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
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
Peter Crowley
Outsourcing Still Affects Us: This and AI Worker Displacement Need Not be Inevitable
Alycee Lane
Trump’s Federal Government Shutdown and Unpaid Dishwashers
Martha Rosenberg
New Questions About Ritual Slaughter as Belgium Bans the Practice
Wim Laven
The Annual Whitewashing of Martin Luther King Jr.
Nicky Reid
Panarchy as Full Spectrum Intersectionality
Jill Richardson
Hollywood’s Fat Shaming is Getting Old
Nyla Ali Khan
A Woman’s Wide Sphere of Influence Within Folklore and Social Practices
Richard Klin
Dial Israel: Amos Oz, 1939-2018
David Rovics
Of Triggers and Bullets
David Yearsley
Bass on Top: the Genius of Paul Chambers
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail