A union that represents retail and wholesale workers on Thursday endorsed Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's bid for re-election more than a year before she faces voters. 

The union, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, represents about 45,000 New York state residents in the retail, grocery, pharmacy, food service, food processing, cannabis, warehousing, nursing homes, nonprofits and agriculture industries. 

"RWDSU is proud to endorse Sen. Gillibrand, who has been a tireless fighter for working families throughout her entire career," said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. "From working to create America's first national paid family and medical leave program, to passing historic workplace reforms to her relentless advocacy for expanding labor protections and strengthening the right to organize, Senator Gillibrand demonstrates what it means to be a champion for working people. We are excited to support her campaign and to work together for years to come."

Gillibrand is yet to draw a formal Republican challenger. Republican former Rep. Lee Zeldin, who ran for governor last year, has not ruled out a bid for the seat. 

Gillibrand was first appointed to the post in 2009 for the seat that had been held by Hillary Clinton. Gillibrand won a special election in 2010 and a full term outright in 2012. 

"I am honored to have the endorsement of RWDSU, a strong and unrelenting voice for working people," Gillibrand said. "RWDSU has always been at the forefront of the fight for better wages, safer working conditions, and workers' rights., and has used their strength and unity to make progressive change. I'm excited to work together to deliver victories for Democrats up and down the ballot in 2024 and beyond."