The executive council of the largest union in New York, 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, officially made a series of endorsements in the September primaries and November general election for state legislators. They voted to support a list of candidates they feeel meet their needs and also announced their commitment to ensure that these candidates are elected.
Some of the endorsements include challengers Leroy Comrie, Tony Avella, Jeff Klein and Gustavo Rivera for New York state senator seats, incumbents Bill Perkins, Ruth Hassel-Thompson, Kevin Parker and Jose Peralta for the state Senate, Assembly seat challengers Kimberly Jean Pierre and Latoya Joyner and Assembly incumbents Vivian Cook, Barbara Clark and Keith Wright.While the strategic plan to help get out the vote for these candidates hasn’t been finalized yet, union representatives said that some of the plan would involve a mass mobilization of member volunteers, direct mail, phone banking, online organizing and social media, door-to-door contact, text messaging, telephone town-halls, one-on-one conversations and meetings.
“Just as the caregivers of 1199SEIU worked relentlessly to elect Mayor [Bill] de Blasio and help key congressional candidates win their primaries, we now are going to be putting the full force of our union into ensuring a strong Democratic majority in the Legislature,” said 1199SEIU President George Gresham. “We want to make sure the Senate and the Independent Democratic Conference can work effectively with Governor [Andrew] Cuomo, local leaders, the Assembly and other leaders to pass a full set of progressive legislation, including local living wage laws, the Dream Act, campaign finance reform and women’s rights.
Marilyn Green, a home attendant and 1199 member for 13 years, said that it’s important that her fellow members participate in the electoral process.
“Being a part of a politically engaged union is very important to me,” said Green in a statement provided to the AmNews. “It’s empowering to know that I am a part of an organization which maintains active and ongoing relationships with the elected officials who are writing the policies that impact my workplace. I’m looking forward to phone banking and knocking on doors in order to encourage my fellow members to vote for our endorsed candidates.”