Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Bernie Sanders Wins the Endorsement of Nation’s Largest Nurses Union

Bernie Sanders may eventually get flattened like a proverbial pancake by the Hillary Clinton juggernaut, but for the time being at least, he’s not only drawing increasingly large and enthusiastic crowds to his rallies, it was announced August 10 that he has landed his first major labor endorsement, being embraced by the 185,000 member NNU (National Nurses United).

Founded in 2009, and led by its charismatic executive director Rose Ann DeMoro, the AFL-CIO affiliated NNU is regarded as one of the country’s most progressive and visionary unions. Throwing in with the equally progressive and visionary Vermont senator seems like a marriage made in Heaven.

Not only does the endorsement give Sanders the impetus he needs at this stage in the campaign, but declaring this early puts the spotlight squarely on the NNU. Everyone is paying attention. Indeed, in the coming months, union endorsements, big and small, will become so plentiful, you’ll need a score sheet to keep track.

Of course, given the presumed cozy relationship between organized labor and the Democratic Party, learning that a Democrat (even a “dark horse” candidate like Sanders) has received an endorsement from a union isn’t exactly breaking news. But the NNU isn’t your “typical” labor union.

While its membership (185,000) is a fraction the size of the Teamsters or SEIU, credibility-wise and innovation-wise and talent-wise, it is regarded as a “comer.” As far as the labor movement goes, who knows? This modest NNU endorsement could grow legs and give Bernie Sanders some much needed momentum.

But let’s not get carried away here. Once Hillary Clinton shifts into high gear and begins accepting suitors, Sanders will have to brace himself for onslaught, because Clinton is expected to extract blood oaths from organized labor’s royal family—big-time unions from both federations, the AFL-CIO and Change to Win.

Still, one can expect lots of surprises when it comes to labor endorsements. Just because you’re a big, bad union, doesn’t mean you carry the commensurate electoral muscle. To make a dent in an election you not only need lots of members, you also need them to agree with your endorsement and to be willing to vote.

In 1980, and again in 1984, the Teamsters shocked everyone by endorsing the Republican Ronald Reagan, a move that outraged the House of Labor and freaked out much of the old-time Teamster membership. Granted, there were reports of backroom political intrigue involved, stories of Teamster President Jackie Presser being an FBI fink, but in the end, the Teamster endorsement of a Republican confused the issue more than settled it.

Being relatively newly formed, what the NNU seems to have in its favor is a healthy, infectious sense of optimism and solidarity. Alas, that’s not always the case with unions. In 1988, you saw “Bush-Quayle ‘88” bumper stickers on cars in the parking lots of UAW auto plants, even though the United Auto Workers had officially endorsed Michael Dukakis.

Speaking of 1988, it was Dick Gephardt who won the Iowa Caucus that year, having been proudly viewed as “labor’s candidate.” When 2004 rolled around, he had once again lined up an impressive number of labor endorsements, including the Longshoremen, PACE, Steelworkers, Machinists, along with a dozen other big-name national unions. It was an impressive roster.

Despite the endorsements, Gephardt nonetheless finished in a distant fourth place in Iowa, behind John Kerry, John Edwards and Howard Dean. He managed to beat only Dennis Kucinich and Wesley Clark. A day later, Gephardt withdrew from the primary.

But the NNU’s endorsement is big news. Given the union’s progressive reputation and its willingness to lead the charge early, this could prove to be a big deal for Sanders. Just look back to the humble beginnings of Barack Obama’s run for president. It’s all about momentum.

More articles by:

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is How To Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows.  He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
Ralph Nader
Unmasking Phony Values Campaigns by the Corporatists
Victor Grossman
A Big Rally and a Bavarian Vote
James Bovard
Groped at the Airport: Congress Must End TSA’s Sexual Assaults on Women
Jeff Roby
Florida After Hurricane Michael: the Sad State of the Unheeded Planner
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Bradley Kaye
The Policy of Policing
Wim Laven
The Catholic Church Fails Sexual Abuse Victims
Kevin Cashman
One Year After Hurricane Maria: Employment in Puerto Rico is Down by 26,000
Dr. Hakim Young
Nonviolent Afghans Bring a Breath of Fresh Air
Karl Grossman
Irving Like vs. Big Nuke
Dan Corjescu
The New Politics of Climate Change
John Carter
The Plight of the Pyrenees: the Abandoned Guard Dogs of the West
Ted Rall
Brett Kavanaugh and the Politics of Emotion-Shaming
Graham Peebles
Sharing is Key to a New Economic and Democratic Order
Ed Rampell
The Advocates
Louis Proyect
The Education Business
David Yearsley
Shock-and-Awe Inside Oracle Arena
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail