Michigan Nurses Association is first union to endorse him
Nurse-leaders of the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA), the largest labor and professional organization representing registered nurses Michigan, today announced the union’s endorsement of Abdul El-Sayed for governor. MNA is the first union to endorse El-Sayed.
“The Michigan Nurses Association is proud to support Abdul because he is a leader on fixing our broken healthcare system, an advocate for working people, and a champion for reforming state government,” said John Armelagos, a registered nurse and President of the Michigan Nurses Association. “Among all candidates for governor, Abdul is the one who best embodies what nurses want and can be counted on to bring all Michigan residents together to move beyond the harmful status quo.”
MNA’s Board of Directors, made up of nurses elected by their fellow members from across the state, voted unanimously to endorse El-Sayed. Candidates who chose to participate in the MNA endorsement process went through a rigorous screening, including completing an extensive questionnaire and taking part in interviews with MNA nurses.
MNA’s reasons for endorsing El-Sayed include:
- As a physician with a public health background, Abdul understands firsthand how the corporate takeover of healthcare and attacks on organized labor hurt Michigan patients and communities. He supports expanded and improved Medicare for All (sometimes known as “single-payer”).
- Abdul is working to ensure that people, not corporations, run our government for the benefit of all.
- Abdul enthusiastically supports the Safe Patient Care Act, a legislative package that would require hospitals to ensure safe RN staffing levels, limit forced overtime for nurses, and disclose nursing information to the public.
Armelagos acknowledged that while MNA, like almost all organizations, including unions, has a politically diverse membership, he said it’s clear that nurses overwhelming support the values and vision that only El-Sayed represents among all gubernatorial candidates.
“Both as a nurse and an average voter, I went into this process expecting to support a different candidate for governor,” said MNA Vice President Jamie Brown, RN, who lives in Kalamazoo. “After hearing Abdul share his ideas and passion and seeing him in action, I have total confidence that he is the best person to lead our state and I am excited to join the many other working people who support him.”
MNA nurse-leaders said they had already been leaning toward endorsing El-Sayed, but became even more convinced when he distinguished himself by publicly expressing support for MNA members In the Upper Peninsula conducting a 48-hour-strike last month. The nurses took that action to shine a light on patient safety problems related to nurse understaffing at Duke LifePoint’s hospital in Marquette.
“Nurses were very impressed by the well-informed and sincere support that Abdul showed when he visited us in the U.P.,” said RN Carolyn Hietamaki of Gwinn, who worked at the Marquette hospital for years and is the Chair of the MNA PAC Board. “It’s clear through his actions, not just his words, that Abdul stands firmly with all nurses as we fight to put patients first, above corporate profits,” Hietamaki said. “Nurses need more leaders like him who show real support for union members and value unions as the way workers come together to advocate for ourselves and a better world for all.”