OAKLAND, Calif. – National Nurses United, the nation’s largest organization of nurses, on Monday endorsed U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders for president.
“Bernie has a proven track record of uncompromised activism and advocacy for working people and a message that resonates with nurses and tens of thousands of people across the country,” said RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of the organization. “We are proud to stand with him in his candidacy for president,” she added in remarks before delivering Sanders his first national labor union endorsement.
Flanked by nurses in red scrubs at the union’s Bay Area headquarters, Sanders thanked the 185,000-strong labor organization for providing high-quality health care to Americans. “I am humbled and enormously appreciative of you support,” Sanders said.
He called nurses “the backbone of our health care system” and added, “I want to thank each of you for the work that you do.”
Sanders has worked for years with the California-based national nurses’ group to strengthen Medicare, address the nation’s nursing shortage and ensure collective-bargaining rights and decent wages and benefits. He praised the critical role National Nurses United has played in improving the health care system, working to prevent medical errors and reducing costs.
He also welcomed the nurses’ backing for Medicare-for-all legislation that he will soon introduce to provide better care for more people at less cost. “The time has come for us to end the international embarrassment of the United States being the only major country on earth that does not guarantee health care to all people as a right.”
A leading champion for health care reform, the union also stresses social and economic justice issues as a key part of its mission.
The nurses’ union leader praised Sanders’ proposals to address income and wealth inequality. He has called, for example, for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour and for pay equity for women.
Sanders also stands out, added DeMoro, for his outspoken opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The proposed trade deal among 12 Pacific Rim nations, she noted, includes a handout to pharmaceutical giants that would further drive up prescription drug prices.
And she cited the union’s push for a Wall Street transactions tax, legislation he introduced to put a small fee on speculators and hedge funds to finance Sanders’ proposal for tuition-free public colleges and universities.
National Nurses United represents nurses from coast-to-coast and in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada, three states that play a critical early role in the nominating process.
To read Sanders’ full prepared statement, click here.
Filed under: Conferences and Events, Economy, Health Care, Politics Tagged: | Associated Press, Chris Kelly, Contra Costa Times, Hillary Clinton, Los Angeles, Mayor of San Francisco, San Francisco Bay Area, Scooter Braun, United States Secretary of State