(CNN) - The Nevada chapter of the Service Employees International Union announced Wednesday that it is endorsing Sen. Barack Obama.
"It is clear from the overwhelming participation in the Iowa caucus and New Hampshire primary that Americans are ready for change," said Shauna Hamel, Executive Vice President of the union. "We believe that Obama is the candidate who can bring the country together and we are proud to support his candidacy."
The SEIU represents 1.9 million members in North America, all of whom in Nevada are health care and public service workers. In what was seen as a blow to John Edwards in October, the union announced it would not make a national endorsement, but rather allow the state unions to decide for themselves. Of the early primary states, Nevada's chapter has the most members with 17,500.
The Nevada chapter had whittled the field of candidates down to Obama, Edwards and Hillary Clinton but had delayed endorsement decisions amid rumors of dissent among union management.
Unions play a powerful role in Nevada politics and the SEIU endorsement will be a big boost for Obama. But all eyes Wednesday will be a on 2 p.m. ET press conference when Nevada's strongest union – the Culinary Union with its 60,000 members – will make their endorsement.
- CNN Nevada Producer Alexander Marquardt