SEIU Int’l News

SEIU members speak out after Senate clears the way for cuts to Medicare, Medicaid in favor of tax giveaways for the wealthy, corporations

WASHINGTON, DC – SEIU’s two million members reacted with outrage after GOP Senators voted today to pave the way for huge tax giveaways to millionaires and corporations at the expense of working families. The budget resolution sets up a process for Republicans to pass legislation that cuts taxes for the wealthy and corporations at the expense of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, education and programs that matter in the lives of working families.

“The cuts make me angry and sad because they will hurt so many people, including my own family, all just to give tax breaks to the wealthiest one percent,” said Josh Kunkle, a Pittsburgh security officer and 32BJ SEIU member. “My wife relies on Medicaid and my child relies on CHIP. They would be without health care if these cuts go through. God forbid if my child becomes ill, we wouldn’t have coverage.”

SEIU members are not giving up after this vote though, and have vowed to fight back every step of the way. “We beat them back when they tried to cut health insurance from millions of people and we won’t let it happen this time either, the health of our residents and our families is too important,” said Carlita Adamy, a Syracuse, NY nursing home worker and 1199SEIU member. “Maybe this time they will get the message.”

From coast to coast between now and November of 2018, SEIU members will be watching Congress closely and will hold those elected officials accountable who continue to support policies that further rig the system against working families.

Local 1991 Recognized at SEIU Convention

The recent SEIU convention in Detroit marked a milestone in the continued success of Local 1991, thanks in great measure to the hard work of our active members.

Local 1991 was well represented by board members Martha Baker, RN, Barbara Scollon, RN, Vicki Gonzalez, RN, Maggie Pena, BSW, Denise Glass, RN, Yolanda Tecson, RN, Carla Quigley, RN, pharmacist Sereda White, millennial member Dontrel Smith and staff.

President Baker was elected as an Executive Board member on SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry’s slate. The honor is a huge recognition of all the progress we have made together as a team.

In particular, MKH and the executive board were impressed with Local 1991’s success as the local with the highest percentage of membership in any right-to-work state in the country. They also noted the high level of participation of our members in political campaigns. We blew them away with our turnout for Hillary in the primary push. Finally, our local’s leadership role on the national Nurse Alliance was also lauded.

 

Resolutions adopted at Convention establish SEIU priorities

The member delegates who attended our 26th International Convention adopted a range of resolutions to guide SEIU in the coming years. (The following are capsule summaries; click through to the resolutions themselves for a fuller understanding of each. They are presented in the order of their resolution number.)

