(CNN) - One of the nation's largest labor unions gave an early endorsement to Pres. Barack Obama Wednesday, using lingo from the Occupy movement to describe the incumbent president as standing with the 99%, rather than millionaires and corporations in the 1%.
"As Americans we face stark choice," Service Employees International Union president Mary Kay Henry said Wednesday. "Do we want leaders who side with rich corporations, the 1% who are prospering, or leaders who side with us, the 99 percent?"
The SEIU, which represents 2.1 million workers in a wide swath of American service industries, has long endorsed Democrats in political races. The union endorsed Obama in February 2008, when he was still locked in competition with fellow candidate Hillary Clinton.
With no Democratic primary this cycle, the union's endorsement of Obama was all but assured. Henry did note the group was endorsing Obama early in the cycle to make their intentions clear.
"The early endorsement is to make crystal clear what kind of country we want and that we think President Barack Obama is the leader that will help make that a reality in this country," Henry said.
Henry said the Occupy movement, which opposes the unequal distribution of wealth in America, provided a strong ally for the SEIU in its endorsement.
"This is about our members being united in the belief that things are broken in this country, and we need to come together in numbers to help fix it," Henry said. "That means joining forces with students, neighbors, the unemployed, and working people in the encampments. This is an act of solidarity with the 99% movement."
But in an interview, Occupy DC spokesman Sam Jewler denied any alignment with the union.
"We certainly have not endorsed President Obama or any other politicians," Jewler told CNN during an interview Wednesday at an impromptu tent city a few blocks from the White House.
He said from his perspective, "the whole system has problems, so there's no single politician who's able to fix the money and politics, the growing wealth disparity. None of them can answer to that, because all of them are taking money from the corporations and the wealthy."
Jewler acknowledged SEIU has provided support for OccupyDC, such as allowing demonstrators to use showers in the union's Washington office building, but that there was no implied endorsement of SEIU's use of the group's rally wording.
"Any time they use the rhetoric of 99% or the Occupy Movement, that's entirely on them. It has nothing to do with anything we're saying to them," Jewler said.
"We're having a lot of influence on the national conversation, so a lot of people are going to be using that language. Personally, I think that the more it gets out, the better," while adding, "I certainly don't like to see it co-opted and used for disingenuous purposes."
Henry said her organization would help the president's re-election bid by mobilizing members to volunteer and providing education materials about the economy. According to CNN national exit polls from the 2008 election, 61% of voters who said they were in a union voted for Obama.
In a statement, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said the endorsement from SEIU was a step toward creating American jobs.
"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," Messina's statement read. "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."