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CAMPAIGN 2000

Electrical Workers' Union Gives Its Backing to Nader

August 31, 2000|From a Times Staff Writer

Ralph Nader, the Green Party presidential candidate who scolds corporations at every turn, picked up the largest labor endorsement of his longshot campaign on Wednesday: the backing of a 35,000-member electrical workers' union that has historically endorsed Democrats.

The 200 delegates attending the national convention of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America voted Wednesday to support Nader's third-party candidacy, saying "we have no choice but to escape the two-party trap." The union has endorsed only four other presidential candidates in its 65-year history--all Democrats, with the last being Michael S. Dukakis in 1988.

Nader, who addressed the Erie, Pa., convention on Tuesday to great applause, has already been endorsed by the California Nurses Assn., which represents 31,000 registered nurses, and a 1,200-member Los Angeles arm of a union representing government employees.

Although those endorsements are significant for Nader, the unions that doled them out make up a fraction of American labor. The AFL-CIO, for example, represents 13 million workers, and has endorsed Democratic presidential nominee Al Gore.

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