RESOLUTIONS FROM THE RESOLUTIONS COMMITTEE

  • Building a Wider Movement to Create a Just Society (Resolution 102A): We will build a wider movement for justice by—among other strategies—aligning resources and linking the fights for “economic, racial, immigrant and climate justice, women’s reproductive rights and equality for women, Native Americans and First Nations people, people with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” while continuing the fight on each issue.
  • Leadership to Build New Power for Working People (Resolution 105A): SEIU locals will create leadership development plans for all levels of leaders (with goals to include organizational equity and inclusion), track data in conjunction with the International Union, and identify and develop leaders under 35.
  • To Win Economic Justice for Working People, We Must Win Racial Justice: (Resolution 106A): SEIU will “establish an anchor and leadership oversight to prioritize, support, and drive the continued education and engagement process and implementation of ending anti‐Black and structural racism” and expand our work such that we engage not only on income inequality, but wealth inequality as well, and on criminal justice reform. We will develop partnerships to build power in Black communities.
  • Environmental Justice for Working People (Resolution 108A): We will “join the fight to make clean air and water a human right, for environmental justice in all communities, and to combat climate change” while demanding a “just transition for all workers and communities whose lives and livelihoods will be impacted” by reduced dependence on fossil fuels. We will support infrastructure investment to prevent the next Flint.
  • Transforming Government for Working Families (Resolution 110A): We will move to shape the political debate and hold elected officials accountable, pushing back on the “assault on the proper role of government” and demanding for a well-funded, effective public sector.
  • Transforming Capital to Win for Working People (Resolution 111A): We will challenge corporations and markets to “adopt democratic reforms, address structural racism and commit to long-term value creation,” expand our diverse group of member-leaders to lead our pension funds, and create a “council of economic advisors” who are equipped to evaluate and critique the current system and envision alternatives.
  • Retirement Security for All Working People (Resolution 112A): We will work with allies to develop a national program to strengthen Social Security and the Canada Pension Plan. We will fight for the inclusion in Social Security of working people who have historically been excluded.
  • Winning Economic and Social Justice for Puerto Rico (Resolution 114A): SEIU Puerto Rico will “create the necessary power needed to reclaim the economy,” calling on the U.S. government to “accept moral responsibility for restructuring Puerto Rico’s debt in a way that is fair to Puerto Ricans.” We call for the release from prison of Oscar Lopez Rivera.
  • Healthcare is a Human Right (Resolution 205A): SEIU will support, defend and promote the Affordable Care Act while joining with allies to advocate for a national single-payer healthcare system in the United States that recognizes healthcare as a human right with comprehensive benefits and a single standard of care.
  • Healthcare Justice for All (Resolution 224): We will fight to improve quality, access and affordability within the Affordable Care Act, engage healthcare members to be “active leaders on quality improvement,” fight for a more just long term care system, and develop unionwide health and safety member leaders in action.

RESOLUTIONS PROPOSED BY THE INTERNATIONAL EXECUTIVE BOARD

  • Immigrant Justice (Resolution 107): In the fight for commonsense immigration reform, SEIU will build momentum for federal legislation, drive policy victories at the state and local level, mobilize the Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI), African and Caribbean electorate, and build public support for reform.
  • National Retiree Program (Resolution 113): We will recommit ourselves to building a powerful SEIU Retiree program, providing an opportunity for retirees to remain active in the union “by developing a program that meets their needs and interests.” We will empower retirees to become a formidable electoral force.
  • AFSCME and SEIU: Unstoppable Unions that Never Quit (Resolution 115): AFSCME and SEIU will establish the common goals of innovating within labor, including innovating in collective bargaining; exploring new forms of worker organization; expanding organizing; and leading in the wider movement for social and economic justice. We will “deepen our collaboration and work more closely together at every level” by establishing “unity partnerships” and creating a joint committee to foster collaboration.
  • Equality For All Working People (Resolution 116): We will support efforts to ensure LGBTIQ individuals and families cannot be fired, denied governmental services or access to education, or be turned away from public accommodations in the United States or Canada, and we will develop a strategic plan to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
  • We Are Unstoppable: Our Program to Win for Working People (Resolution 117): SEIU will commit to three core strategies: creating the next forms of worker organization, building a wider movement around our common struggle for economic, racial, immigrant and environmental justice, and innovating in our union so we can use our collective strength to win for our families and communities. (This resolution summarizes the totality of activity at the Convention.)
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Fight for $15 on April 14

April 14 Miami Flyer - Eng & Span_Page_1

We keep on winning for working people.
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California and New York both recently made significant moves to raise wages to $15 an hour because SEIU members like you helped make it happen.
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In Miami-Dade last week, county commissioners overwhelmingly passed an amendment to the Living Wage Ordinance that increases wages to offset rising health care costs for thousands of county contracted employees who will now have access to affordable healthcare for the first time in 15 years.

4.14.16_Browardvigil_Page_1On Thursday, April 14, SEIU members and allies will support thousands of actions in cities across the country to raise awareness of the minimum wage issue.
There are several actions planned throughout the day in Miami-Dade and Broward counties.   There are strikes at local nursing homes, rallies, vigils and community forums.
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Whether you can visit a strike line on your way to/from work or post about it on your Facebook page, please help us elevate this national conversation about the value of work.
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Find the Facebook events here:
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Wins for Workers’ Rights But Tough Fights Ahead

Fightfor15It was a very good week for working people. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court sided against the wealthy special interests behind the Friedrichs v California Teachers Association case, which threatened to effectively restrict the rights of teachers, firefighters, police officers, nurses and other people who serve the public to band together in a union.

