Steelworkers follow Edwards

The union, which had previously endorsed John Edwards for president, took his lead and announced its support for Barack Obama.

By Alex Koppelman
May 15, 2008 6:51PM (UTC)
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In the fall of 2007, the United Steelworkers, which claims to be the largest private-sector union in the U.S., endorsed John Edwards for the presidency. But Edwards has been out of the race for months now, and on Wednesday he announced that he's supporting Barack Obama. On Thursday, the union came over to Obama's camp as well.

In a statement, the union explained its decision by saying:

When the presidential primary contests began last year, our Union felt strongly that because of Senator John Edwards' deep commitment to working people and because of our shared beliefs, he deserved our strong endorsement ...

Today, by virtue of a unanimous vote of our International Executive Board, we find ourselves once again in agreement with Senator Edwards, this time with his decision last evening to endorse Senator Barack Obama ... Senator Obama's call for a significant change of direction amounts to far more than a compelling rallying cry. It is buttressed by his record of consistent support for workers, by his call for sweeping changes to our health care system, by his unflinching support for Employee Free Choice, and by his insistence that America’s trade policies must, first and foremost, serve the interests of America’s working families ...

All of us, including we hope Senator Clinton for whom we have the utmost respect, must now do everything we can to ensure that Barack Obama is the next President of the United States. Now is the time for contention and division to cease, and for us to unite behind the changes for which Senator Obama and our members are calling ...

Those of us who are committed to changing the direction of the country [cannot] afford any more racial profiling of an election, when either Democratic candidate would be far superior to Senator McCain's lock-step commitment to four more years of the broken Bush economy and the broken Bush foreign policies.

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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