Pennsylvania’s largest healthcare union endorses City Councilmember Ce-Ce Gerlach for Allentown Mayor, citing her commitment to organized labor, economic justice, and support of frontline caregivers
ALLENTOWN, PA — SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania announced their endorsement of Allentown City Councilmember Ce-Ce Gerlach for Allentown Mayor. The endorsement from Pennsylvania’s largest and fastest-growing union of healthcare workers comes as Gerlach’s campaign continues to gain traction ahead of the May 18 election. Gerlach, running in the democratic primary, is running on a bold platform focused on economic parity, affordable housing, and investment in working class neighborhoods in Pennsylvania’s third largest city. SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is proud to support a candidate committed to tackling structural racism in workplaces, in schools, and in housing. Working towards a more just society that benefits working people, they say, is critical in promoting the health and well-being of the communities their members serve.
“COVID has brought to light what many working people already knew: the system doesn’t work for us,” said Louise Santee, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania member and nursing home worker. “Ce-Ce Gerlach gives me hope. Her experience as a public official, passion for mental health, tackling the wealth gap and homelessness in this city, and her fierce support of healthcare workers are all reasons she should be the next Mayor of Allentown.”
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, which represents about 45,000 working people throughout the state, continues to be a leader in demanding progressive policies that center racial justice. The union and their members view advocating for their communities as a vital part of their work as healthcare professionals. This includes electing public officials who align with their values. Gerlach, a longtime advocate for working people in Allentown, has a proven track record of fighting for strong, healthy communities during her 10 years of serving as a public official. In addition to her sweeping economic justice platform to decrease the city’s wealth gap, Gerlach plans to establish a labor table and recently joined union caregivers in their demand to reform the state’s outdated nursing home regulations.
“Ce-Ce Gerlach shows up, she’s always shown up for working people,” said Rachael Herczeg, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania member and nursing home worker. “As a caregiver, it meant a lot to me when she joined us in the street demanding better regulations for our residents. As a union member, it means a lot to me that she’s creating a labor table so we can have a voice where decisions are made. Working people in Allentown deserve a mayor who’s on our side. We deserve Ce-Ce Gerlach.”
SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania members say they’ll kick off their voter contact efforts, including canvassing and phone banking Allentown voters, at Gerlach’s campaign office opening next week. Gerlach’s campaign has seen a groundswell of support, including endorsements from Working Families Party, Lehigh Valley Stands Up, Lehigh Valley for All, and Democracy for America. She is also refusing to take campaign donations from developers and her goals include implementing a community benefits ordinance and an equitable growth model of economic development.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the people closest to the pain need to be closest to the power,” says Gerlach. “That’s exactly why I have a diverse team of folks informing my policy — from economic justice, to LGBTQ rights, to reimagining community safety. I have always and will continue to be accountable to the people of Allentown. I’m proud to be endorsed by the members of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania. Together we’ll transform Allentown into a city where everyone can thrive.”