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United Steelworkers Endorse Senator Barack Obama for President


United Steelworkers Endorse Senator Barack Obama for President

Pittsburgh – The United Steelworkers today issued the following statement of endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President:

“When the presidential primary contests began last year, our Union 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. His belief that unfair trade policies must be changed, his commitment to pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) to restore workers’ rights to freely choose workplace representation, and his proposal for universal health care were widely shared by our members.

“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.

“Senator Obama’s call for a significant change of direction amounts to far more than a compelling rallying cry. It is buttressed by his record of consistent support for workers, by his call for sweeping changes to our health care system, by his unflinching support for Employee Free Choice, and by his insistence that America’s trade policies must, first and foremost, serve the interests of America’s working families.

“Senator Obama has shown his commitment to working families by proposing significant investments in the future of American manufacturing, in the revitalization of our nation’s infrastructure, and in 21st century clean energy technologies that will lead to significant growth in domestic jobs. He is clearly the candidate who can best lead our nation out of the dark period of economic decline created by the Bush administration’s allegiance to Wall Street profiteering at the expense of worker prosperity.

“We share Senator Obama’s call for significant changes to these bankrupt policies, just as we earlier shared Senator Edwards’ And 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. 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.

“America’s workers cannot afford another four years of rehashed Bush administration policies, another four years in which the National Labor Relations Board shills for corporate misconduct, or another four years of a Secretary of the Treasury who considers it his “job” to bail out Wall Street speculators at the expense of hard working families loosing their homes.

“Nor can those of us who are committed to changing the direction of the country afford any more racial profiling of an election, when either Democratic candidate would be far superior to Senator McCain’s lock-step commitment to four more years of the broken Bush economy and the broken Bush foreign policies.

“We are proud and honored to join Senator Edwards in endorsing Senator Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States. We commit ourselves to working tirelessly for his election and for a new age of cooperation among Democrats, Independents and thoughtful Republicans alike in which working Americans are restored to a place of dignity in society and in the American economy.”

Contact: Marco Trbovich (412) 562-2440; or (412) 760-4335

499th Labor Candidate Victory in New Jersey


499th Labor Candidate Victory in New Jersey

New Jersey State AFL-CIO President Charles Wowkanech describes yesterday’s municipal election victories by union members across the state.

The New Jersey State AFL-CIO is proud to announce the victories of four union members who were elected to public office yesterday, bringing the total number of rank-and-file union members elected to public office in New Jersey to 499 since 1997.

New Jersey residents voted in several non-partisan municipal elections yesterday. It will be the responsibility of these elected officials to enact ordinances and resolutions for governing municipal affairs, approve or amend their annual budget, authorize contracts on behalf of the city and appoint members of local commissions and committees. Residents of these municipalities can rest assured that the union members elected to office in their towns will make these important decisions, while keeping in mind the ideals of our labor movement and how their policies will best impact working families!

To view a recent example of how union members serving their communities at the municipal level can make a change in the lives of workers, look no further than the recent smoking ban in Atlantic City, which will improve the working conditions of tens of thousands of workers at Atlantic City casinos. The ordinance was passed by a City Council that includes a number of union members and graduates of the Labor Candidates Program and was signed into law by Mayor Scott Evans, who is a member and local officer of the Fire Fighters (IAFF).

Council members who have taken part in the Labor Candidates Program support workers’ rights to form unions from a position of leadership and authority and sign onto neutrality agreements with public employees trying to form a union. They also are in a unique position to ensure that municipal properties are built and maintained by union labor, by signing onto project labor agreements that prevent contractors from low-balling bids by undercutting wage levels for skilled workers.

Frequently, these candidates run for office at the local level and gain experience to later run for county or state offices. That was the case with New Jersey Assemblyman John F. Amodeo, who began his political career as a councilman in Linwood and later as assemblyman provided a key vote for passage of the Paid Family Leave legislation through our state Assembly. The bill was signed into law earlier this month.

The New Jersey State AFL-CIO is proud of all the rank-and-file union members who seek election to public office through the Labor Candidates Program. In partnership with the AFL-CIO central labor councils, Building Trades Councils and all affiliated unions, we rejoice in the local victories of the newly elected labor candidates and look forward to celebrating our 500th labor candidate victory with our state’s labor family in November.