By Alana Wise
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrat Hillary Clinton on Tuesday won the endorsement of the 500,000-member Laborers' International Union of North America, bolstering her lead for the party's nomination in the November 2016 presidential race.
“LIUNA members and leadership believe that Secretary Clinton is the right leader to move our country forward and the most qualified candidate to address the many challenges facing the United States,” the union, which represents construction workers and public service employees, said in a statement.
"LIUNA members are deeply concerned about the direction of our country and are looking for a real leader who will create good jobs, rebuild our country, and grow our economy," the Washington-based union said. "Secretary Clinton’s record proves that she is a tough and tested fighter for our nation and for working men and women."
The latest endorsement boosts the former U.S. secretary of state's hold on Democratic support over her closest rival, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has struggled to lock down major union support despite longstanding ties with the labor movement.
In a statement, Clinton said, “I am honored to have earned the endorsement of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, one of the fastest-growing and most diverse unions in the country.
"I have always stood with organized labor and working Americans, and I will stand with them and fight for them as president," she said. "Because when workers are strong, families are strong — and when families are strong, America is strong.”
Clinton has won the support of several key union organizations over the past several weeks, including the Service Employees International Union and the ironworkers' union.
Clinton holds 38 percent Democratic support - a nearly 10-percentage-point lead over Sanders - according to a Nov. 20 Reuters/Ipsos five-day rolling poll.
(Additional reporting by Luciana Lopez; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)