The Occupy Wall Street movement has struck a deep chord with working people everywhere. Fed up with corporate greed and raging inequality, tens of thousands of Americans have participated in hundreds of occupations in cities around the country and have inspired a global movement against injustice. Many unions have embraced the movement and are working to mobilize their members in support.
By all accounts, access to healthcare has been a core issue motivating participants. Public Squares are ringing with the stories of people like Adara Scarlet whose father committed suicide so his family would not be burdened with his healthcare expenses. Activists like former health insurance executive Wendell Potter have called for targeting the health insurance industry as the poster child of corporate greed.
These protests come at a time when the healthcare crisis is accelerating. Last year, private health insurance rates rose at a rate of more than four times greater than workers’ wages. A just released National Scorecard on U.S. Health System Performance shows that the dysfunctional healthcare system in the U. S. is the cause of up to 84,000 preventable deaths a year. And the PPACA health reforms of 2010 have proven inadequate to deal with the crisis as employers continue to try to shift healthcare costs onto workers backs. Recently, the Obama Administration was forced to pull the plug on a promised long-term health insurance provision because of structural weaknesses in the legislation.
The Steering Committee of the Labor Campaign will be issuing a major policy statement on the Occupy Wall Street movement and its potential to advance our movement. Please share your ideas and experiences with us at: email@example.com.
Make Wall Street Pay – November 3
The Labor Campaign for Single Payer has endorsed the National Nurses United’s Main Street Contract Campaign and their call for a November 3 action in Washington, DC to make Wall Street pay for the devastation they have wrought through a financial transaction tax. This action joins up with worldwide union actions urging the G-20 nations to institute such a tax. NNU has made the fight for healthcare for all a cornerstone of their Campaign.