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Steelworkers Union Comes Out for Obama

By Matthew Mosk
John Edwards's decision yesterday to fall in behind Sen. Barack Obama continued to have reverberations today with the announcement by the United Steelworkers that it is giving the senator from Illinois its endorsement.

In a press release distributed this morning, the union noted that its leaders "felt strongly that because of Senator John Edwards's 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. And thus today, the United Steelworkers enthusiastically endorses Senator Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States," the statement said.

Union spokesman Marco Trbovich said the move had been "long considered, but it moved quickly because of our ties to Edwards and his decision to move." He said the union would become active in the remaining primary states and noted that it had significant membership numbers in Kentucky.

The Steelworkers have not traditionally spent money on advertising. But Trbovich said "we have a very formidable field operation. And within the law, we communicate very significantly to our membership."

The Steelworkers have 650,000 members in the United States, and Trbovich said they could expect to see "a major campaign to persuade our members about the anti-worker sentiments of the McCain agenda."

Republican National Committee spokesman Alex Conant responded to the announcement by issuing his own statement: "Big union endorsements are no substitute for Obama's serious lack of experience and understanding of economic policy. Obama's poor judgment on economic matters would result in higher taxes on rank-and-file union members and hurt job creation. Americans looking for strong economic leadership won't find it in Obama's tax-and-spend agenda."

By Web Politics Editor  |  May 15, 2008; 12:27 PM ET
 
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