Boston DSA to honor health care workers for justice

Boston DSA

We hope you can join us in honoring Professor, author, and health care reformer Rashi Fein, along with the winners of an inspiring union election at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Brighton, by attending this year’s Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Awards. Sponsored by the Boston chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, the awards reception will take place Tuesday, June 30, 6:30—8:30 P.M., at the historic home of Marcia Peters and David Karaus, 56 Perkins Street, Jamaica Plain.

Last April , after a long campaign, 73% of the employees of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital—respiratory therapists, surgical and x-ray technicians, clerks, nursing assistants, housekeepers and dietary workers—voted to join Local 1199 of SEIU, the state’s largest union of health care workers. This was the largest union win at a Boston area hospital in decades, and gave a giant boost to ongoing efforts to organize all Boston area workers. Accepting the award on behalf of the St. Elizabeth’s victory will be Sonia Marshall, patient care assistant and key organizer of the campaign.

After serving in the Navy during WW2, Rashi Fein has spent much of the following decades thinking and writing about health care reform. He served on the Truman Commission on the Health Care Needs of the Nation, which supported national health insurance and regionalization of health care delivery—in 1952! He was later a senior staff member of President Kennedy’s Council of Economic Advisors, where he helped develop the initial legislation for Medicare, a model he favors for the health care crisis today. Professor Fein has also served on the Board of the Committee for National Health Insurance under the leadership of former UAW President Doug Fraser and under Walter Reuther on a Board investigating malnutrition in the United States. He is a charter member of the Institute of Medicine, has received numerous honors for service to that field, and sits on a number of not-for-profit health care institutions. In his spare time Rashi has written nine books, the latest of which, Lessons Learned: Medicine, Economics and Public Policy, will be published in November.

The Debs-Thomas-Bernstein Awards have been held annually since 1977 to honor deserving activists and to raise funds to support the work of Boston DSA. Gene Debs, Norman Thomas and Julius Bernstein were democratic socialist leaders of the last century who embody the struggles and values of the political tradition DSA seeks to carry on today. Previous awardees include Frank Manning, founder of Mass Senior Action, Bob Haynes, President of the MA AFL-CIO, and State Senator Patricia Jehlen.

Although honoring Rashi Fein and the dedicated organizers of 1199 would be worthwhile at any time, it is especially timely now. Our increasingly dysfunctional employer based health care system is once again up for Congressional debate, and hospital workers are winning historic victories here and elsewhere. We look forward to celebrating with you on June 30!

For more information on prices, spon-sorships, and program book ads see page 4, or visit

One Response

  1. Thanks for the reminder.

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