1199SEIU, representing 16,000 healthcare families in New Jersey, announced its endorsement of Councilman Ras Baraka for Mayor of Newark on March 4. Over one thousand 1199SEIU nursing home workers live in Newark and are responsible for providing care to many of the city's most frail and vulnerable residents.
1199SEIU members interviewed Councilman Baraka at their union headquarters prior to making their decision. "We decided to endorse Ras because he's someone who has devoted his life to making Newark a better place to raise our families," said Damon Brown, an 1199SEIU member and recreation aide at New Vista Nursing and Rehabilitation Center who participated in the candidate screening process. "He's stood by our side as we've advocated for quality patient care and good jobs in our communities."
At an event held in Newark's East Ward, 1199ers joined Councilman Baraka and dozens of community supporters to formally announce their endorsement. Grace Alexander, a union delegate who works as a CNA at Morris Hills Center, came to show her support for the candidate who she says understands the plight of families like hers who are facing home foreclosure. A Newark homeowner, Grace has been fighting her bank's attempt to force her and her family out of the home she has lived in for over a decade. "It's important that we elect a mayor who will work to strengthen our neighborhoods and help families stay in their homes," she said. "That's why Ras Baraka gets my vote."
"For decades, 1199SEIU has been in the vanguard of fighting for social and economic justice," said Ras Baraka. "From the Civil Rights Movement to today's battles against extreme income inequality, working people have counted on this progressive union to challenge the status quo. We are building a broad-based movement to transform Newark and 1199SEIU is a leading part of our coalition."