Obama picks up labor endorsements

The senator gets two more boosts in as many days, scoring nods from a pair of prominent unions.

Published February 15, 2008 9:33PM (EST)

Barack Obama's presidential campaign is having a very good run lately; it has taken victories in the last eight Democratic contests, it's getting superdelegates to defect from Hillary Clinton, and now it has gotten endorsements from two major labor unions.

On Thursday, the United Food and Commercial Workers, which claims 1.1 million U.S. members, gave Obama its support. And Friday, the Service Employees International Union, which has 1.9 million members and a political action committee that's expected to collect more than $30 million this election cycle, added its endorsement.

In a statement, SEIU president Andy Stern said, "This is about more than one election. It's about building for the next generation of America; Barack Obama is creating the broadest and deepest coalition of voters we've ever seen."

The SEIU endorsement could be important to Obama's campaign because of the union's membership size, its political activity and, of course, its financial resources; the media thus far has been reporting it as a real boon to Obama. On the other hand, as Radar's Fresh Intelligence blog noted, "Just look at how the SEIU endorsement propelled Howard Dean to the Democratic nomination in 2004, or how the endorsements of state SEIU chapters earlier this year totally locked things up for Obama in Nevada and California and for John Edwards in Iowa and New Hampshire. Or not."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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