Why should you care? Because the power of unions is our strength in numbers. Individually, we don’t have much chance against managers or politicians who would take away our rights and reduce hard-won benefits. But together, here at Jackson and across the country, we stand up together and get much further than we could alone. Supreme Court decisions like this show why it really matters who gets into the White House.

More good news came out of California this week. Lawmakers and labor unions struck a tentative deal to raise the statewide minimum wage to $10.50 an hour next year and then gradually to $15, making California the first state to do so. This is the latest front in a national movement to raise the minimum wage and empower working people.

Members in the news: our members regularly get involved and speak out on a variety of issues. Sam Ruiz, RN, recently published an op-ed in the Sun-Sentinel on Hillary Clinton’s healthcare policies. Denise Glass, RN, penned an letter for the Miami Herald about why medical marijuana should be a health care decision, not a political one.

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California Becomes First State to Agree to $15 Minimum Wage

Three-and-a-half years after 200 fast-food workers walked off their jobs in New York City, sparking a national movement for $15/hr and union rights, the Fight for $15 won its biggest victory yet when Gov. Jerry Brown reached a deal with state legislators Monday to make California the first state to pass a $15/hr minimum wage.

“When workers in New York City started this movement in 2012, nobody gave them a shot and when we joined in in California a few months later, people said we had no chance. But today, more than 6 million Californians secured life-changing raises that will lift our families out of poverty,” said Guadalupe Salazar, a McDonald’s worker in Oakland and member of the National Organizing Committee of the Fight for $15. “And more victories are on the way across the country. Our movement has unstoppable momentum. When workers join together and speak out, real change results.”

The deal will raise pay for the more than 6.5 million Californians paid less than $15, representing increases for 43% of the state’s workforce. It comes as California celebrates the 100th anniversary of its state minimum wage, and will result in raises that haven’t been seen in generations. By 2020, workers will see what amounts to a 50% increase over the current minimum wage, the most rapid raise since the state minimum more than doubled to $.33 from $.16 from 1918 to 1920.

It comes months after fast-food workers across New York won $15/hr and as politicians across the country are racing to respond to workers’ demands for $15/hr. Last week, Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser unveiled a plan to raise pay to $15/hr by 2020, while New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in serious negotiations to raise New York’s minimum wage to $15, multiple outlets have reported. In New Jersey, Senate President Stephen Sweeney said he will put a $15/hr constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2017.

The Fight for $15 has built a growing awareness that $15/hr is the minimum wage level American workers in every part of the country need to survive and pay for the necessities to support their families. Cities including Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles have raised their minimum wage to $15/hr. And home care workers in Massachusetts and Oregon won $15/hr statewide minimum wages. Companies including Facebook, Aetna, Amalgamated Bank, and Nationwide Insurance have raised pay to $15/hr or higher; workers in nursing homes, public schools and hospitals have won $15/hr via collective bargaining; and fast-food workers have ratcheted up pressure on companies like McDonald’s to raise pay to $15/hr.

The Democratic Party adopted a $15/hr platform, the Democratic candidates for president have lined up in support of the workers in the Fight for $15, and elected leaders like Nancy Pelosi and Kristen Gillibrand back a $15/hr federal minimum wage. It’s a far cry from the situation when the Fight for $15 started—when discourse on the economy was limited to talk of debt and deficits and two lone Democrats in Congress (former Sen. Tom Harkin and former U.S. Rep. George Miller) were the only ones brave enough to even call for $10.10/hr.

Slate, among others, has credited the Fight for $15 with completely rewiring “how the public and politicians think about wages.” MSNBC said the Fight for $15, “entirely changed the politics of the country, and Fortune said the Fight for $15 “transformed labor organizing from a process often centered on nickel-and-dime negotiations with a single employer into a social justice movement that transcends industry and geographic boundaries.”

