Yesterday, John Edwards picked up the endorsements of two unions, the United Steelworkers and the United Mine Workers of America. It’s a big moment for Edwards because labor, which was supposed to be a major source of support for his campaign, has been leery of supporting him. Happy with all the Democratic candidates in the ’08 field, the A.F.L.-C.I.O., for example, will likely not endorse anyone.
The steelworkers union represents 1.2 million workers and retirees, making it the nation’s largest private sector industrial union. Those kind of numbers are essential to Edwards’ Iowa-heavy campaign strategy. One-third of Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa came from union households in 2004.