In the midst of a pandemic that has claimed nearly one million American lives – more than one third of which have been linked to a lack of health insurance – Senantor Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and fourteen other Senators introduced the Medicare for All Act of 2022 on May 12. The bill will guarantee health care to everyone in the United States as a fundamental human right.
UE Political Action Updates
We condemn unequivocally the draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe v. Wade that was leaked on May 2. It is an indefensible attack on the right of women and pregnant people to control their own bodies, one of the most fundamental of liberties. Furthermore, the leaked draft opinion, which overturns a half century of settled law, signals that this unelected group of six right-wing justices sees none of our rights as untouchable.
In a letter sent to UE locals at the beginning of the month, UE’s national officers encouraged all UE locals to mobilize for the June 18 Moral March on Washington to demand that elected officials meet the needs of the working class. The march will be led by Rev. Dr. William Barber II, a longtime ally who has spoken at UE conventions and supported the work of UE locals.
UE Local 610, which represents workers at Wabtec’s production facilities in Wilmerding and Greensburg, has endorsed UE ally Summer Lee’s campaign for Congress. “We know that Summer stands not only for the people but with the people, and we know the power of the people is greater than the people in power,” said Local 610 President Antwon Gibson. “For that reason, UE Local 610 endorses Summer Lee for Congress.in the 12th District.”
Inflation has become a big issue for many working people, with two thirds of respondents in a recent poll identifying it as a major concern for them personally. Of particular concern is the fact that inflation is especially high for the daily essentials for working people, with increases in the cost of gasoline, utilities, transportation, and meat, poultry and fish all well above the overall inflation rate. However, the corporate press largely ignores the role of corporate profits and price-gouging in driving inflation, and the main solution offered — raising interest rates — would be a disaster for working people.
Last Thursday, in a unanimous vote, the executive board of UE’s Eastern Region voted to endorse State Representative Summer Lee’s bid to become the first Black woman elected to Congress from the state of Pennsylvania. Earlier that day, the membership of UE Local 667 also voted to endorse Lee. “She has been a stalwart supporter of labor, and particularly UE and our principles,” Eastern Region President George Waksmunski told the UE NEWS. “She's just what we need … She's going to support us on every issue that is near and dear to our hearts.”
UE has long supported a Medicare for All, single-payer plan to provide healthcare to all. The need to fix our broken healthcare system has become even more critical as the pandemic has further laid bare the weakness of the employer-based system.
The 2022 Medicare for All Strategy Conference will be held from April 2-3, virtually. This will be an important place to meet with other labor and healthcare activists to strategize how to win this fight. This year’s conference will be held online, making it accessible to any UE member who wishes to attend.
UE’s Eastern Region has endorsed the NY Health Act, legislation to provide health care to every New Yorker through a public, Medicare-for-All style system. The legislation is “everything we’ve been asking for,” Region President George Waksmunski told the UE NEWS. “No co-pays, deductibles, premiums, network restrictions or out-of-pocket maxes, and you won't lose your house or your life savings if you have to go into a nursing home.”
CalCare — a bill that would create a universal, Medicare for All system for the state of California — passed the Assembly Appropriations Committee last week. This is the second major hurdle for AB 1400, and now the bill officially moves to the full Assembly floor for a vote! RSVP now to join a Statewide Virtual Rally this Monday, January 24, at 6pm PT to go over what’s next and get organized before the full Assembly vote.
This weekend, our nation will celebrate the life and achievements of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. One of his most important achievements — voting rights for all people — is being undermined by voter suppression, gerrymandering, and Supreme Court decisions.
Dr. King’s family, along with faith leaders, civil rights leaders, labor leaders, and voting rights advocates across the country, have issued a call to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. this year with ACTION, by demanding passage of voting rights legislation and access to the ballot box.