Citing support for frontline healthcare workers during the coronavirus pandemic, the state’s largest nurses and healthcare workers union has endorsed Gov. Phil Murphy for re-election.
“From the early days of the COVID pandemic Gov. Murphy listened and responded to the science,” said Debbie White, the president of the Healthcare Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE) union. “He rapidly worked to develop a distribution plan for the PPE that would protect our frontline workers and made sure we were the first group to be vaccinated because he knew that healthcare workers were most exposed and at risk of contracting COVID.”
White said that Murphy “consistently brought labor to the table in times of crisis to work collaboratively” during the public health crisis and saluted him for “placing public health and safety above all else.”
Murphy appeared at an endorsement event with White and union members virtually on Thursday.
“These are the women and men who had our backs during the toughest days of the pandemic and displayed incredible courage under unimaginable pressure,” he said. Together, we’re making strides toward a health care system that is more equitable, accessible, and affordable.”
One union leader, HPAE Local 5112 President Priscilla Surles, told the governor that he earned their support for a second term because he had the backs of frontline healthcare workers.
“There were times when healthcare facilities ran short of personal protective equipment and when the governor found out, he made sure we all had the necessary PPE, COVID testing and common sense measures to keep patients, nurses and aides safe,” Surles said.
The first nurse in the state to receive the COVID-19 vaccination, Maritza Beniquez, touted Murphy’s leadership.
“Especially in the worst days of the pandemic, it was like having a champion in our corner,” said Beniquez.