from the United Transportation Union website


The United Transportation Union today (Aug. 28) became the first labor union in America to endorse Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States.

“It is a high honor and a distinct privilege to be the first labor union in making this endorsement,” said UTU International President Paul Thompson. “The UTU has a long history of picking winners early. Hillary will be a president that America’s working families can count on. Time and again, as a United States senator, she has stood with us.

“The UTU intends to devote our considerable resources to encouraging our 125,000 active and retired members, their families, friends and neighbors to register to vote and cast ballots on Election Day 2008 for Hillary.”

Thompson and UTU National Legislative Director James Brunkenhoefer agreed that Clinton’s past history in support of UTU members, and her detailed commitments to UTU members in a letter to Thompson (link to letter is at the end of this article), plus her strong performance at the AFL-CIO presidential forum in Chicago, were deciding factors in the UTU’s endorsement.

“We need a president with the strength and experience to stand up for America’s workers and their retirement security," Brunkenhoefer said. “Hillary Clinton is that leader.”

Mike Futhey, who was elected earlier in August to succeed Thompson, who will retire Dec. 31, said, “Hillary Clinton‘s record has been friendly to working men and women of this country. She consistently has endorsed the necessity of a strong middle class. The UTU is on the same page with Hillary Clinton just as we were on the same page with labor-friendly candidates in mid-term elections in 2006. The UTU will encourage its 125,000 active and retired members to support Hillary and other labor-friendly candidates in 2008.”

Futhey served on Bill Clinton’s presidential election campaign finance committee.

Brunkenhoefer said the UTU had supported the Clintons “going back to 1978,” when former UTU Arkansas State Legislative Director Don Beavers, and Futhey’s predecessor as general chairperson of GO-569, the late Irv Newcomb of Little Rock, were deeply involved in the Clinton for governor campaign in Arkansas.

In a personal telephone call to Thompson after learning of the endorsement, Clinton told him, “It’s time America’s workers had an advocate in the White House.”

Clinton followed up her telephone call with a letter to Thompson making specific commitments to UTU members. “This letter should encourage every UTU member and retiree, no matter their past voting record, to begin work immediately on behalf of electing Hillary Clinton president,” Thompson said.