Presidential candidate Barack Obama, during a speech to auto workers at the GM plant in Janesville, Wisc., Feb. 13, put forward his support for what amounts to a large chunk of labor’s program to re-vitalize the country.

He said as president he would invest $210 billion in job creation in construction and infrastructure projects.

The investment would be made over 10 years and as part of two programs. The larger of the two projects would use $150 billion to create 5 million “green collar” jobs to develop environmentally sound sources of energy. Sixty billion would go to a special bank whose job it would be to build and repair highways, bridges, airports and other public projects.

Obama said the second program could create an additional 2 million jobs, many of them in construction where jobs have been lost because of the mortgage crisis.

He said the funds for his proposed investments will come from ending the Iraq war, cutting tax breaks for corporations, taxing corporate polluters and raising taxes on the very rich.

His proposals were well received by workers at the Janesville plant and are expected to resonate well with union workers all over the country.

In the 48-hour period following the speech Obama received significant labor endorsements including the national endorsement of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW). The Teamsters, who are part of Change to Win, are expected to endorse him soon.

SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger said the endorsement of her union was made because “we can influence the race in the states remaining and push forward this process so there is a nominee and a united labor movement sooner rather than later.”

At a Feb. 6 legislative conference called by the United Auto Workers, Ron Gettelfinger, the union’s president, had already made it clear that for his union “the White House favorite will be a Democrat” and not Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). “We cannot live with him,” Gettelfinger said, “only George W. Bush is worse.”

Obama is heading into the Feb. 19 Wisconsin and Hawaii primaries as the front runner in those states and as the front runner for the nomination. His string of eight victories last week have put him ahead of rival Hillary Rodham Clinton in the delegate count, the popular vote and the number of states won.

Combining exit polls from 19 states that had Democratic primaries before the Feb. 12 “Potomac Primaries,” Clinton had a 49 to 46 percent edge over Obama with voters who named the economy as their number one concern.

The Obama campaign seems to have turned that around. In Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Maryland he won easily among the one half of voters who cited the economy as their chief concern and he carried the trade union vote. In both Virginia and Maryland six in 10 voters who said the economy was their chief concern voted for Obama.