On Nov. 29, 2012, 200 New York City McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and KFC cooks and cashiers walked off their jobs, demanding $15/hr and union rights, in what the New York Times called, “the biggest wave of job actions in the history of the fast-food industry.” Few gave the workers a chance, but their calls for higher pay caught on and spread across the country. Within months, workers walked off their jobs in Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis and Milwaukee, sowing the seeds of a national movement that would eventually hit California on Aug. 29, 2013, when hundreds of Los Angeles fast-food workers walked off their jobs for the first time.

The Fight for $15 quickly spread throughout California, with strikes hitting cities like Oakland, Sacramento and San Diego before boomeranging back to Los Angeles with a bang in May 2015, when the City of Angels became the biggest city yet to pass a $15 minimum wage. Los Angeles County followed suit in September, with cities like Pasadena, Mountain View and Santa Monica also passing $15. Workers continued striking—cooks and cashiers in 50 California cities went on strike in November—and the unstoppable momentum led to a push to make $15 the statewide minimum wage, an effort that came to a historic conclusion Monday.

“The victory in California shows us that we need to keep on marching, keep on speaking out and keep on sticking together until we win $15 everywhere,” said Terrence Wise, a McDonald’s and Burger King worker in Kansas City, Mo. and member of the Fight for $15 National Organizing Committee. “If you work hard, you shouldn’t have to rely on the government to support your family—you should be paid enough to put a roof over your kids’ heads and food on their table.”

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SEIU 2015 in Review

Nov10_action1SEIU represents roughly two million workers across America. Times are tough for unions in general, but active members made the difference in 2015 in state after state.

2015 was a remarkable year when our movement made great progress on our journey to a just society, where all work is valued, and all people respected.

With your help, we have reached a milestone on our journey: $15 an hour has gone from a slogan to a benchmark.

The Wage Board in New York set a $15 minimum wage for fast-food employees all across the state. That will free up a billion dollars that can now be invested in the good jobs that New York needs.

  • We won $15 in Los Angeles—both the city and the county.
  • Home care providers won $15 in Massachusetts, Oregon and Washington.
  • Healthcare professionals won $15 at Swedish Medical Center in Washington.
  • Airport staff secured their $15 victory at Sea-Tac.
  • Nursing home employees in Connecticut and Massachusetts won $15.

Read more here.

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SEIU Leads on Social and Economic Justice

What is SEIU?

We are the Service Employees International Union, an organization of 2-million members united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide and dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society.

SEIU Healthcare, the healthcare arm of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), is the largest healthcare union in North America with more than 1.1 million members.

We are doctors and nurses, home care and nursing home workers; we are lab techs, environmental service workers and dietary aides. We are front-line healthcare workers who care for more than 60 million patients across 29 states and two countries. We are caregivers in hospitals, health centers, nursing homes, in-home care and in our communities.

Other branches of SEIU include janitors, security officers, maintenance and custodial workers, stadium and arena workers, window cleaners, and other workers who provide important services. We also have public service employees with more than 1 million local and state government workers, public school employees, bus drivers, and child care providers.

SEIU has used this network of people throughout the country to advocate for a variety of social and economic justice causes — including the Fight for $15 an hour, affordable healthcare and sensible immigration reform.

Want to know more? Click here.

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President Proposes Investments in America’s Working Families

WASHINGTON—Following the Jan. 20 State of the Union address by President Obama, SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry issued the following statement:

“Tonight we heard from a president who won’t back down when it comes to standing up for America’s working women and men. President Obama made a powerful case for an America that provides the support that all working families need and that keeps immigrant families together.

“Across the country, too many families work hard and still struggle to make ends meet. The president laid out key investments that will improve the lives of America’s working families.

“Raising wages will enable Americans to provide for their families and to spend more to get our economy moving.

