WASHINGTON — After a rigorous, months-long member engagement process, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) today endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, calling her a leader who will stand up for the working people building a movement to secure a better future for their families.
“Hillary Clinton has proven she will fight, deliver and win for working families,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry. “SEIU members and working families across America are part of a growing movement to build a better future for their families, and Hillary Clinton will support and stand with them. This movement for economic, racial, immigrant and social justice is poised to turn out to vote in November with their families and communities and keep pushing elected officials to deliver once in office.”
“We are endorsing Hillary Clinton because she will stand up for working people like me when she’s in the White House, not the rich and powerful,” said Regina Sutton, a home care worker and member of SEIU Local 2015 in California.
SEIU’s member engagement included a 1,200-member conference in March, three national tele-town hall meetings in which more than 178,000 members participated, three national member polls from the fall of 2014 through the fall of 2015, more than 200 local executive board debates and discussions with thousands of local union officers and elected member leaders and local union member discussions representing 1.2 million SEIU members, which included leadership assemblies, live phone calls, worksite meetings, emails and text messages.
Hillary Clinton will fight to raise wages and has stood up for the rights of workers to join together in a union. She has spoken out in support of the Fight for $15 movement: on the movement’s April 15 national day of action, during the New York wage board fight that resulted in $15 for all fast food workers in the state, for the $15 victories in Los Angeles city and county and again just last week, on Nov. 10, during the biggest day of action yet.
“As cleaners, we roll up our sleeves every day and get the job done without complaint. When Hillary Clinton is president, she will do the same. She will fight tirelessly for working families. I like that she is not running to prove a point, she is running to make our country better,” said Pam Johnston, a cleaner, member of 32BJ SEIU in Pittsburgh and executive board member.
Once elected, Hillary Clinton will have the opportunity to address the epidemic of low wages and poor training standards for our nation’s airport workers, who keep travelers safe and airports clean. “Airport jobs should be good jobs — and together, we can make sure they are,” she wrote to airport workers gathered at a national convention last month in Washington.
Clinton has recognized the value of care work in our nation, particularly the home care providers and child care teachers who help educate our future generations and allow our seniors and those with disabilities to live with dignity at home. In many places, these workers earn poverty wages with no sick or vacation time and few if any benefits. “One of the things I’m trying to do in this campaign is put raising wages at the center,” Clinton said at an August roundtable meeting in Los Angeles with SEIU home care providers. “I think your skills deserve a lot more pay and benefits than what’s currently being made available to you.”
“Hillary Clinton understands that child care teachers need living wages and that the care has to be affordable for people,” said Marites McLean, a child care provider and member of SEIU Local 509 in Massachusetts. “She gets it and she’s going to do something about it.”
Clinton is also a leader on the core issues SEIU members care about in this election, including fighting for commonsense immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship, standing up for voting rights andthat prioritizes ending mass incarceration and supporting and strengthening the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Clinton’s commitment to quality, affordable healthcare goes back decades to her courageous efforts in 1994 to ensure coverage for all. SEIU members know she will fight hard to strengthen the ACA so we never go backward.
“I’m very excited about our endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president,” said Ann Byrne, a member of SEIU Local 199 and nurse at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics. “I’m going to caucus for her, door-knock for her and phone bank for her. As a nurse for 26 years, I know that Hillary Clinton will defend and strengthen the Affordable Care Act so our patients get the care they need.”
SEIU’s 2 million members will join hands with community partners in a broad movement for economic, social, immigrant and racial justice. Along with the 64 million people who work at jobs paying poverty-level wages, they will be a powerful force during the 2016 elections. SEIU members will use their strength at the grassroots and community levels to support the candidates who will stand with them. Hundreds of thousands of face-to-face and door-to-door contacts, millions of phone calls, robust digital engagement and other activities to get out the vote will counteract the efforts of billionaires and corporations to elect leaders who would answer only to the wealthy few.