HPAE President Debbie White, RN, has been elected as a vice president of the union’s parent organization, the American Federation of Teachers. She won the election in a count of AFT 2020 mail-in ballots that were concluded on Tuesday.
“This is an important honor not only for me but for all our healthcare workers and other members who have sacrificed and risked so much at this moment in our history,” White said of being elected. “This position will allow us to continue the important work ahead of us empowering our members to not only continue to persevere on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic but to continue to build our union and lead in the fight for safer, quality and more equitable health care in our communities.”
White added that she is honored to be “joining our national union in elevating the voice of working people.” She will fill the role once occupied by HPAE’s retired president Ann Twomey, RN, on the AFT National Executive Council.
Twomey said she was thrilled when White replaced her as HPAE president, adding that she is well suited for the role of helping run the national union’s Health Care Division.
“Debbie will bring to the national table a real voice for health care,” Twomey said. “She is a very strong practitioner, an excellent nurse, a strong local president before assuming leadership of our union and she is smart, a good negotiator and a great speaker.”
Randi Weingarten was also re-elected as AFT President.
“It is a great honor to continue to lead this union,” Weingarten said, “and I thank the membership and the delegates for electing this team of exceptional leaders: the 43 vice presidents that you saw who were elected and the Executive Vice President Evelyn DeJesus and the Secretary-Treasurer Fedrick Ingram.”
“On behalf of HPAE, we congratulate our president, Debbie White, on her winning the AFT’s vice president position,” HPAE First Vice-President Barbara Rosen said. “She has earned this much deserved position. We are sure Debbie is going to represent health care professionals and front line workers to ensure their safety and ability to provide quality patient care at this very critical time and beyond. We wish her great success as she begins her work as AFT VP.”
AFTNJ President Donna M. Chiera, who has also been elected as one of the national union’s vice president, said health care and education are two of the most pressing issues facing our communities.
“HPAE and AFTNJ have been working together in our state to address these issues,” Chiera said. “Now, as a Jersey team on the AFT executive board, Debbie and I will be able to raise the voices of the professionals we represent to the national level.”
White spoke of the challenge of HPAE members delivering health care during a global pandemic as well as national upheaval over social justice.
“We need to meet this moment by making sure that we do our parts in reducing the racial and ethnic inequities that the pandemic has exposed. That is my goal at our union and on the National Executive Council, to help bring about meaningful changes to begin to help us repair some of the injustices in society that we are seeing,” White said.
Fore more information, contact: Michael Allen, (646) 436-7556