Monday, September 3, 2007

Steelworkers, Mine Workers Back Edwards for President

Steelworkers, Mine Workers Back Edwards for President
by Seth Michaels, Sep 3, 2007

At a Labor Day rally in Pittsburgh, the Steelworkers (USW) and Mine Workers (UMWA) both offered their endorsement of former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) in the 2008 presidential race.

The two unions make up the largest bloc of union support thus far for a 2008 presidential candidate.

Steelworkers President Leo Gerard said Edwards stands out among presidential candidates as the most “forceful advocate” for the values of working families, pointing to his support for health care reform, fairer trade policies and workers’ freedom to form unions. Edwards was one of four candidates to speak at the Steelworkers’ presidential forum in July. Gerard said:
Sen. Edwards is committed, as he has been throughout his life, to going to bat for everyday Americans and to changing a broken political system that leaves millions of Americans without a voice in their government.
Mine Workers President Cecil Roberts said Edwards focuses attention on working family needs rather than those of corporate elites. Roberts said:
We need a president who cares about ordinary working people instead of the richest Americans and the big multinational corporations. We believe John Edwards is that person, and we will work as hard as we know how on his behalf anywhere and everywhere we can.

In August, the AFL-CIO Executive Council said it would not yet make an endorsement for a 2008 candidate, leaving AFL-CIO unions free to endorse candidates in caucuses and primaries.

Last week, the Machinists (IAM) endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) and Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.). Clinton also won the endorsement of the United Transportation Union (UTU), while the Fire Fighters have endorsed Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.). More union endorsements are expected.

In the coming months, the AFL-CIO will continue its Working Families Vote 2008 campaign, an unprecedented effort that will mobilize millions of union members across the nation to elect a worker-friendly Congress and president.