June, 24 2009, 04:56pm EDT
For Immediate Release
Charles Idelson, 510-273-2246 or Tim
Charles Idelson, 510-273-2246 or Tim
Nurses, Progressive Dems Seek Stepped Up Action for Real, "Robust" Healthcare Reform
Single-Payer, Medicare for All, as Best Solution to Crisis
With action heating up in Washington for enactment of
comprehensive healthcare reform, the nation's largest RN union
and professional association joined with progressive Democratic
Party activists today in calling for the most "robust" reform of
all to repair the nation's healthcare crisis, by enacting a
single-payer system in the form of an expanded and updated
Medicare for all.
In a joint statement, the National Nurses Organizing
Committee/California Nurses Association and Progressive
Democrats of America announced they are stepping up calls and
other lobbying efforts to urge Congressional leaders to include
discussion of the single-payer option in upcoming deliberations
on the healthcare reform legislation now advancing in
As President Obama holds several public healthcare events,
major committees in Congress unveil legislation, and some
liberal constituency groups set to rally in Washington Thursday,
NNOC/CNA and PDA said that a single-payer/Medicare-for-all
approach is "the best way to achieve goals of universality,
effective cost controls, and improving the quality of care for
All other proposals, the groups said, suffer the same
- Leave the insurance industry, with its emphasis on
generating profits and revenues rather than providing care, in
control of our health.
- Fail to assure financial security of American families by
not cracking down on insurance pricing practices.
- Avoid the strongest cost controls that are achieved in a
single-payer system with one shared risk pool that covers
everyone, elimination of the administrative waste associated
with private insurers, and use of the power of the public entity
to negotiate lower costs.
- Does not protect choice of doctor, hospital, and other
providers, as occurs in a single-payer system, because insurers
can still limit choice to their own approved network of doctors
Even the public option favored by the President and leading
Democrats would not achieve these goals, said NNOC/CNA and PDA.
Private insurers would still be able to cherry pick healthier
patients through their aggressive marketing techniques, with
sicker patients likely being dumped into the public plan. The
result is the public plan would face higher costs and the
likelihood of having to cut or ration services to stay
PDA and NNOC/CNA are asking people to continue to call
Congress and the White House to insist that single-payer, and
the single-payer bills in Congress, HR 676 in the House and S
703 in the Senate, be given equal consideration in the
legislative review process this summer.
The two organizations have worked together since early last
year on a variety of healthcare projects, including pressing the
Democratic National Party to go on record in "support of
guaranteed healthcare for all" at the national convention in
Denver, campaigns on behalf of single-payer candidates across
the country in the fall, and rallies and forums in cities
throughout the U.S.
"The time is ripe for real reform. For our personal
well-being and for the sake of our great nation, now is the time
to institute a real healthcare system instead of tweaking the
patchwork of corporate non-care that now envelopes us," said
NNOC/CNA Co-President Geri Jenkins, RN.
Jenkins will be attending the ABC White House Town Hall
meeting with President Obama on healthcare reform tonight, along
with Patty Eakin, RN, President of the Pennsylvania Association
of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals and an NNOC/CNA board
"As long as a profit-motive is the centerpiece of our system,
as it is and will be with healthcare corporations calling the
shots, we entertain no notion that a public option will be the
fix that so many Americans desperately need and want," Jenkins
said. "Medicare for all is the only solution to what ails
"Regardless of the claims that the majority of people want a
'public option,' what most people really want is a system of
healthcare that covers everybody, and they believe the
government can do a better job of it than the healthcare
corporations can. It's time for Congress to stop nibbling
around the edges of reform and provide real leadership toward
enacting healthcare reform for the people, instead of yet
another windfall for wealthy corporations," said Tim Carpenter,
national director of PDA.
The Healthcare NOT Warfare campaign presses forward with a
"Week of Action for Medicare-for-All - H.R. 676." Participating
organizations will make calls to Congress asking representatives
to provide leadership in the healthcare debate. On July 30, the
44th anniversary of Medicare will be celebrated with a rally and
lobby day in Washington, D.C.
National Nurses United, with close to 185,000 members in every state, is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in US history.(240) 235-2000
'The Movement Has Spread': Strikes Across France Aim to Block Macron Attack on Pensions
"To defend workers' rights means defending a social model based on solidarity," said one participant.
Mar 07, 2023
Hundreds of thousands of French workers walked off the job Tuesday and marched against the government's effort, led by neoliberal President Emmanuel Macron, to raise the nation's retirement age from 62 to 64.
For the sixth time this year, French unions organized strikes and rallies to protest Macron and his legislative allies' deeply unpopular attack on pension benefits. Police anticipated between 1.1 million and 1.4 million participants at more than 260 demonstrations nationwide. Laurent Berger, secretary-general of the French Democratic Confederation of Labor, estimated, based on initial figures, that Tuesday's protests were the biggest since mobilizations started in mid-January.
