WASHINGTON — The New York City-based Transport Workers Union of America endorsed John Edwards on Thursday, saying the former North Carolina senator was the most electable of the Democratic presidential candidates.
Edwards was in New York City to accept the endorsement.
In a statement, he said the Transport Workers “keep the city moving and help keep New Yorkers safe.”
Transport Workers Union president James C. Little said they chose Edwards because he has the best chance to beat the Republican candidate in November 2008. He also said Edwards has been a steadfast supporter of organized labor.
“He’s never deviated,” Little said. “If we look at the other candidates, most of them triangulate between Wall Street, corporate America and unions, and John has pretty much stayed on track with working families.”
In 2005, the transit union went on strike, paralyzing New York City for 60 hours at the height of the Christmas shopping season and angering scores of working New Yorkers who rely on city subways and buses. The union was fined $2.5 million over the walkout, which was prohibited by state law.
The endorsement is Edwards’ fourth from a union. He was endorsed on Labor Day by the United Steelworkers and the United Mine Workers unions. He also has been endorsed by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.
The Transport Workers Union has 200,000 members and retirees in airlines, railroads, public utilities and public transportation, including workers at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York City, the nation’s largest public transit system. They also represent workers at Amtrak and at American and Southwest airlines.
Another Democratic presidential candidate, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, on Thursday picked up her third union endorsement from the Transportation Communications Union.
“She gives American workers the best opportunity to have a friend in the White House and a strong advocate for their issues,” said union president Bob Scardelletti.
The union of 46,000 mostly railroad workers is in the midst of a merger with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers union, which has already endorsed Clinton. She has also been endorsed by the United Transportation Union.
Republican Rudy Giuliani garnered the backing of the U.S. Airport and Seaport Police, a member of the International Association of Airport and Seaport Police (IAASP).
“Mayor Giuliani’s record of leadership speaks for itself, especially the remarkable resiliency he displayed in the days following Sept. 11th, as he worked side by side with police officers,” said the group’s director, Jay Grant.