Obama gets another big union endorsement

Other News Materials 21 February 2008 06:12 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama was endorsed Wednesday by one of the country's largest unions as the party's nomination contest moved into the blue-collar state of Ohio and Texas.

The 1.4-million-strong International Brotherhood of Teamsters was to endorse Obama despite a history of supporting former president Bill Clinton, husband of Obama's Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

"This is not about the Clintons," Teamsters President James Hoffa told CNN. "The question is who can win, who caught the imagination of the American voter and workers in America."

"Barack Obama gives us the best opportunity to rebuild America and to win in November," Hoffa said.

The Teamsters endorsement is one of three major labour pickups for Obama ahead of key primary contests in Ohio and Texas on March 4. Clinton has staked her campaign on wins in both after Obama's string of 10 straight state victories in February. She is said to be relying on blue-collar workers who have traditionally backed her for a victory in Ohio.

The Service Employees International Union, which has 1.9 million members, and the 1.3-million-strong United Food and Commercial Workers both endorsed Obama last week.

But Clinton continues to have the backing of a greater number of nationwide labour groups - most of which traditionally back Democrats - including the United Farm Workers and a large number unions affiliated with the nation's largest labour federation, AFL-CIO. The AFL-CIO itself has yet to endorse a candidate.