Health Professionals and Allied Employees/AFT/AFL-CIO
110 Kinderkamack Road
Emerson, NJ 07630
For Immediate Release: February 26, 2014 Contact: Jeanne Otersen 201-262-5005
NJ’s Largest Health Care Union Announces Support for Ras Baraka in Newark Mayoral Race
NJ’s largest health care union – the Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE) – today announced their support for Ras Baraka for Newark Mayor. Among HPAE’s 12,000 members are more than 2000 nurses, medical researchers and other health professionals working at University Hospital and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS) in Newark.
“As health care undergoes rapid change, and for-profit companies aggressively seek to buy non-profit hospitals, we need a real leader who will always stand up with community residents and health care workers to protect access to quality and affordable health care,” said Ann Twomey, president of the state-wide HPAE, in explaining the endorsement for Baraka.
HPAE sent questionnaires to and requested interviews with Newark Mayoral candidates. In his meeting with an HPAE a committee of nurses and health professionals, Baraka pledged to:
· Advocate and support state financing for University Hospital to maintain its mission, services and staff;
· Oppose privatization and protect services and staff under any privatization plan;
· Support non-profit hospitals, community clinics and focus on preventive health services for the community.
At the committee interview, Mr. Baraka signed HPAE’s petition calling on the NJ Department of Health to establish safe nurse staffing levels at all hospitals, and to strengthen and enforce laws to assure patient safety.
Alethea Hardin, a regulatory compliance facilitator in the Dept. of Surgery at the NJ Medical School, who was among the local HPAE members screening candidates. “Ras Baraka has worked hard and done impressive work for the City of Newark. He is a thoughtful, compassionate leader on many issues, especially violence and education. He believes in working with the community to ensure that the best decisions are made for the city,” said Hardin.
“I welcome the support of New Jersey’s largest health care union. The health care workers at University Hospital are a vital part of the broad-based movement that we are building to transform Newark. They have my support in the battle for quality affordable health care,” said Baraka in response to the endorsement.