the way it is."

Burke says back in 1999, when his union had pension problems, Reynolds and Republican Congressman Jack Quinn fought for legislation to help the union. He says that legislation meant some $20 million to his local union members and feels highly indebted to Reynolds.

Boody would not comment on the Carpenters union support for Reynolds, but he was clearly not happy about the division of political support within the building trades.