United Mine Workers Union Backs Obama
By Garance Franke-Ruta
Falling in behind the man who looks increasingly like the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, the United Mine Workers of America endorsed Barack Obama for president today. The endorsement followed a unanimous vote to throw support his way by the union's National Council of the Coal Miners' Political Action Committee.
Coming the day after the Kentucky primary, which Hillary Clinton won overwhelmingly, and a week after the primary in West Virginia, a coal state also won decisively by Clinton, the endorsement signals a continued consolidation of Democratic-leaning independent group support behind Obama but will have little impact on the small number of remaining voting states or the course of the primary.
"We are extremely proud to make this endorsement today," UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said in a statement. "Sen. Obama shares the values of UMWA members and our families. He understands and will fight for the needs our members have today and the hopes our members have for a secure future for themselves and their families."
The UMWA had previously endorsed John Edwards for president last Labor Day, the same day the United Steelworkers cast their lot with Edwards. After Edwards's endorsement of Obama, the Steelworkers endorsed him, too, citing Edwards's influence.
UMWA president Roberts noted Obama's support for the coal industry in making the endorsement. "Sen. Obama will work to ensure the future of American coal and the jobs that go with it by moving aggressively to develop and implement carbon capture and sequestration technology," Roberts said. "Sen. McCain has advanced proposal after proposal that would cut jobs in the coal industry, especially in the eastern part of the country."
"Sen. Obama is from a coal state," Roberts continued. "He understands that coal will remain a primary source for electricity generation in this country for many decades to come and he will join with the UMWA as we work to ensure that it will be used for that purpose in an environmentally responsible way."
"We will be making these points with our members over the coming months as we move forward to the election in November," Roberts said. "It doesn't matter whether it's our members' jobs, their safety, their health care, their pensions, their children's education, their union, their standard of living, or their very rights as American citizens -- John McCain will do harm to all of them by continuing the failed Bush administration policies."
Founded in 1890, the UMWA today says it represents "105,000 active and retired coal miners, mine construction workers, public service employees, health care workers and manufacturing workers in the U.S. and Canada."
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