“To thrive, working people need a fair wage, access to affordable healthcare and child care, fair scheduling so they can plan for their day-to-day family life, and the ability to earn paid leave in the event of illness. Families should have a fair shot to build a successful future through free community college, student debt relief, and investments in pre-K, primary and secondary education.

“And we echo the president’s sentiment: if you really want to make gains at your workplace, the way to do it is to join together and fight for it. If we truly want an America where families and our economy thrive, we must invest in our families and work to make them stronger.

“It’s time for the Republican leadership in Congress to put people ahead of politics by supporting these much-needed investments in America’s families, instead of focusing their time on driving families apart.”

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Immigration Reform Update

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SEIU Local 1991 members Omayra Hernandez, RN and Maggie Pena, BSW, lobby legislators in Washington, D.C. on immigration reform.

It’s been five months since the Senate passed its immigration reform bill, S. 744. Each day that the House of Representatives refuses to take up reform costs the country an estimated $37 million.

House Speaker John Boehner has said that House Republicans won’t agree to go to a conference committee with the Senate bill so that the two houses can work out their differences and in fact don’t intend to vote on immigration reform this year.

The Senate bill includes a 13-year pathway for 11.7 million illegal immigrants that ends with a chance to naturalize. But some House Republicans reject the Senate path as rewarding illegal immigrants.

Meanwhile, President Obama said that if the House won’t agree to an omnibus bill, he’s fine with them passing a series of smaller bills as long as the end result is the same.

It’s a tough spot, but all is not lost.

The overwhelming consensus of the public—including almost every major business, labor, and faith organization across the nation—is that the time for reform is now.

A growing number of Republicans say they remain ready to work on immigration and could consider legalization, if it did not involve any direct route to citizenship.

And two Republican members of the U.S. House have stepped forward as the first GOP co-sponsors of an immigration reform bill that would provide a path to citizenship.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) joined Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and 185 House Democrats are now backing the legislation. The bill is also supported by another local Congressman, Rep. Joe Garcia (D-Fla.).

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Omayra Hernandez, RN, has been active on the local and national levels in the fight for sensible immigration reform.

SEIU and our partners continue the drumbeat to pressure lawmakers to heed the public will and urge the House to bring a bill to a vote.

In fact, public opinion surveys show that Republican House members can begin to rebuild the damage to their popularity caused by the government shutdown if they vote for commonsense immigration reform.

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The Real Faces of Immigration Reform

Last Tuesday, a smart, bipartisan bill for comprehensive immigration reform moved ahead toward a full vote in the Senate — and that vote could happen in just a matter of weeks.

Unlike six years ago, anti-immigrant conservatives have so far been unable to derail reform.

If there was ever a time to get off the sidelines and immerse yourself in the debate, it’s now.

Hear from SEIU members from around the country as they share their personal stories about why they are building our movement for immigration reform.

Then get on the phone to tell your Senator you support commonsense immigration reform: http://action.seiu.org/calls4cir


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Fixing our broken system to reunite families

“My brother is able to acquire visas to visit countries such as Australia and New Zealand twice a year. It is beyond shocking to me that he is unable to get a visa to come here to the United States to visit his 90-year old mother. There should be a clear and fair process for reuniting our families.”

– Sylvia Fatima Aho, Washington state caregiver and SEIU Healthcare 775NW member.

Read Sylvia’s blog here.


A path to citizenship for 11 million

“In Haiti, I was fighting for my country to be like America. But when I got here, every day became a struggle to survive in this country of freedom and liberty. For me, it was nearly 10 years living in the shadows. For others, it’s been 30 or 40.”

– Davidson Dessois, Miami, FL taxi driver and security officer; member of SEIU 32BJ

Read Davidson’s blog here.

Davidson Dessois wants a path to citizenship

Pat Diaz, RN, on immigration reform

Why we must share our stories

“As a nurse, I see daily the unsafe living and work conditions that many people experience. And I see the wear and tear of those conditions weighing on people’s health. Turning a blind eye on aspiring citizens is not the solution. ”

– Pat Diaz, RN, member of 1199SEIU Florida.

