Union Members Recommit to Winning Improved and Expanded Medicare for All

National Labor Strategy Conference Sees “Single Payer” Solution as Best Way to Control Costs and Improve Quality of Care

Karen Lewis, President Chicago Teachers Union

Karen Lewis, President Chicago Teachers Union

Chicago, IL – More than two hundred union leaders and activists gathered in Chicago January 11-13 for the Labor Campaign for Single Payer Health Care’s fourth national conference to strategize about next steps for labor in the movement to win universal health care. With government officials from both major parties contemplating cuts in Medicare as part of a “grand bargain,” delegates resolved to stand up to any cuts in this cornerstone social insurance program.

Conferees were welcomed and inspired by Karen Lewis, president of the Chicago Teachers Union, who shared lessons of her union’s recent successful strike. Lewis drew important parallels between the struggles for quality public education and quality universal health care.

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The economic crisis and the assault on unions and working people

by Duane Campbell

Duane Campbell

The nation and the states continue to suffer from the Great Recession and working people remain in crisis.  The crisis was caused by the greed and avarice of the financial class and aided by the politicians of both major political parties.   The  major banks and corporations looted the economy creating an international meltdown.  Now, they have been rewarded with bail out money and have returned to high profits.  The crisis was not caused by students, teachers, public employees  nor recipients of social security.     The  continuing economic decline has had a devastating impact on state budgets in  at least  42 states.   Revenues have continued to plunge and  legislatures  have been forced to make a series of deep cuts to virtually all of the state’s programs, health care, police protection, education and university systems.

The national unemployment rate edged down in February to 8.9 %, but remained high in many states and regions.  In California it is over 12.5%.  According to the Labor Center at U.C. Berkeley, the Black unemployment rate is 15.3 % and the Latino unemployment rate hovers around 11.6% in February.   These sustained high levels of unemployment and long term unemployment are devastating to families.

The corporate class is using the state budget crises to assault union workers in Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania, Colorado  among others.  They do not need this assault in Texas, Arizona, Utah,  Virginia, and much of the South where public workers are already restricted from bargaining.

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Maine AFL-CIO Calls for Labor Summit to Win Single Payer

SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 22:  Supporters of s...
Image by Getty Images via Daylife

by Matt Schlobohm and Charlie Urquhart

On Friday October 23, 2009 the delegates at the Maine AFL-CIO’s 27th Biennial Convention unanimously passed a resolution calling on the AFL-CIO to convene, after the current healthcare reform process in Congress concludes, a democratic strategic planning process to develop a long term strategy to win Single Payer national health insurance.

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Pittsburgh Premiere of New Michael Moore Film

by Paul Garver

More than a thousand supporters of single-payer healthcare rallied at the AFL-CIO Convention in Pittsburgh, and marched along with filmmaker Michael Moore to promote the single-payer cause and attend the American premiere of Michael’s new film CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY.

Pittsburgh media reported 1400 marchers in all. About half of these were AFL-CIO Convention delegates and guests, and the other half local Pittsuburgh activists. Sponsoring unions included among others the Steelworkers (USWA), the California Nurses’ Association (CNA/NNOC), the ILWU, IFPTE and Calif. School Employees Association (CSEA). The large turnout from the Convention guarantees the passage of the resolution supporting Single-Payer as a long-term goal for the AFL-CIO (while the resolution supporting the incremental Obama position will pass as well!).

Now to the film. The first message: GO SEE THE FILM WHEN IT OPENS ON OCTOBER 2 ACROSS THE COUNTRY. OR IF YOU ARE UNEMPLOYED YOU MAY BE ABLE TO SEE THE FILM AN EVENING EARLIER WHEN IT OPENS IN SEVERAL HARD-HIT AMERICAN CITIES.
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Unions for Single Payer Health Care: Video

Pass HR 676! Make health care a human right!

Workers, our families and our unions are waging a difficult struggle to win or to keep good health care coverage.

There is a better way.  Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) has introduced HR 676, national single payer legislation.

The single-payer financing in HR 676 saves the money to improve coverage for all of us as we expand care to those who have been left out. The bill restores free choice of physicians to patients.
HR 676 would cover every person in the U. S. for all necessary medical care including prescription drugs and dental. Continue reading

Trumka on Single Payer: Netroots Nation

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  August 16, 2009.

In a speech to the annual
 Netroots Nation Convention, Trumka, AFL-CIO current  Secretary-Treasurer,
 said, “My preference, and the feeling of  many in the labor movement, is
 that we should have a single payer health care system.”  He urged grass roots activism to pass a health reform bill.

Netroots Nation 
is the largest assembly of progressive bloggers and web
 journalists.  Trumka will return to Pittsburgh in mid September for the AFL-CIO
 Convention where he is expected to be elected President. Trumka’s remarks can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnNolT275Yw

The convention will be covered on Talking Union.

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HR 676 Resolutions submitted to AFL-CIO Convention

Unions for Single Payer

From South Carolina to Alaska and California to Vermont over 40 labor organizations have sent in resolutions calling on the AFL-CIO Convention to endorse HR 676, single payer healthcare legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).

The AFL-CIO convention will meet in Pittsburgh September 13-17th.  The deadline for resolutions to be received is August 14.
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