In a bid to energize demoralized Democratic voters in time for the 2012 election, the Service Employees International Union today announced its endorsement of President Barack Obama, three months earlier than it did in 2008.
“This early endorsement is to make crystal clear what kind of country we want, and that we think President Barack Obama is the leader who is going to help make that vision a reality in our country,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry in a conference call with reporters.
The SEIU trotted out local union leaders from swing states such as Florida, Colorado and Nevada to testify to their enthusiasm for Obama, and to describe their plans to register and mobilize voters in the run up to 2012. Not unlike the AFL-CIO, which has advertised plans to broaden its agenda to focus year-round on non-union members and issues, Henry said the SEIU will target “non-union workers and our neighbors,” as well as its own members.
“We have been renewing our education on who broke the economy, who’s responsible for it and why it is happening,” said Henry.
She added that the SEIU, which according to the Center for Responsive Politics spent nearly $15.8 million on the 2010 election, is also increasing its investment in both Latino and African-American voter outreach.
The SEIU, like other labor unions, has both helped boost and has echoed the rhetoric of the Occupy Wall Street movement. “Getting our endorsement announced today is a way to up the ante on behalf of the 99 percent of this country” Henry said.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.