The SEIU (1.9 million members) and the UFCW (1.3 million members) have just announced that they will support Barack Obama in his efforts to become the Democratic candidate for the American presidency.
Their support is important because they are very effective at mobilising voters. “With more than 150,000 members in the upcoming primary states, including Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Texas, SEIU will mobilize thousands to go door-to-door, work the phones, and will send mail about their support for Obama”, the services union announced.
A Mother Jones article points out that SEIU has been called the most influential interest organisation and may have an impact on voters who tended to vote for Clinton until now, including women, Latinos and working-class whites.
Both SEIU and UFCW seem to have decided to support Obama because of his capacity to unite Americans of different backgrounds. “We have the utmost respect for Senator Clinton and her tireless efforts on behalf of working people”, president Joe Hansen of the UFCW said, but he added that Obama ‘is the best candidate to build a movement to unite our country’ and called him ‘the candidate of the American dream’.
SEIU’s vice president Anna Burger said this is ‘one of the most important presidential elections workers have faced’. Unions have hopes that a new president will create a more union-friendly workplace by enacting the Employee Free Choice Act.