Nevada Public Radio Listen Live

"BBC World News"
Facebook Twitter Follow Nevada Public Radio

Support Nevada Public Radio
May 17, 2004

ARCHIVE: Kerry and Teamsters


INTRO: Presumptive Democratic Presidential Nominee John Kerry, once a teamster himself addressed the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in Las Vegas Sunday. KNPR's Ky Plaskon was there.

PLASKON: Kerry is no stranger to unions. He reminisced about his college days and says he would not have earned the wages he did if it weren't for him being a member of the union.

KERRY: I was loading trucks and off loading trucks at first national city stores in Summerville Massachusetts and I learned how to wheel one of those electric carts around with a palate full to the top and take those turns and race better than anyone else in the place . . . I'm telling you.

DOWHAN: I did think it was rather amusing that he did come from just being a little guy to where he is today. I have a certificate to operate one of those machines, I wouldn't mind racing him . . . ha ha ha.

PLASKON: Debbie Dowhan sang the Canadian National Anthem and listened to Kerry's speech. She is the only woman in North American who drives a stringing truck or pull trailer, a dangerous job hauling 80 foot long, 4 foot wide pipe, with cables controlling rear steering across remote Canadian wilderness. She knows about the differences in labor law between countries, at least when she crosses from Canada to the United States.

DOWHAN: As of January 1 your trucking laws suck. To be perfectly honest. You have a 14 hour window to do basically 10 hours of driving and then you have 10 hours off. I am sorry I don't like being stuck in a truck stop for 10 hours when I am still wide awake."

PLASKON: Kerry would like labor laws abroad to more closely match the same laws as in the United States. Though a long-time supporter of free trade, he said that labor law in NAFTA for instance is not being enforced and that affords foreign companies an unfair advantage, able to produce products cheaper abroad than in the United States. He said that encourages a continual outflow of jobs to countries with less strict labor standards to produce products that are eventually sold here anyway and contributing to the nation's 500 billion dollar trade deficit. His approach is two-pronged, enforce the trade laws and eliminate taxpayer subsidies that also encourage companies to operate abroad. Along those lines, he would not sign a Central American free trade agreement in it's current form because it doesn't have the labor laws he wants in place and he would re-negotiate it if President Bush signs it into law.

KERRY: I will not sign an agreement that does not have decent labor standards and decent environment standards as part of that agreement . . we are going to negotiate those in the future.

PLASKON: In addition, if elected he intends to review every single trade law in the U-S.

KERRY: I will appoint a commission that has 120 days to report back to me and we will make certain what agreements are working for us and what agreements are not working for us.

PLASKON: The Bush campaign says the president is aggressively fighting trade cases and attacked Kerry for a plan to reverse the president's tax cuts. Tax cuts were issued by President Bush for those earning more than 200 thousand dollars a year. Kerry told the union he plans to turn those tax cuts around and give them to 98 percent of all Americans and 99 percent of businesses.

KERRY: Let me be clear, when I am president your taxes will go down so that your incomes can go up and that has not happened under this president.

PLASKON: He also promised to use the money to buy health insurance for 27 million more Americans. To the contrary, the Bush Campaign says Kerry will have to raise taxes to pay for such spending proposals. According to the Bush Campaign, Kerry has issued 73 different spending plans. Rolling back President Bush's tax cuts would generate 800 to 900 billion dollars. Kerry's health care plan would cost 650 billion over 10 years.

THROWER: If everything he says turns out to be true, he will certainly have my vote.

PLASKON: Gorge Thrower is a union member in Northern Nevada. And his reaction to Kerry's promises is exactly the kind of impact Kerry hoped to get here. Nevada is identified as one of at least 17 battleground states where the election is a toss-up. In January this year the there were 13-thousand more registered Republicans than Democrats in the state. In March that number had fallen to less than 9 thousand. The almost 150 thousand non-partisan voters and independents here could decide the election.

