FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For Thursday, July 12, 2012, Noon EST
1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
On heels of vote to uphold Affordable Care Act, Neal receives major boost with backing of 1199SEIU
Having grown rapidly in recent years to more than 14,000 members in the 1st District alone, the nod from the healthcare workers union is now the most coveted labor endorsement for many candidates seeking office. 1199SEIU is the most politically active union in the state, backing up its endorsements with significant grassroots clout and credibility through its member-driven canvass operations and voter outreach.
Comprised locally of home care, nursing home, and hospital workers from Springfield to North Adams, 1199SEIU members say their backing of Neal comes in part due to his steadfast track record of advocacy to protect and promote key federal programs as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, as well as legislation such as the Affordable Care Act and the DREAM Act – all of which have been subject to recent GOP attacks.
Neal also played an instrumental role in obtaining a number of federal healthcare funding waivers which were instrumental in creating jobs in Western Mass. and maintaining health services in the region. Neal has been a major ally of 1199SEIU home care workers in the Springfield area, having joined them at rallies to protect Medicare and Medicaid funding for jobs and home care services.
Neal has also spoken out for fair wages and benefits for the 1199SEIU home care workers, many of whom are personal care attendants providing care to thousands of area seniors and people with disabilities.
“I’m excited to help get out the vote for Congressman Neal,” said Springfield home care worker and 1199SEIU member Emily Rodriguez, “He understands the issues that matter to our community and families. He has stood side by side with 1199SEIU members in our struggles to protect Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security from Republican attacks.”
In the Northern portion of the district, Neal met recently with 1199SEIU members from North Adams Regional Hospital (courtesy photo attached) who have joined their fellow union members in backing the Congressman.
“1199SEIU members at our hospital were very impressed by Congressman Neal, his personal story, and all the work he has done to create jobs and secure healthcare funding,” said Mike O’Brien, a respiratory therapist and 1199SEIU Chapter Chair at North Adams Regional Hospital. “Speaking as a frontline healthcare worker, I think voters in the Berkshires are really fortunate to have Richard Neal’s name on our ballots this year.”
Congressman Neal thanked union members for their support, issuing the following statement after being informed of the healthcare workers’ decision:
"Thank you to the members of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East for once again endorsing my campaign for reelection. For many years, 1199SEIU and I have partnered to bring affordable and accessible health care to all Americans and we are energized by the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding the landmark Affordable Care Act and Congress’ decision to support this vital piece of legislation.
In addition, our work partnering on preserving and protecting Medicare and Social Security, as well as securing Medicaid waivers for local hospitals, has resulted in thousands of jobs from Greater Springfield to Berkshire County. Understanding that Republican assaults on core Democratic principles are jeopardizing the future of Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid, I look forward to working with 1199SEIU members as we speak directly to voters about what is at stake in November."
Neal was also endorsed by SEIU Community Action, an affiliate member group of the Service Employees International Union, which boasts more than 5,000 members amongst its ranks in the Springfield area. SEIU Community Action is a new grassroots coalition that helps unite both union and non-union workers around shared community priorities such as housing, education, public safety, and jobs.
Pictured in courtesy photo left to right: State Representative Gailanne Cariddi, 1199SEIU Executive Vice President Veronica Turner, 1199SEIU members Lisa Pisano, Mike O’Brien, Debbie Poplaski, Congressman Richard Neal, 1199SEIU members Cindy Deblois, Cindy Bird, and North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright.
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