WASHINGTON (AP) — May 15, 2008 -- The United Steelworkers union endorsed Democrat Barack Obama for president Thursday, giving the Illinois senator a powerful advocate in attracting blue-collar voters.
The endorsement comes one day after former presidential candidate and Steelworker ally John Edwards endorsed Obama, a key component in the union's decision to go with the Democratic front-runner. The union had earlier endorsed Edwards, who threw his support to Obama Wednesday night.
"We find ourselves once again in agreement with Senator Edwards, this time with his decision last evening to endorse Senator Barack Obama," the union said in a statement. "And thus today, the United Steelworkers enthusiastically endorses Senator Barack Obama to be the next president of the United States."
The Steelworkers are the second union that endorsed Edwards to now go with Obama. The 200,000-member Transport Workers Union earlier switched and endorsed Obama.
The United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and the United Mine Workers union — who also endorsed Edwards — have not made new endorsements in the race.
Obama and his presidential rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, have been courting the 600,000 member Steelworkers union since Edwards dropped out of the race. The union's executive board, however, was unanimous in picking Obama for its endorsement.
"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," the union said. "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."