8A - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, SepteMper 5, 2001
President gets lukewarm reception
Teamsters at Detroit picnic
Some union members call Bush's
visit to a Labor Day picnic embarassing
DETROIT (AP) - Union members had mixed reac-
tions to President Bush's appearance at the Michigan
Teamsters Labor Day picnic.
Bush was greeted with cheers and a few boos at as he
stepped on the red-white-and-blue-draped podium. He
acknowledged that some thought it was risky to invite a
Republican to speak at a union Labor Day picnic.
In his brief speech, Bush told the crowd the economy
must grow, which is why he rebated tax money to Ameri-
"This is a Labor Day where we can't celebrate a boom-
ing economy," Bush said. He also praised Teamsters
President James P. Hoffa, who wasn't at the picnic.
Gordon Adams, a newspaper driver with Teamsters
Local 372, said it was "disappointing" that Bush was at
the union's picnic. "It's an embarrassment for him to be
here," Adams said.
But others were pleased. "For a Demccr,:, I'm quite
impressed," said John Evanoff Jr., a member of Team-
sters Local 299 of Detroit. "I want to shake the man's
hand. I respect the man for coming here."
A few dozen people protested outside the union picnic,
some holding placards with such slogans as "Bush Hurts
Social Security." The protesters included Detroit City
Councilwoman Maryann Mahaffey, who described the
group as members of various unions. She had to lay
down her placard to get inside the picnic.
"I think a lot of the rank and file who are here (at the
picnic) are not Bush supporters," she said.
After his speech, Bush and First Lady Laura Bush
posed for photographs with well-wishers and signed
autographs for more than 10 minutes. Several union
members indicated they were pleased with his appear-
Denise Smith, with Teamsters Local 229, said she's not
a Bush supporter, "but I'm very impressed. He's very
down to earth. We're willing to give him a try."
Teamster Robert Reddig, of Detroit, said he looked to
Bush's speech to offer hope for working families."A reg-
ular working man can't make it without a few people
working in his family," said Reddig, a crane mechanic
and 17-year Teamster who voted for Bush.
Teamsters spokesmant Rob Black said the fact Bush
accepted the union's invitation shows he's reaching out to
The Teamsters helped Bush pass his energy package in
the House on the belief that the plan will produce jobs.
But the two part ways on several issues, including the
president's push to give Mexican trucks broad access to
State Attorney General Jennifer Granholm, a Democ-
ratic candidate for Michigan governor, said she hoped
union members had questions for Bush.
"Let our trade policies be fair and not a race to the bot-
tom. Ask him about that," she told the crowd during a
brief appearance before Bush arrived.
Bush attended the picnic after an appearance in
Kaukana, Wis., where he gave a speech before several
hundred unionized carpenters.
President Bush greets union workers and their families
Monday irs Detroit. Some Teamsters were offended that the
Republican made an appearance at the Labor Day picnic.
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