The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Kawana Lloyd, 202-730-7087

Mark Labor Day with Pledge to Pass Affordable Healthcare and Labor Reform

Nation’s largest healthcare union continues drive for change


Congress looks ahead to the first Labor Day without the guiding hand of
Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the Service Employees
International Union (SEIU) called on Congress to mark the holiday with
a renewed pledge to bring affordable healthcare and meaningful labor
law reform to working families.

"This Labor Day, nothing is more critical to working families-and we could do no greater honor to Senator Kennedy's memory-- than passing the sort of health insurance reform that would make him proud.The
bottom line is simple: we cannot restore economic balance and bring
prosperity to all Americans without drastically bringing down
healthcare costs and ensuring that all Americans are guaranteed
quality, affordable healthcare," said SEIU International President Andy
Stern. "And we cannot do it without Congress's leadership."

On Labor Day weekend, SEIU will participate in large-scale events across the country to call for healthcare reform,
including this Saturday, Sept 5, when thousands will gather in
Indianapolis, and on Monday, when SEIU will join with President Obama
in Cincinnati.

events are merely the latest actions from the nation's largest
healthcare union, whose 2.1 million members have played a leading role
in bringing healthcare to the forefront of the Congressional agenda and
the national debate. Since recess began, SEIU members and activists
have participated in more than 300 town halls and hundreds of other
events-from candlelight vigils to neighborhood canvasses.

we don't solve our national healthcare crisis, we will put the American
Dream permanently out of reach for millions of Americans," said SEIU
Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger. "Working with President Obama and
leadership in Congress, we have made great strides for working
families. But the skyrocketing costs of healthcare, if not addressed
immediately, threaten to virtually eliminate the other gains we've

leadership in the healthcare debate can be traced back to the early
days of the 2008 election, when SEIU hosted the first presidential
forum on healthcare-ensuring that every serious Democratic primary
candidate had a serious healthcare reform proposal. Post-election,
SEIU's Change that Works campaign has mobilized thousands of people
across 35 states to keep the pressure on lawmakers to keep their
campaign promises to reform our healthcare system.

SEIU is also continuing its fight for meaningful labor law reform. On
September 10, nearly 300 progressive activists from across the country
will fly to Washington to lobby on the Employee Free Choice Act.
The law would allow workers to bargain with their employers for job security, better healthcare and retirement benefits.

President Obama took office, SEIU members have made great strides
towards restoring the American Dream for working families, including:

  • Helping President Obama pass the
    historic State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) legislation,
    covering nearly 11 million children;
  • Passing the Act Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and executive orders that leveled the playing field for all workers;
  • Shedding light on corporate
    irresponsibility by continuously revealing just how big banks helped
    drive our economy into the ground with failed financial models that
    make CEOs richer at the expense of shareholders, workers, and our
  • Urging the White House and Congress to quickly pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers--not just corporations and CEOs--benefit from today's global economy.