"The strike has begun everywhere," said Eric Sellini of the General Confederation of Labor (CGT), which urged people to "bring France to a halt."
"If Emmanuel Macron doesn't want France to come to a standstill and a dark week for the energy industry, it would be better for him to withdraw his reforms."
Energy workers impeded fuel deliveries, transit workers shut down most services, teacher walkouts prompted the closure of many schools, and garbage collectors' ongoing work stoppage has led to a build-up of trash. Meanwhile, BBC Newsreported that "there will be calls to extend the strikes to include power generation" in the coming days.
Thirty-eight-year-old activist Sarah Durieux, part of a massive, largely family-friendly crowd in Paris, toldThe Associated Press, "To see so many people today gives me hope."
"The movement has spread because to defend workers' rights means defending a social model based on solidarity," she added.
\u201cUnions in France are holding a nationwide day of strikes and demonstrations for the sixth time this year over controversial plans by Macron to raise the pension age from 62 to 64.\n\nTeachers, gas and electricity workers, rail workers and others on strike.\n\nhttps://t.co/VR5Ysof2hR\u201d— Taj Ali (@Taj Ali) 1678196529
Unionized workers blocked the exits to all eight oil refineries in mainland France on Tuesday, striking fear in Thierry Cotillard, president of Les Mousquetaires retail chain, who warned that "if the refineries are blocked we could run out of petrol by the end of the week."
It is unclear how long the blockades will last. But Emmanuel Lépine, leader of a trade union representing refinery workers, said last week that the aim is to "bring the French economy to its knees."
Prior to Tuesday's actions, labor leader Sébastien Ménesplier declared that "if Emmanuel Macron doesn't want France to come to a standstill and a dark week for the energy industry, it would be better for him to withdraw his reforms."
As BBC News noted Tuesday, the campaign so far "has caused little damage to the economy, and the bill is proceeding through parliament."
The legislation, discussed last month in the National Assembly—where members of the New Ecological and Social People's Union, a leftist opposition coalition, tried to derail debate by proposing thousands of amendments—is being considered in the Senate this week. A vote on the final version is expected later this month.
"Unions and the left know time is running out before the reform becomes a reality—which is all the more reason for them to up the pressure now," BBC News observed.
Macron and his supporters have called the proposed changes "essential," citing projected budget deficits. But union leaders and left-wing lawmakers have stressed that parliament could bolster France's pension system—without raising the retirement age or increasing the number of years workers must contribute before qualifying for full benefits—by hiking taxes on the wealthy.
"The mobilizations will continue and grow until the government listens to workers."
"The job of a garbage collector is painful. We usually work very early or late... 365 days per year," Regis Viecili, a 56-year-old garbage worker, told AP. "We usually have to carry heavy weight or stand up for hours to sweep."
Trash collectors' early retirement age would be raised from 57 to 59 if the reform proposal is enacted.
"A lot of garbage workers die before the retirement age," said Viecili.
A record 1.3 million people took part in mass demonstrations against the legislation on January 31. At subsequent protests, the number of people hitting the streets—while still in the hundreds of thousands—began to decrease.
According to BBC News, "Union leaders now believe rolling strikes are their best hope of success."
Citing CGT secretary-general Philippe Martinez, AP reported that unionized workers "will decide locally" on Tuesday night whether to engage in open-ended strikes.
A majority of French citizens support the ongoing strikes. According to an opinion poll conducted recently by the French survey group Elabe, two-thirds of the public supports the movement against the government's planned pension changes in general, 59% back efforts to bring the country "to a standstill," and 56% support rolling strikes.
Martinez said in an interview Sunday that unions "are moving up a gear."
"The mobilizations," he predicted, "will continue and grow until the government listens to workers."
Xavier Bregail, a 40-year-old train driver in northern Paris, told AP on Tuesday that "the government will step back only if we block the economy."
"The subject behind this is inflation, soaring food and energy prices," he added. "I just want to live decently from my work."
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Industry Knew—and Hid—Dangers of Gas Stoves Over 50 Years Ago
"What? They knew? Next you're going to tell me that ExxonMobil knew about climate change and that the tobacco companies knew cigarettes caused cancer," one Democratic senator sarcastically said.
Mar 07, 2023
According to John:
Newly uncovered documents published last week by DeSmog reveal that the leading gas industry trade group knew over 50 years ago that cooking with gas stoves could harm human health and tried to cover up the evidence.
The DeSmogrevelations regarding the American Gas Associationn (AGA) came as the gas industry is pushing back against climate and public health advocates' efforts to ban new gas stoves amid mounting scientific evidence that the appliances threaten the warming planet and people's health.
Rrcent studies—which, among other things, showed that nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and ultrafine particles produced by gas stoves cause a range of health problems, including 1 in 8 U.S. cases of childhood asthma—sparked fast and furious backlash from the gas industry and its congressional boosters.
