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SEIU: SEIU Members and Kids to Congress: Money for Healthcare, Not War!

September 19, 2007
2:05 PM

CONTACT: Service Employees International Union
Michelle Ringuette

SEIU Members and Kids to Congress: Money for Healthcare, Not War!
Children Deliver One Million SCHIP Petitions in Red Wagons to Members of Congress

WASHINGTON - September 19 - SEIU members and their children overtook the Senate Swamp today with purple t-shirts and red wagons to deliver an urgent message to the White House and Congress: fund children’s healthcare, not the war in Iraq.

The rally was part of a broader lobby day where SEIU Healthcare workers and other members met with their congressional representatives on a range of issues including nurse staffing, SCHIP funding, fair pay for homecare workers, and the war in Iraq.

Speaking at the event, SEIU Healthcare Chair Dennis Rivera explained, “We’re speaking out for the children we take care of. The sad reality is that kids who don’t have health insurance are far more likely to get sidetracked—right at the beginning of their lives—because their families can’t afford quality care. We’re here to change that.”

With the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) set to expire at the end of this month and 9 million children’s access to healthcare hanging in the balance, more than 1,000 SEIU members from around the country came out to the event. Children pushed, pulled, and dragged one million signed petitions in red wagons and large purple sacks to the elected officials present. The event is part of SEIU’s Member Political Action Conference (MPAC) being held here this week.

Also speaking at the rally in support of SCHIP were Byron Hobbs, President of SEIU Healthcare Local 20 in Chicago with presidents of SEIU Healthcare Illinois locals Keith Kelleher and Hal Ruddick, SEIU Executive Vice President Mary Kay Henry, Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack, and National Council of Churches President Michael Livingston.

The Care for Kids petition drive was co-sponsored by, True Majority, USAction, Families USA, Coalition on Human Needs, Campaign for America’s Future, Change America Now, Americans United for Change, and the National Education Association.

With 1.9 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in North America. Focused on uniting workers in three sectors to improve their lives and the services they provide, SEIU is the largest health care union, including hospitals, nursing homes, and home care; the largest property services union, including building cleaning and security; and the second largest public employee union.


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