02/21/2008 02:00 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

A President for Working Families: Barack Obama

The last time voters had a chance to send the country in a new direction it didn't work out so well. With the economy in shambles, a continuing jobs exodus and a president who remains shamelessly ignorant to the woes of working families, George Bush led us down the wrong fork in the path.

The 2008 presidential election is our opportunity to choose a new direction, a new path.

Barack Obama is the one candidate who is best suited to lead our country in such a direction.

After polling our membership and surveying our regional and local leaders, the 1.4 million member Teamsters Union is proud to endorse Senator Obama in his bid to become president of the United States.

This endorsement begins a partnership to change America. Together, we will reinvent the political process and fight to give a voice to working families who have been ignored by George Bush and the Republican Party for the past eight years.

We have had the opportunity to talk candidly with Sen. Obama on several occasions about the many needs of working Americans. To that end, Senator Obama agrees with a core group of legislative goals that are essential to our union and to the well-being of our country's workforce.

The Employee Free Choice Act is true labor law reform that will protect the rights of workers and strengthen their ability to join a union and negotiate a first contract. Enacting this legislation is a top priority of Senator Obama -- he even co-sponsored the legislation in the Senate. Seventy percent of Americans would join a union if given a fair chance to do so -- a level playing field. The Employee Free Choice Act does just that. It gives workers the opportunity to join together and form a union without employer intimidation, threats or retaliation. Together with Senator Obama and a pro-worker, pro-cloture Senate, we will win EFCA for America's workers.

Keeping our roads safe, not recklessly rushing to allow unsafe Mexican trucks to roll across our highways, is a priority of the Teamsters Union and Senator Obama. Senator Obama understands that Mexico has to meet its end of the bargain under NAFTA and that the U.S. Department of Transportation must meet Congressional mandates before trucks from Mexico will be allowed on U.S. highways. We will continue to work together to see that trucks entering our country are safe and that drivers meet the same requirements U.S. drivers are required to meet. We will fight to ensure that the traveling public is not needlessly endangered by dangerous trucks and Mexican drivers overworked and mistreated by their employers.

The misclassification of employees is a subject that Sen. Obama is well aware of and he has pledged to continue to work with us to halt this illegal categorization by companies such as FedEx Ground/Home Delivery. The misclassification of workers hurts workers and the economy. Not only are workers robbed of opportunities and benefits they would otherwise be entitled to, state and federal governments are robbed of tax revenue that would help working families and communities. For example, the IRS recently found FedEx has misclassified workers and ordered the company to pay $319 million for 2002 -- just one year. Last year, Senator Obama introduced legislation to combat this illegal practice and we will work together to hold companies accountable for their actions.

Senator Obama also understands that America needs fair trade policies that will create a level playing field with our trading partners. He understands that the corporate race to the bottom has had a devastating impact on our economy and our communities. Senator Obama also understands that the trade policies of the Bush administration have done nothing to raise the standards of workers globally. We will work together to achieve a better balance -- to keep good jobs in America and to raise wages, establish benefits and improve working conditions for workers abroad.

He understands what real people are going through. He will fight for an improved health care system, retirement security and good jobs. He will join us in our commitment to rebuild our nation's transportation infrastructure and will make appointments that make sense -- people who will protect workers. In his administration, Senator Obama will ensure our toys and food are safe, that the Environmental Protection Agency actually protects the environment, enforce worker safety laws and wage and hour laws.

The good that will come from an Obama presidency is limitless -- especially when looking at the destruction of the Bush years.

The Teamsters Union has been very fortunate during this election season as every candidate has been a friend of working families. Unlike recent elections, much of the debate has centered on the challenges working-class Americans face and the solutions to those challenges.

It is a debate worth having and it is a battle that requires the resources of our entire nation.

Let's join together and change the direction of our great nation. Let's choose the alternate path. Let's elect Barack Obama!