Put another union endorsement in the column for Gubernatorial candidate and State Senator Barbara Buono in her bid to unseat incumbent Governor Chris Christie. On March 20, 2013, the State Executive Council of New Jersey’s largest health care union, the Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE), endorsed Buono.
It was expected that the unions would back Buono as Christie as had his differences with unions during the past 3 years, but has not allowed their numbers to dissuade him from doing what he felt needed to be done. There are those who feel Christie’s hardcore stance with unions has been a long time coming and of course the unions themselves who feel threatened and are using the ballot box to get even. It will be quite interesting to see how this one play’s out. Even so, Buono’s endorsements of late have been racking up and will have an impact on the race. Whether or not those numbers will be enough to chip away at Christie’s popularity and abnormally high poll numbers remains to be seen.
I expect the gap to close as the election draws near, after all this is New Jersey and popularity in politics changes like the weather.
The latest endorsement came at the meeting attended by more than three dozen representatives from HPAE locals at hospitals, nursing homes, home care facilities, blood banks and universities.
“Every day, nurses and health professionals are by the side of our patient and speaking up to protect access to quality care for our communities,” said Ann Twomey, president of the 12,000 member health care union. “We need the leadership of elected officials like Senator Barbara Buono to make sure that patients come first and that we also protect the mission of our community hospitals in the midst of major changes in the healthcare industry.”
Buono responded to the endorsement, “I am honored to receive this endorsement from the hardworking members of the Health Professionals and Allied Employees union. The HPAE takes care of us when we are at our most vulnerable and that is why we need to take care of them. As governor, I will work with the HPAE to ensure that our healthcare system is safe for our workers while providing quality care.”