Democratic Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders got the endorsement of the nation’s biggest union of nurses on Monday for the 2016 Elections.
U.S. Senator of Vermont, Bernie Sanders landed the endorsement during his momentum of gaining larger support among progressive Democrats. The National Nurses Union is the largest Union of nurses with 185,000 members, predominantly women and is the first national union overall to endorse Sanders at their conference this Monday at an event they called “Brunch with Bernie” in Oakland, California.
According to Reuters, RoseAnn DeMoro, the executive director of the organization said that Sanders is the perfect fit to get their support, due to his stances on issues like Social Security, healthcare and trade. She said “Bernie Sanders aligns completely with the nurses’ values.” Also, she praised Sanders for his uncompromised activism based on workers’ rights and his proven legislative record.
The Union has been polling its members three times to make sure that most have responded and according to DeMoro the support for Bernie Sanders was “overwhelming.” She also added that on the questionnaire sent to the Democratic candidates, Bernie “has scored perfectly.” A crucial point in making the decision proved the closed speeches of the candidates before the executive council of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations
Former Secretary of State and U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination got the endorsement of the largest teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers. Both the NNU and the AFT are part of the AFL-CIO, which declined to endorse any candidate for the 2016 Elections as a decision of the executive council.
This endorsement of Sanders can be seen as a setback for Clinton, since she has avoided taking a stronger stance on trade agreements, particularly the Trans-Pacific Partnership with Asian countries backed by President Barack Obama. While labor is a major source of funds and human resources during political campaigns and would do great work for Clinton in building a broad coalition among Democrat voters, she is avoiding to come out against the free trade agreement because she was a Secretary of State during Obama’s administration and had a huge part in strengthening relations with Asian countries.
According to Reuters, she answered a questionnaire by AFL-CIO in which she stated that the agreement has to be fruitful for U.S. national security, protect American workers and not be bad for U.S. jobs and wages. She wrote “My focus is on what is in the final trade agreement because that will directly impact the American people. The goal is greater prosperity and security for American people, not trade for trade’s sake.”
On the other hand, Sanders who describes himself as a socialist has tapped into a populist rhetoric and vowed to raise the federal minimum wage and free college education. Clinton has come out with similar agenda as Sanders and has outpaced him with a staggering 36 percentage points in national polls.
Vermont Senator Sanders has gained most of the support of progressive voters due to his willingness to change the system and direct it so that it works for every American.