OAKLAND, Calif. – National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union of registered nurses, has endorsed President Obama and Vice President Biden for re-election.

But the late-September statement by the 185,000-member union’s board was as notable for what it didn’t say as for what it did.

That’s because NNU concentrated on blasting the GOP and its ticket of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan for wrecking Medicare, wanting to privatize Social Security and promoting inequality, while not mentioning Obama’s achievements.

NNU was angry when Obama, in the struggle over his health care law, did not back universal government-run single-payer health care, abolishing the insurers, their high co-pays, rising premiums and denial of care. NNU and the Steelworkers led the 21-union charge for single payer health insurance.

Instead, NNU cited the “most hostile platform to workers by a major political party in decades,” adopted by the GOP, and the Romney-Ryan agenda “that would further aggravate economic inequality and a downward spiral for workers and their families.”

NNU has also promoted a small stock transfer tax, to both raise money to close the federal deficit and to penalize the financial finaglers whose machinations drove the U.S. into the current great recession. The tax would also trim the Wall Street speculation.

The union said it would step up its campaigns for economic equity, the speculation tax and universal health care regardless of who won in November.

“Nurses have a fundamentally different view of a civil society than the one expressed by Romney” at the GOPer’s Florida fundraiser, said Ross. “We believe quality healthcare, decent housing, and proper nutrition are basic rights for everyone. Mocking people who are helped by a caring nation as ‘victims’ and unwilling to have ‘responsibility’ for their lives is antithetical to what we should be about as a people.

“Nurses care for the 47% – as well as the other 53%. It’s disgraceful that many of the 47% Romney targeted are seniors and veterans. As a nation, we are better than that,” Ross said. But the entire country must “demand Washington stand up to Wall Street and the 1% whose actions have inflicted so much suffering in Main Street communities.”


Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of Press Associates Inc. (PAI), a union news service in Washington, D.C. that he has headed since 1999. Previously, he worked as Washington correspondent for the Ottaway News Service, as Port Jervis bureau chief for the Middletown, NY Times Herald Record, and as a researcher and writer for Congressional Quarterly. Mark obtained his BA in public policy from the University of Chicago and worked as the University of Chicago correspondent for the Chicago Daily News.