Labor for Edwards

Steel, Mine Workers Unions Back Edwards
Ramesh Santanam | 3 Sep 2007 11:52 AM EST | AP

PITTSBURGH — John Edwards won the endorsement of the United Steelworkers and the United Mine Workers of America as more than 1,000 union members cheered the Democratic presidential candidate.

"America was not built on Wall Street. America was built by steelworkers and mine workers," Edwards told supporters at a downtown Labor Day rally and parade.
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The steelworker and mine worker endorsements mean that Edwards now has more labor endorsements than any Democratic presidential candidate. The former senator from North Carolina has also secured the backing of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.
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The United Steelworkers is the largest industrial union in North America, with 850,000 members and retirees in the metals, mining, rubber, paper, oil refining, chemicals and service industries.

The mine workers union has been in the news recently, advocating for increased safety for coal miners. The union, which includes coal miners, clean coal technicians, health care workers, truck drivers and school board employees, claimed more than 86,000 members on its 2006 Labor Department disclosure forms.
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Edwards knows union membership has been on the decline, dropping to 12 percent in 2006, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But he said "strengthening and growing the labor movement is important to strengthening and growing the middle class."

Among the earliest primary states, Edwards' pro-labor message may be hardest to sell in South Carolina. Union members make up 3 percent of the work force there, the lowest share of the work force in any of the early Democratic primary voting states.

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