Posts Tagged 'SEIU'

Andy Stern is the new John L Sullivan and not in a good way

Andy Stern and the Public Option

I am here today to say I think the employer-based health care system is dead. I think we need to find a system that’s not built on the back of the government. I am here to also say I don’t think we need to import Canada or any other system. We are going to build an American system because we are Americans and we don’t like any other system. So we are going to build our own….. This is now simply a question of leadership and political will. It is not a question of policy. No more policy conferences. (See pages 15-16 of the transcript of the conference proceedings.)

Those were the remarks of Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union, a member of the Herndon Alliance and Health Care for America Now (HCAN). Stern made those comments at a June 16, 2006 conference sponsored by the Brookings Institution and the New America Foundation.

It is interesting to consider how similar Stern’s remarks are to those of other “option” movement leaders I have quoted in this six-part series. Like Celinda Lake, Jacob Hacker, Roger Hickey (Campaign for America’s Future) and Bernie Horne (also CAF), Stern has no qualms about promoting the insidious claim that single-payer cannot be enacted in America because “Americans” don’t want it. Like Hacker, Stern preaches opportunism dressed up as political wisdom (he calls for more “political will” and no more stinkin’ “policy conferences”).

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Problems within the SEIU

Healthcare Workers United in Manhattan Beach

We’re all part of the same healthcare family. Why would SEIU International want to divide us by stripping UHW of its long term care workers, in violation of a vote in which those workers voted 97 percent to stay in UHW? That’s why more than 6,000 of us came to Manhattan Beach for SEIU’s hearing on the issue. It doesn’t make any sense to us that UHW would be torn apart.

Not only is it undemocratic, but it’s inconsistent. In state after state, SEIU is moving toward uniting healthcare workers. Some 22 states, including West Virginia, New York, Florida, and most recently Illinois, have already done so.

I have some ideas about why SEIU International has targeted California, home to one of the largest and most powerful healthcare unions in the country. Maybe it’s because we are too strong, too powerful. Maybe we’re a threat to the International. I know for sure that it’s not for the benefit of the workers. Nor would it benefit the patients and families we care for.

That’s why we came here from across California. That’s why we marched with our children and our patients. We’ve built this union together, achieved better contracts, and improved lives by using our collective power at the bargaining table. We’ve fought for better healthcare for all Californians. We are not about to stop fighting now, when it matters most.


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