May 7, 2017
By Doug Cunningham
Workers Independent News
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Washington, DC – 217 House Republicans Thursday voted to take health insurance away from 24 million people. That’s how many people the Congressional Budget Office says will lose health insurance if Obamacare is repealed. Not a single House Democrat voted for this.
The bill cuts taxes for the rich, eliminates required essential coverages like hospitalization, prescription drugs, mental health care, and maternity care. It cuts health insurance subsidies and hikes out of pocket costs while raising premium costs on older people.
Progressive Democrats of America’sDonna Smith says Medicare for all is much better for us and California can lead the way by passing its Medicare for all bill.
[Donna Smith]: “Now California and New York gotta lead the way. Show the nation how we’re gonna make this happen. Now is the time for all of us to really say Medicare for all’s the only way to solve this problem.”
Why are thirteen U.S. railroad worker unions protesting against the railroads as their labor contract talks remain bogged down in mediation? Because the profitable railroads ignored a union proposal to keep healthcare and instead demanded $612 million in health care concessions over four years.
Peter Kennedy is at the bargaining table with the railroads for the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division union.
[Peter Kennedy]: “So in other words they’re asking members to basically give back over $612 million to a railroad industry that’s an utterly profitable industry. This is about health care, not wealth care. This is about continuing to provide a respectful level of benefits for railroaders and their families.”
Big May Day rallies for worker and immigrant rights drew many people around the nation Monday. Mostly peaceful, there were scattered arrests of protesters from New York To Los Angeles.
Among the arrests, at least 14 protesters in New York City for blocking the entrance of JP Morgan and Wells Fargo banks in Manhattan and at least four people were arrested in Oakland for civil disobedience.
Javier Valdes of the immigrant rights group Make The Road New York told local TV news the May Day protests give him hope.
[Javier Valdes]: “There is fear and there is anxiety. But what gives me hope and gives me resilience moving forward is that the community’s resisting and saying this is not the way that we should operate in the United States and we gotta stop. And we’re gonna push back.”
Twenty-two thousand miners and their dependents have permanent funding for their health care in the 2017 Omnibus appropriations bill.
United Mine Workers Of America President Cecil Roberts says it’s tremendous news and means these retired miners and their families “will finally have the peace of mind about their future that has eluded them for years.”
The UMWA says there are 89,000 other retirees who need their pensions and health care preserved as well.
RWDSU says workers at Bloomingdale’s have ratified their first ever contract that “recognizes workers struggling with diminished wages from online sales over the past five years.” RWDSU President Stuart Applebaum.
[Stuart Applebaum]:”This contract was important because it recognizes for the first time workers are struggling with diminished wages from online sales, and it does something about it.”
Bloomingdale’s workers were spending time and effort in the store only to see the customer go home and order online. Applebaum says his members were losing out under that commission model and this contract takes a first step toward addressing the issue.