The nation’s largest union of registered nurses announced Tuesday that it will formally endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, for president at an event in Oakland on Friday.
The endorsement by the National Nurses United isn’t a surprise because the group, which has more than 150,000 members across the nation, also endorsed Sanders when he ran for president in 2016.
The union’s leaders said they are endorsing Sanders because his platform closely aligns with nurses’ values on a host of issues, including rebuilding America’s labor movement to restore workers’ rights and implementing Medicare for All, which would provide comprehensive health care to everyone without out-of-pocket expenses.
National Nurses United President Jean Ross, an R.N. from Minnesota, said in a statement:
“For nurses, our solidarity is a matter of life or death for our patients.”
“We need a president who makes it easier for us to stand together and hold our employers accountable for putting people above profits. Bernie Sanders is leading all the candidates on labor, with his Workplace Democracy Act and as a co-sponsor of the Protecting the Right to Organize Act.”
Nurses also say they are backing Sanders based on his longtime work with the union to pass legislation dedicated to protecting nurses and patients, including his support for federal safe nurse-to-patient staffing ratios, federal health care workplace violence protections and support for a strong Veterans Health Administration.
NNU Executive Director Bonnie Castillo said:
“We are so proud that together in 2016 Bernie Sanders and NNU elevated Medicare for All to the national mainstream, where it has advanced to be a top 2020 presidential race issue.”
“Nurses are beyond tired of watching our patients suffer and die needlessly, simply due to inability to pay, and we know Bernie Sanders is, and has been, leading on Medicare for All through his advocacy and Senate legislation.”
The endorsement will officially take place at a news conference located at the NNU’s office at 155 Grand Ave. in Oakland at 1:30 p.m. on Friday.
The NNU was created in the 2009 merger of three smaller unions, including the California Nurses Association.