UPDATED: This article has been updated to include a statement from Obama campaign manager Jim Messina.
In a conference call on Wednesday morning, SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry endorsed President Barack Obama for reelection.
“We believe in a country that invests in good jobs here at home,” she said as she announced the union’s support. “We think President Barack Obama is going to help make that vision a reality in our country.”
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina was pleased with the endorsement. “SEIU and the President share many common goals – chief among them a belief that we must do everything we can to create good-paying American jobs and a fair economic foundation that will let all workers succeed,” he told TPM. “Throughout the next year we’ll employ that same energy and unity, working together to do everything we can to ensure the President has four more years to strengthen middle-class families’ economic security.”
Yvonne Richardson, an SEIU leader from Florida told reporters “I will be doing everything in my power to see that [Obama] is elected into office.” Richardson emphasized that the SEIU would be “visible” in aiding voter turnout efforts in Florida.
Mary Kay Henry added that the SEIU would be keeping a careful eye on voter suppression efforts, and would fight to ensure that every American voter has a voice.
There were several references made to the 99% during the call. When asked if the timing of the endorsement had to do with recent developments in the OWS protests, Henry downplayed the connection. “For us, ‘we are the 99%’ is a spontaneous response,” she said. “We see it as our act of solidarity with the movement.”