"It's less widely known that the gas industry has long sponsored its own research into the problem of indoor air pollution from gas stoves," wrote DeSmog's Rebecca John. "Now, newly discovered documents reveal that the American Gas Association was studying the health and indoor pollution risks from gas stoves as far back as the early 1970s—that they knew much more, at a far earlier date, than has been previously documented."
\u201cThe peer-reviewed research by the environmental think tank @RockyMtnInst, @Sydney_Uni , and @EinsteinMed estimated that \u201cnearly 13 percent of childhood asthma cases in the United States can be linked to having a gas stove in the home.\u201d https://t.co/jASvlSKYC5\u201d— DeSmog (@DeSmog) 1678105860
According to John:
More than 50 years ago, in 1972, AGA authored a draft report highlighting indoor air pollution concerns similar to those being raised by health experts and regulators today. In particular, this draft report examined what to do about problems related to the emission of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides (collectively referred to as NOx) from domestic gas appliances. This draft, recently discovered in the U.S. National Archives, would eventually become an official report published by the National Industrial Pollution Control Council (NIPCC), a long-forgotten government advisory council composed of the nation's most powerful industrialists.
However, an entire section detailing those concerns, entitled "Indoor Air Quality Control," vanished from the final report. With it went all the important evidence that the gas industry was not only conducting research into what the NIPCC called the "NOx problem" but also that it was actively testing technological solutions "for the purposes of limiting the levels of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides in household air."
"Instead," John wrote, "the final report argued gas' sole drawback was its limited availability, 'not its environmental impact.' It also lobbied for a massive expansion of U.S. domestic gas reserves and the rapid rollout of gas-based infrastructure, under the banner of replacing coal with gas to stem air pollution."
Reacting to the DeSmog report, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) sardonically tweeted: "What? They knew? Next you're going to tell me that ExxonMobil knew about climate change and that the tobacco companies knew cigarettes caused cancer."
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Under Subpoena Threat, Starbucks CEO Finally Agrees to Testify Before Sanders' Committee
"Workers have the constitutional right to organize unions and engage in collective bargaining," said the Vermont senator. "Unfortunately Starbucks, under Mr. Schultz's leadership, has done everything possible to prevent that from happening."
Mar 07, 2023
Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Thursday that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has relented to pressure and agreed to testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee later this month, news that came just 24 hours before the panel was set to vote on whether to subpoena the billionaire executive.
"I'm happy to announce that Howard Schultz, the CEO and founder of Starbucks, has finally agreed to testify before the Senate HELP Committee," Sanders (I-Vt.), the chair of the panel, said in a statement. "The HELP Committee was scheduled to vote tomorrow to subpoena him and I want to thank the members of the committee who, in a bipartisan way, were prepared to do just that."
"Let's be clear. In America, workers have the constitutional right to organize unions and engage in collective bargaining to improve their wages and working conditions," the senator continued. "Unfortunately Starbucks, under Mr. Schultz's leadership, has done everything possible to prevent that from happening."
\u201cI\u2019m happy to announce that Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has finally agreed to testify before the Senate HELP Committee. I look forward to hearing from him as to when he intends to end his illegal anti-union activities and begin signing fair first contracts with the unions.\u201d— Bernie Sanders(@Bernie Sanders) 1678208358
Schultz decision to appear before the committee comes after weeks of back-and-forth between the HELP Committee and Starbucks, which Sanders has accused of stonewalling the panel's efforts to obtain documents and testimony regarding the company's aggressive and ongoing fight against employee unionization efforts.
Workers at more than 280 Starbucks locations across the U.S. have voted to unionize since December 2021, but Starbucks has been accused of dragging its feet and unlawfully obstructing contract talks.
"The National Labor Relations Board has issued over 80 complaints against Starbucks for violating federal labor law and an Administrative Law Judge in New York recently ruled that Starbucks has engaged in 'egregious and widespread misconduct' in a union organizing campaign that started in 2019," Sanders said Tuesday. "Despite the fact that over 280 Starbucks coffee shops have successfully voted to form a union over the past year, Starbucks has refused to negotiate in good faith to sign a single first contract with their employees."
Last week, Sanders publicly dismissed Starbucks' offer to send subordinates to testify in the place of Schultz, who is set to leave the CEO post at the end of March.
"We look forward to Howard Schultz testifying in front of the U.S. Senate," tweeted Starbucks Workers United, which represents thousands of Starbucks employees. "As the architect of Starbucks' unprecedented anti-union campaign, it is high time for him to be held accountable for his actions. Howard Schultz needs to learn that even billionaires aren't above the law."
Asked during a press conference what he hopes to hear from Schultz at the March 29 hearing, Sanders said he wants the Starbucks CEO to "tell us that at long last he is going to stop his illegal activity, that he is going to sit down with the union and negotiate a contract."
"That's what I want, nothing more than that," Sanders added. "To obey the law. I don't think that's asking too much."
LIVE: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has finally agreed to testify before the Senate HELP Committee.youtu.be
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