Chicago, IL - The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada today became the first international union to endorse Sen. Barack Obama for President. General President William Hite released the following statement:
On January 9, 2008, the United Association became the first International Union to endorse Senator Barack Obama as its candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. This endorsement was discussed with the General Executive Board and they concurred.
Barack Obama is the choice of the UA because he has always fought for working people throughout his career and will do the best job of bringing badly-needed change to Washington. Obama will help us keep existing jobs and work to develop new, higher paying jobs here in America, reform our health care system, fix our ailing schools and make sure that the pensions of our retirees are safe.
I have had a long-standing, working relationship with Barack. The UA was one of the first unions in Illinois to endorse him as a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Barack Obama has personally reached out to the UA to request our support for his presidential candidacy, and he has solicited our views on the issues that are important to our union and its members. No other candidate, of either party, has requested our support or solicited our views!
One of the keys to our endorsement was that Senator Obama backs a strong energy and industrial construction policy, which is very important to the future of our union. He is in favor of nuclear power, the construction of new refineries, fossil fuel power plants and chemical plants. He has also endorsed innovative energy initiatives, including ethanol plants, coal gasification and biodiesel production. He also clearly recognizes the need to upgrade all of our current industrial plants to comply with clean air and water standards. Barack realizes we have to become less reliant on foreign oil and gas and develop an energy program that we self-sustain here in the United States.
To meet the challenges of clean water, he recognizes the need to replace and/or upgrade our water treatment and wastewater systems. His support of our position on all of these issues more than justifies our endorsement. We need to support Barack Obama because he provides more than lip service to our concerns.
We remain a bi-partisan organization. However, our best hope for clear direction and responsible change in our national government calls for our support of Barack Obama. The economic indicators show a weakening national economy and we need someone to both invigorate our economy and provide hope for our country.