Edwards Receives Support of Steelworkers and Mine Workers Unions

Official endorsement at Pittsburgh Labor Day rally gives Edwards largest bloc of union support among presidential candidates so far

Manchester, New Hampshire – The United Steelworkers (USW) and the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) today endorsed Senator John Edwards for president. Following the Thursday endorsement of Edwards by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners in America, the two endorsements announced today at a Labor Day rally in Pittsburgh with union members and their families give Edwards the largest bloc of union support so far – combined, morethan 1.8 million members and retirees – among any of the presidential candidates.

“I am especially honored to receive the support of the Steelworkers and Mine Workers unions,” said Edwards, “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.”

“These workers have felt the negative impact of a broken system in Washington that is rigged against America’s working families for far too long – whether it’s the tragic lack of oversight in mine safety, trade agreements written to benefit multinational corporations while they ship American jobs overseas, or the millions of working Americans who still can’t afford health insurance,” added Edwards. “As president, I will proudly lead the fight on behalf of working families with their support – and together we will win.”

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 Sunday, September 2nd to endorse Edwards.

The UMWA represents 105,000 active and retired coal miners, municipal employees, health care workers and manufacturing workers in North America. Their membership includes more coal miners than any union in the world

Both Steelworkers President Leo W. Gerard and UMWA President Cecil E. Roberts announced their endorsement by making clear the stakes hard-working families face and laying out why Sen. Edwards is the best candidate to lead the fight for change in America.

“Senator John Edwards is committed, as he has been throughout his life, to going to bat for everyday Americans and to changing a broken political system that leaves millions of Americans without a voice in their government,” said Steelworkers President Leo W. Gerard. “Edwards is right on the issues that matter to us, and he’s the candidate with the best chance of winning in the general election. The big corporations don’t need another president who does their bidding. It’s time we had a president who will fight for working people – and that’s what John Edwards will do.”

“Senator Edwards’ positions on the issues of importance to UMWA members make him the best fit of all the candidates for president,” UMWA International President Cecil E. Roberts said. “We need a president who cares about ordinary working people instead of the richest Americans and the big multinational corporations. We believe John Edwards is that person, and we will work as hard as we know how on his behalf anywhere and everywhere we can.”

Close to 1,000 people were expected at the Pittsburgh Labor Day rally where the unions’ official endorsements were announced. Sen. Edwards was joined on stage by USW President Leo Gerard, UMWA International President Cecil Roberts and local union members. Elizabeth Edwards and Edwards Campaign Manager David Bonior also attended the event.

On Thursday, August 30th, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, representing more than 520,000 members from all political affiliations, also announced that they would endorse John Edwards for president. Their formal endorsement will take place at a rally of union members on September 8th in New Hampshire.