Read Pat’s blog here.


Getting out the real facts about immigration

“My main goal is to inform my fellow union members about the facts and then dispel any misinformation they may have about immigrants. I tell people immigrants contribute $300 million every year to the state in sales and property taxes alone. That gets the attention of state employees, that’s for sure.”

– CJ Stephens, retired North Carolina state trooper and SEANC member.

Read CJ’s blog here.

CJ Stephens, a SEANC union member, dispels immigration myths

It's been more than 15 years since SEIU-UHWW member Victoria Marquez has seen her kids.

Keeping families together

“It’s been more than 15 years since I’ve seen my kids. I’m very proud they continue to studying and are fulfilling the dreams I had coming to this country, but at the same time, my heart is very broken because I haven’t been able to be with them.”

– Victoria Márquez, an LA janitor and SEIU USW-W member and organizer.

Read Victoria’s blog here.


Correcting a system that allows racism and discrimination to flourish

“Some people consider immigrants not even as second-class, probably even a third or fourth class. When you have an attitude of hate like that, it’s basically the same thing that I grew up with in Texas. Immigrants come in all colors and we are all looking basically for the same thing.”

– Roy Tyler, member of SEIU United Service Workers West

Read Roy’s blog here.

Roy Taylor

Now it’s time to make your voice heard. Really and truly, there is no bigger impact you can have during this momentous debate than to make phone calls to your member(s) of Congress. We make it easy for you – just click here to be connected with your Senator.

Be sure to tell him or her that you support commonsense immigration reform that includes a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million aspiring Americans. Make the call now.

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SEIU Members Take Action to Fight Cuts, Job-Killing Proposals

SEIU Members Take Action to Fight Cuts, Job-Killing Proposals

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania members want to make sure their members of Congress know that we cannot solve the ongoing debt ceiling debate through cut and gut economic policies only. Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid will cost jobs and hurt those who have helped support the programs. SEIU members visited the district offices of Representatives Tim Holden and Jason Altmire to make sure the message was delivered loud and clear.

“The proposed cuts of $500 billion to Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security will put the lives of our most vulnerable citizens at risk,” said Denise Cox, a worker at Friendship Ridge Nursing Home. “Seniors and working families did not create this crisis, but the government is planning to fix the problem on the backs of seniors and the working class.”

SEIU: Close Wealth Gaps with Good Jobs

In response to a newly released Pew Research Center report about the growing wealth gap for minorities, SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said that “communities of color, despite decades of gains, will likely face an imbalanced recovery because of economic disparities.”

The report shows that millions of African American and Latino workers are experiencing the largest wealth gap in 25 years. The median net worth for white families is 20 times the net worth of African Americans and 18 times the net worth of Hispanics.. “We need to take a stand to create good jobs that help rebuild the middle class and help workers provide a strong future for their children,” said Henry.

  • Click here to read the full statement.
  • Click here to read Wealth Gaps Rise to Record Highs Between Whites, Blacks, Hispanics.

Pelosi and other Democrats Rally Workers to Defend Workers

Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other congressional Democrats stood with workers today at a press conference calling out the right-wing’s state-by-state strategy to eliminate workers’ rights writ large and the GOP’s efforts to restrict the National Labor Relations Board’s authority.  “We will not stand idly by while workers’ rights are violated and the middle class is under attack,” said Pelosi in front of an array of workers.

The House is expected to vote this week on legislation that would place limits on the NLRB.

  • Click here to read more.

Ohio’s Middle Class Will Stand Up for the Affordable Care Act

Calling it an “amendment that will put the ability of all Ohioans to receive affordable and quality health coverage in jeopardy,” SEIU District 1199 President Becky Williams decried the proposed “health freedom amendment” in a statement released today. Under The Ohio Project’s guise of free choice, the amendment would, in effect, erode the progress made by the Affordable Care Act.

  • Click here to read the statement.
  • Click here to learn how the Affordable Care Act
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