Ky Plaskon, News 88-9 KNPR

See discussion rules.


Apr 4, 2009 | Drug Donation Program
Nevada lawmakers are debating the creation of a program that would help cancer patients get expensive prescription drugs for less.

Mar 13, 2009 | Budget Wrangling
As state lawmakers wrestle with Nevada's multi-billion-dollar budget deficit, there are several plans afoot aimed at softening the next economic bust.

Mar 2, 2009 | Autism
The cost of treating children with autism can be $24,000 to $40,000 per child per year according to the Autism Coalition of Nevada. A bill before the Nevada Legislature aims to help families pay for the care.

Feb 16, 2007 | Chinese New Year
This weekend marks a celebration of Chinese New Year. KNPR's Rick Andrews reports on how the holiday is being celebrated by the valley's growing Asian community.

Dec 7, 2006 | Food and Beverage
The economy of scale for food and beverage operations in Las Vegas means any edge in efficiency is real money. Rick Andrews reports on a software product scoring with food and beverage managers looking at the bottom line...and what you're likely to order.

Nov 15, 2006 | Global Gaming Expo
The Global Gaming Expo trade show and conference got underway Tuesday in Las Vegas. Vendors showcase their latest wares including new slot machines.

Nov 1, 2006 | Stardust Memories
When it opened in 1958 the Stardust was the world's largest hotel. Now, after more than 48 years, it's closed.

Sep 27, 2006 | Nevada Northern Railway
The 'Nevada Northern' is celebrating its centenial anniversary. News 88.9's Rick Andrews went on a tour of the museum with executive director Mark Bassett.

Jun 30, 2006 | Standing Up for Ringo
Congresswoman Shelley Berkley tells the story of how she saw the Beatles in Las Vegas in August 1964.

Jun 29, 2006 | Sports Supplements
From fortified cereals to energy drinks to serious sports nutrition, people are willing to spend lots money to supplement their diets. Rick Andrews reports on the business of sports supplements.

May 25, 2006 | Love
Wednesday Cirque du Soleil provided a glimpse of their much anticipated show based on the music of the Beatles. Flo Rogers reports on Love.

May 24, 2006 | Telecommunications
A Senate telecommunications bill currently being considered includes provisions on most everything, but some worry that controversial measures will derail the entire package.

May 16, 2006 | Nanotech
Universities across the country are spending millions to expand nano technology research...manipulating molecules 10,000 times smaller than a human hair. Rick Andrews reports on nano research at UNLV.

Apr 24, 2006 | Earthscope
Hualapai Mountain Park, near Kingman, has been chosen by the National Science Foundation to be home to a seismic monitoring station. Gillian Ferris Kohl reports.

Apr 18, 2006 | Anatomical Donation for Science
In the second of two reports exploring innovative medical facilities in the Valley, Rick Andrews visits the Medical Education and Research Institute of Nevada in Henderson.

Apr 12, 2006 | Immigration Reform Stalled
Immigration legislation in the U.S. Senate is at a standstill. Many in the Republican Party blame Nevada Democrat, Senator Harry Reid for the impasse. Jill Morrison reports from Capitol Hill.

Apr 1, 2006 | New Plans for Nellis
The first of April brings news that a large piece of military land in Las Vegas may be redeveloped.

Mar 28, 2006 | Test Site Worker Compensation
Senator Harry Reid is trying to get compensation for Test Site workers who were exposed to dangerous levels of radiation, but never compensated.

Feb 27, 2006 | StoryCorps - Alice Keys
Alice Keys has been active in the African American community for decades and known through her association with the Moulin Rouge Casino. Here's her recollection of meeting one of the great African Americans of the last century.

Feb 21, 2006 | StoryCorps - Alan Morel and Mike Genoshe
When close friends interview each other, the stories are often more intimate and revealing than talking to a reporter. A case in point is Alan Morel and Mike Genoshe talking about their hopes for their adopted son.

Web hosting facilities provided by Switch.