AFGE Local 2809 President, John Walton, Jr., reports that his local has endorsed HR 676, national single payer legislation sponsored by Congressman John Conyers.  The local represents approximately 500 members who work at the Social Security Direct Data Operations Center in Wilkes Barre, PA.  The members handle national 800 calls from across the country and seek to resolve issues and answer questions for the public and others.  A recent hiring freeze caused some delays in the processing of forms related to Part D Prescription benefits.

Iris Rakowski, Night Shift Chief Steward, and Martin Vasquez, Sergeant at Arms for the local spoke with Unions for Single Payer.  They report that the membership has seen health care premiums rise and indicated that even a modest increase can create hardship.  They note that in spite of the misconception that government workers make a lot of money, their members make $35,000 to $50,000 on average.

As health care premiums have risen, some workers have had to downgrade their health plan from standard to basic.  That move increases the co-pays charged when the worker seeks care.  And there are deductibles.

The workers choose from a wide variety of plans so there are many different kinds of coverage.  Some workers are in narrow networks and have had to travel more than an hour to Allentown or Bethlehem to be able to see the appropriate in network specialist.

HR 676 was brought to their attention when Dr. Andy Coates, Past President of Physicians for a National Health Program, addressed the Greater Wilkes Barre Central Labor Council earlier this year.  “He provided us with a lot of good information that we weren’t aware of,” said Vasquez.  “We are for everybody.  Our motto is fair and equitable.  We think everyone should be treated with respect–not as a dollar sign.”  So they took a stand for HR 676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All.

The local joined with other unions in a rally on Saturday May 13, 2017 at Kirby Park in Wilkes Barre from 10 AM to 4 PM.  Labor is united in fighting back against efforts to take away prevailing wage laws, to impose “right to work for less” legislation and other efforts to destroy union rights and to eliminate due process.  The local is working to defeat the anti-worker Hice Act on the national level in addition to supporting HR 676.

 

Issued by:

Kay Tillow

All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care–HR 676
c/o Nurses Professional Organization (NPO)
1169 Eastern Parkway, Suite 2218
Louisville, KY 40217
(502) 636 1551

Email: nursenpo@aol.com
http://unionsforsinglepayer.org
https://www.facebook.com/unionsforsinglepayer

HR 676 would institute a single payer health care system by expanding a
greatly improved Medicare to everyone residing in the U. S. Patients will
choose their own physicians and hospitals.

HR 676 would cover every person for all necessary medical care including
prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and
preventive care, emergency services, dental (including oral surgery,
periodontics, endodontics), mental health, home health, physical therapy,
rehabilitation (including for substance abuse), vision care and correction,
hearing services including hearing aids, chiropractic, durable medical
equipment, palliative care, podiatric care, and long term care.

HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 676 would save hundreds of
billions annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the
private health insurance industry.

HR 676 has been endorsed by 630 union organizations including 152 Central
Labor Councils/Area Labor Federations and 44 state AFL-CIO’s (KY, PA, CT,
OH, DE, ND, WA, SC, WY, VT, FL, WI, WV, SD, NC, MO, MN, ME, AR, MD-DC, TX,
IA, AZ, TN, OR, GA, OK, KS, CO, IN, AL, CA, AK, MI, MT, NE, NJ, NY, NV, MA,
RI, NH, ID).

The list of union endorsers.
The sample endorsement resolution.

06/08/2017


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