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Jails Union Throws Support Behind Barack Obama; Bricklayers Go for Hillary Clinton

The International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers endorsed Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton on Monday, saying she has the best chance to win the presidential election.

"Hillary Clinton has the strength and experience to deliver the change America needs," union president John J. Flynn said. "After years of an administration that has turned its back on working families, we need a president whose priorities are our priorities."

Flynn said the union's executive council voted unanimously to endorse Clinton and that the New York senator was the clear winner in a poll of their members.

Clinton said that she was honored to get the endorsement.

"In my administration, America's working families will again have a partner in the White House," she said.

Founded in 1865, the bricklayers say they are the oldest continuous union in North America and that they represent about 100,000 skilled masonry-trowel tradescraft workers.

This is Clinton's fifth union endorsement, the largest number of any presidential candidate so far.

Meanwhile, one of the largest municipal jail unions in the country said Monday that it will endorse Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois for president. The endorsement would be Obama's first from a union.

"Barack Obama is the one candidate who will put an end to the divisiveness in this country so that we can finally achieve greater economic prosperity for the working class and health care coverage for all Americans," said Norman Seabrook, the president of New York City's Correction Officers' Benevolent Association.

The group has about 9,000 active members.

Obama said in the same statement that he looked forward to working with the union as he continued to build his campaign for president.

"It's an honor to have the endorsement of these men and women who put themselves at risk everyday to serve on the front lines of our nation's criminal justice system," he said.

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A glance at union endorsements in the presidential race

Major labor endorsements made early in the 2004 and 2008 Democratic presidential primary:

2008 Democratic Presidential Primary:

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York:

— United Transportation Union. Endorsed in August 2007.

— International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Endorsed in August 2007.

— Transportation Communication Union. Endorsed in September 2007.

— National Association of Letter Carriers. Endorsed in September 2007.

— International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers. Endorsed in September 2007.

Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut:

— International Association of Fire Fighters. Endorsed in August 2007.

John Edwards:

— United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. Endorsed in August 2007.

— United Steelworkers of America. Endorsed in September 2007.

— United Mine Workers of America. Endorsed in September 2007.

— Transport Workers Union. Endorsed in September 2007.

Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois

— Correction Officers' Benevolent Association. Endorsed in September 2007.

2004 Democratic Presidential Primary:

Rep. Dick Gephardt of Missouri (Dropped out of Democratic primary race in 2004, endorsed Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.)

— International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Endorsed in July 2003.

— Teamsters. Endorsed in August 2003.

— United Steelworkers of America. Endorsed in August 2003.

— Laborers International Union of North America. Endorsed in September 2003.

— Ironworkers Union. Endorsed in April 2003.

— United Food and Commercial Workers. Endorsed in Oct. 2003

Howard Dean (Dropped out of Democratic primary race in 2004, endorsed Kerry)

— Service Employees International Union. Endorsed in November 2003.

— American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Endorsed in November 2003.

— International Union of Painters and Allied Trades. Endorsed in Oct. 2003.

Kerry (Won Democratic primary endorsement, lost to President Bush in 2004)

— International Association of Fire Fighters. Endorsed in September 2003.

— Utility Workers Union of America. Endorsed in October 2003.