Steelworkers, Mine Workers Unions Give Edwards a Labor Boost
The United Steelworkers and the United Mine Workers of America announced their endorsement of former Senator John Edwards for president. Following last week's endorsement of the North Carolina Democrat by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners in America, yesterday's endorsements at a Labor Day rally in Pittsburgh gave Edwards the largest bloc of blue-collar union support so far.
"I am especially honored to receive the support of the Steelworkers and Mine Workers unions," Ewards said. "These are the workers who built the middle class in America, and they are the backbone of the American labor movement. They understand how important it is to fight back when jobs, safety, standards and our values are at risk--and they know what's at stake in this election."
Representing 1.2 million workers and retirees, including 3,350 in New Hampshire, the USW is the nation's largest private sector industrial union. Following extensive outreach to USW members that included a poll of the union's 15,000 activists, as well as a nationwide survey of the union's membership, the USW International Executive Board voted unanimously on Sept. 2 to endorse Edwards.
UMWA, meanwhile, represents 105,000 active and retired coal miners, municipal employees, health care workers, and manufacturing workers in North America. Its membership includes more coal miners than any union in the world. Last week, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, representing more than 520,000 members from all political affiliations, also announced that it would endorse Edwards for president. Its formal endorsement will take place at a rally of union members on Sept. 8 in New Hampshire. Combined, these three unions represent more than 1.8 million members and retirees.