Reprinted from The Nation
National Nurses United, an activist union with a history of bold political moves and issue-focused campaigning, has endorsed Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination. This is the first endorsement from a major union for Sanders, who has worked closely with NNU on a number of issues over the years.
"Bernie's issues align with nurses from top to bottom," said NNU executive director RoseAnn DeMoro, who ticked off issues of agreement: "insisting that healthcare for everyone is a right not a privilege, protecting Social Security and Medicare from those who want to destroy or privatize it and working to expand both, holding Wall Street accountable for the damage it has done to our communities, understanding the threat to public health from the climate crisis, environmental degradation, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, support for minimum nurse-to-patient ratios for hospital patients, and on and on."
Sanders echoed the sentiment, explaining that, "Like NNU, I have argued for a very long time that we have to move toward a Medicare for all, single-payer system. The United States is the only major country on earth that doesn't guarantee health care to all people as a right and that's an issue that must be addressed if we are going to begin to address a whole range of other challenges."
NNU, which represents 185,000 nurses nationwide, is the first national union to endorse Sanders' insurgent challenge to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton. The AFL-CIO has not endorsed in the Democratic race and most unions have followed the lead of the federation. But the 1.6-million American Federation of Teachers, which has a strong presence in New York and which worked closely with Clinton when she was a senator representing that state, endorsed the front-runner in July, with union president Randi Weingarten declaring that, "Hillary Clinton, a product of public schools herself, believes in the promise of public education."