Second big union endorses Reagan

WASHINGTON -- Republican nominee Ronald Reagan won major labor support for the second straight day Thursday when National Maritime Union convention delegates overrode an earlier endorsement by their leaders for President Carter.

Action by the 35,000-member union of unlicensed or non-officered seamen came in St. Louis one day after the unanimous vote by the executive board of the 2.3 million-member Teamsters union to endorse Reagan.


Labor Secretary Ray Marshall, at a news conference later at Carter-Mondale headquarters in Washington, assailed Reagan's effort to win blue-collar support, and said 'workers and all Americans cannot trust Ronald Reagan.'

Marshall said ever since his days as president of the Screen Actors Guild Reagan 'has turned his back on every principle of the trade union movement.'

He also noted a newspaper report quoting Reagan labor aide Michael Balzano as saying their campaign strategy is to get union workers to stay home from the polls on election day, rather than to convince them to vote for Reagan.

'Well, workers are not as dumb or simple-minded as Reagan and his supporters think,' Marshall said. 'They do think, they do remember, and they will vote.'

The Maritime Union became the first AFL-CIO affiliate to support the GOP ticket, although a few unions _ including the largest federal workers union _ have voted to stay neutral.


The AFL-CIO _ a federation of affiliated unions with a combined membership of 13.6 million _ has endorsed Carter, and the National Education Association, a non-AFL-CIO union and the nation's second largest, was one of the first to back the president for re-election.

Organized labor has emphasized an anti-Reagan campaign, citing his stands on right-to-work and occupational safety and health laws, minimum wage, labor law reform, and the Equal Rights Amendment.

Ironically, the Maritime Union had already started a publicity campaign to push the Carter candidacy, including devoting a large amount of space in the October issue of its newspaper to a denouncement of Reagan.

In one article headlined: 'For Workers, A Clear Choice ... Carter,' the paper said: 'It is one thing to acknowledge shortcomings in a president's policies. It is another matter _ and a dangerous one _ to turn to a candidate whose policies have a track record of absolute failure.'

Union spokesman Sam Thompson said the union was one of the first to endorse Carter in 1976 and has backed Democratic presidential nominees for the past 25 years.

Reagan said later the endorsement by the NMU and Teamsters 'means the people of this country who make this country work and the people who make it go realize what has happened by Washington's interference in their affairs and what has to be done.'


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