The 2015 Leadership Conference of the NUHW National Union of Healthcare Workers [200 elected rank-and-file leaders] voted 72% to endorse Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for president of the United States. Sanders’ message of reversing economic inequalities; his support for a single-payer health care system, Medicare for All; and his stance of holding HMOs like Kaiser Permanente accountable for failing to comply with mental health parity laws, resonated with NUHW members.
“As a democratic, member-led union, I am grateful for the support of the National Union of Healthcare Workers,” said Sanders. “With their support and the support of hundreds of thousands of union members across the country, we are building a political revolution that will transform American politics.”
“We’ve had a great relationship with Sen. Sanders for years,” said NUHW President Sal Rosselli. “He’s the real thing. He’s been standing up for working Americans for decades. But no president can go it alone; it will take a bottom-up, grassroots movement to change the direction of our country. NUHW is proud to be part of that movement.”
The vote was the culmination of a three-month, bottom-up, democratic process. The union’s Executive Board, consisting of elected rank-and-file members, sent questionnaires to every Republican and Democratic candidate. Union stewards reviewed the questionnaires and discussed the election at monthly steward council meetings at each NUHW-represented hospital, clinic, and nursing home, and discussed the candidates with their constituent members in each facility. And finally, on October 10, leaders from throughout the union gathered in Pasadena to cast their ballots.
Hillary Clinton garnered 17 percent of NUHW members’ vote in the Democratic column. Eighty-six percent voted not to endorse a Republican candidate.