(WASHINGTON) – The nation’s largest federal employee union today announced its endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States. The American Federation of Government Employees, which represents 600,000 federal workers, made the decision to support Obama in this historic election citing the critical need for positive change and Obama’s ability to unite the country.
“Senator Obama has proven himself to be a friend of labor, displaying a firm understanding of the critical importance of both a healthy labor movement and a strong federal workforce,” said John Gage, AFGE national president.
AFGE polled its members, who are dispersed throughout the country and overseas, and took a vote of its National Executive Council prior to making the decision to endorse Senator Obama.
“Senator Obama’s campaign brings an energy that has motivated our members, along with millions of working families across America,” said Gage. “This is an historic election given the issues that all Americans face as one people and one country. An overwhelming number of Americans recognize that our country is on the wrong track. Our economy is hurting. Good paying jobs are disappearing. There are millions of Americans without health insurance and millions more live in fear that they are one step away from losing health care coverage.”
“As federal employees, our members have witnessed first-hand the devastating impact of the Bush administration’s misguided policies, but with Senator Obama, we can right the direction of this country. The next president will face an onslaught of critical challenges. The Social Security and Veterans Benefits Administrations face claims backlogs in the hundreds of thousands, veterans’ health care workers are battling waves of new patients with limited resources, and droves of federal workers are nearing retirement. In order to effectively meet these challenges elected officials must work together, and focus on the needs of the American people. We believe Barack Obama has the ability and the judgment to help unite a large measure of the American people around real solutions to bring about the change we need,” said Gage.
“While we have made the decision to endorse Senator Obama, we retain the utmost respect for Senator Clinton. Senator Hillary Clinton has been a stalwart champion of federal employees, and AFGE is grateful for her support on issues ranging from collective bargaining rights to privatization to the need for additional federal protective officers who provide security at federal buildings,” said Gage.
As a superdelegate in Maryland, Gage also endorsed Senator Obama, personally. “Following the decision of my union, I, as a superdelegate, am proud to endorse Senator Obama to become the Democratic Party’s nominee for President of the United States.