PENDLETON - On the eve of Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to Pendleton, labor union members gathered at the John Murray Building to say the Bush administration has not done enough for workers.
"Obviously, the last four years nothing's changed; it's gone downhill," said Joe Vandecar, a Hermiston electrical worker.
Vandecar, a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 112, said he's worked only six months in 11/2 years.
"There is no work in our area right now," he said. "There are no jobs out there. Nobody's building anything."
Vandecar said his wife, a payroll manager, has been out of work for two years despite applying for numerous jobs in Oregon and Washington. He said his unemployment benefits have run out and that he and his wife are scraping by on savings.
Vandecar said he would encourage the Bush admin- istration to make it easier for new businesses to obtain financing.
John Hasher, also an IBEW member, said he's been out of work since May. He said he applied for a job Wednesday that would pay him about 30 percent less than his old job.
He said he would like to see the Bush administration "protect our services, our way of life."
Hasher also expressed frustration at Bush's new overtime rules, which critics claim will eliminate overtime pay for millions of workers.
"We fought for the 40-hour work week for years," he said. "I like to spend time with my family. (It) seriously changes my lifestyle."
The Bush administration insists the rules will make workers eligible for overtime who aren't now and prove a boon to businesses.
Randy Knop, president of the Pendleton Building and Construction Trades, said the Bush administration has workers feeling left behind.
"One of the problems is that Eastern Oregon has not received its share of federal transportation dollars," Knop said. "As a consequence, our membership has not enjoyed the benefits of this administration whatsoever."