Affordable Housing

Coveted healthcare workers endorsement brings minority clout and neighborhood mobilization strength to Walsh

October 3, 2013
Most politically active union in Boston will bring major boost to Walsh across the City



BOSTON – Healthcare workers who are members of the state’s largest private sector union have enthusiastically endorsed Representative Marty Walsh to be the next Mayor of Boston. Private sector hospital, nursing home, and homecare workers comprise the nearly 50,000 members of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East across the state, including nearly 6,000 healthcare workers living in Boston proper.

In Boston, 1199SEIU’s huge membership numbers are densely concentrated in the neighborhoods of Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan – areas that could prove critical to the final outcome of the general election. During recent election cycles in which they have endorsed candidates, 1199SEIU healthcare workers have proven to be the most effective voter mobilization force in the wards and precincts throughout Boston’s communities of color.

“Healthcare workers know Marty Walsh is the candidate who has best served and best understands the needs and aspirations of residents in all of Boston’s neighborhoods,” said 1199SEIU Executive Vice President Veronica Turner. “Marty has promoted important reforms and legislation that continue to create jobs and opportunities for women and minorities in Boston’s workforce. That is part of why healthcare workers are rallying behind Marty Walsh and his progressive, authentic vision for a stronger Boston.”

1199SEIU caregivers did not endorse in the mayoral primary, but have since rallied around Walsh as the candidate best qualified to lead Boston forward on a wide array of issues including healthcare access, education, public safety, municipal finances, jobs, and affordable housing. 1199SEIU caregivers will begin a major canvassing blitz promoting Walsh’s candidacy on Monday and will sustain a full-time canvass presence on the doors through Election Day talking to Boston voters about why Walsh is the best candidate for Boston’s working and middle class families.

The healthcare workers of 1199SEIU are employed at many of Boston’s key community and safety net hospitals, including Boston Medical Center, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, and Carney Hospital, along with other neighborhood health facilities and clinics such as Dorchester’s Harvard Street Health Center and the South Boston Community Health Center. 1199SEIU members also work at area nursing homes and as personal care attendants providing home care services to seniors and people with disabilities in every Boston neighborhood.

“Personally, I’m very encouraged by Marty’s track record on creating jobs for minority communities and his work protecting funding for services at Boston Medical Center,” said 1199SEIU member and Roxbury resident Jeanie Oliver, an Ambulatory Services Representative at Boston Medical Center who will join her co-workers in promoting Walsh’s candidacy. “The healthcare workers' endorsement has a special progressive meaning in Boston neighborhoods and we’re proud of that. We’re proud to be standing with Marty. The healthcare workers endorsement should not be underestimated or written off as a special interest because our neighbors and our patients know we’re looking out for them, too.”

“With 1199SEIU, we’re proud that people know our endorsement isn’t only about labor issues, because it’s also about choosing candidates who will be the best advocates for our communities – along with the seniors, people with disabilities, and patients in our care. We know Marty is that kind of advocate because he’s proven it,” said 1199SEIU member Kilra Hylton, a personal care attendant from Dorchester who will also join the pro-Walsh blitz slated to begin Monday.

Aside from being the most potent voter mobilization force in Boston’s ‘minority majority’ communities, many 1199SEIU members serve in leadership roles in a variety of religious, civic, and community organizations throughout the city’s neighborhoods.

"My parents came to America from Ireland with a great sense of hope and faith, and through difficult times their work ethic and determination created a better life for me and my brother," said Rep. Walsh. "The members of 1199SEIU epitomize the diverse and hardworking core of that American Dream. They go to work every day with the goal of helping people and giving their children a fighting chance. That is why I am running for Mayor, and that is why I am grateful for the support of these working men and women."

In announcing the endorsement, caregivers cited Walsh’s track record of helping to protect funding for many of the programs and facilities that are vital to the health of families and neighborhoods in Boston’s inner city, including his successful advocacy last year to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for ‘disproportionate share hospitals’ like Boston Medical Center.

Walsh created the Building Pathways program to promote jobs and opportunities for low-income women and people of color when he was head of the Boston Building Trades.

Additionally, caregivers praised Walsh’s long track record of legislative accomplishments and advocacy on education, public health, youth, and workforce development issues.

1199SEIU’s outreach campaign will not be limited to union members, but will reach beyond union ranks to voters across the city with a particular focus on wards and precincts that may have underperformed in voter turnout during the mayoral primary.

# # #

Representing more than 400,000 healthcare workers throughout Massachusetts, New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Florida, and Washington, D.C., 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East is the largest and fastest-growing healthcare union in America. Our mission is to achieve affordable, high quality healthcare for all.

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