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Elizabeth Warren backs nurses on ballot question

 Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren accepts a pin from a group representing nurses at the Greater Boston Labor Council's Annual Labor Day Breakfast.
Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren accepts a pin from a group representing nurses at the Greater Boston Labor Council's Annual Labor Day Breakfast. (GLOBE PHOTO/JESSICA RINALDI)

The labor union promoting a ballot question to increase nurse staffing at Massachusetts hospitals now has the endorsement of US Senator Elizabeth Warren.

“Nurses work hard to take care of all of us when it matters the most, and we should do the same for them by establishing standards to ensure they have the help they need to do their job safely,” Warren, a Democrat running for re-election, said in a statement Tuesday.

The Massachusetts Nurses Association is promoting ballot Question 1, which would set limits on the number of patients assigned to hospital nurses at one time.

“Senator Warren has been a longstanding advocate for nurses and her voice is a powerful addition to the scores of elected officials and advocates who have championed ‘Yes on 1,’” union president Donna Kelly-Williams said in a statement.

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Union representatives said their ballot question also has the support of Congressmen Jim McGovern, Stephen Lynch, and Joe Kennedy III, as well as nominees for Congress Ayanna Pressley and Lori Trahan. All are Democrats.

Hospitals oppose the ballot question and are waging a campaign to try to defeat it. Hospital leaders argue the measure is too rigid and costly and warn that they would have to close important patient services if the question passes.

The state Health Policy Commission is studying the potential costs of the ballot measure and plans to release findings next week.


Priyanka Dayal McCluskey can be reached at priyanka.mccluskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @priyanka_dayal.