On June 27, The Supreme Court, by a 6-3 Majority took the extreme step of denying an existing constitutional right by overturning Roe V. Wade. This decision to deny women the right to an abortion is an attack on all women, is an attack on all working people The statements below by numerous labor organizations all make that point and all point to the necessity to resist and to organize. The Coalition of Labor Union Women was founded in 1974, the year after Roe v Wade confirmed a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion. The CLUW founding mothers believed in a woman’s right to a safe termination of her pregnancy and we still believe every woman has that right.
On June 13th the International Association of Machinists IAM 751 Retirement Club voted overwhelmingly to end the privatization of Medicare and to send their resolution to their congressional delegation, to President Biden, and to Secretary Xavier Becerra at Health and Human Services. Machinists’ District 751 represents 27,000 members who work at Boeing and some smaller shops across the state of Washington. It is one of the largest organizations within the IAM. The privatization scheme the 751 Retirement Club opposes is ACO REACH, formerly called direct contracting entities (DCE). It is a pilot program in which seniors who chose traditional Medicare are placed, without their consent, into plans that are run by insurance companies, private equity, and venture capitalists who can take as high as 40% in overhead and profit from the Medicare program.
Nurses and other health care workers across the nation are rising up in a growing wave of strikes and protests against understaffing, lack of crucial supplies, exhausting workloads and the erosion of their living standards by the sharp rise in inflation. Conditions for health care workers around the world have been greatly worsened by the response of the ruling class to the pandemic. Many are leaving the profession, further deepening the crisis. According to a March 24 report in Healthcare IT News, 90 percent of US nurses are considering leaving the profession. Not only must nurses handle inhuman levels of stress at work, but they are also facing criminal prosecution as they struggle to perform their duties safely under impossible conditions.
Since the end of Roe v. Wade, numerous European political leaders have lamented the decision. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson labeled the Dobbs decision a “big step backwards,” and French President Emmanuel Macron said abortion “must be protected,” as his country prepared to place a nationwide right to abortion in its constitution. In response, conservatives have cried hypocrisy, both to deflect criticism and to cast doubt on European institutions in general. “Many of the leaders who criticized the United States for the decision have laws that are either comparable to the Mississippi law at the center of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, which outlawed abortion past the 15th week of pregnancy,” Charles Hilu writes at National Review. “Americans should be very skeptical of the opinions of leaders across the pond.”
Following last week’s Supreme Court ruling that struck down federal protections for abortion rights, major companies, including a number of Silicon Valley giants, publicly broadcast their intention to assist their workers in traveling out of state to obtain an abortion. Meta, Apple, Disney, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Condé Nast were among them, the New York Times noted, joining companies that had made similar pledges in May, when a leaked memo revealed that the Court would overturn Roe v. Wade. These companies include Reddit, Tesla, Microsoft, Starbucks, Yelp, Airbnb, Netflix, Patagonia, DoorDash, JPMorgan Chase, Levi Strauss & Co. and PayPal, the Times reports. Meanwhile, Google pledged to allow workers to apply to relocate “without justification” if they live in states that do not allow abortion.
As early as 1976, three years after Roe, Congress passed the Hyde Amendment prohibiting the use of federal funds like Medicaid for abortions, except to save “the life of the mother.” States have since enacted many other restrictive laws, such as mandating onerous insurance for clinics, requiring parental consent for an abortion, mandatory “counseling,” forced ultrasounds and waiting periods. Tax-exempt religious institutions like Catholic hospitals have prohibited their medical providers from performing abortions. Right-wing extremists and religious fundamentalists have waged a violent war against abortion providers and abortion seekers, including the bombing of clinics and the murder of doctors, clinic staff and patient escorts.
Large crowds of people took to the streets of cities and towns across the United States Friday evening to protest the Supreme Court's reversal of Roe v. Wade and to vow to fight for reproductive rights. In San Francisco, hundreds of youth-led protesters shouting slogans including "We won't go back!" and "Keep your rosaries off my ovaries" rallied in Civic Center Plaza, while hundreds marched and staged a sit-in on Market Street. "Abortion is a human right," Amnesty International youth leader and protest co-organizer Samprikta Basu told Common Dreams outside San Francisco City Hall. "A ban on abortions is a ban on safe abortions and this affects marginalized communities, the poor, and people of color the most."
MPLP was established in 1971 by a group of physicians who were also members of the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB/PVDA). They did this because they felt the need to translate words to action, to ensure that healthcare is accessible to the people who need it, and this included a way of providing people free health consultations. They started the first health house in Antwerp, and since then, we have managed to establish 10 more health houses, guided by the same ideals from more than 50 years ago. There are many more health workers working with MPLP now, too, and not only physicians: nurses, psychologists, they’re all part of our teams now. But of course, during this time, a lot of things changed: the impact of social determinants of health developed in one way, the pharmaceutical industry changed a lot, and so on.
Worcester, Massachusetts - The COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding failure at every level of government to prevent its spread dealt a devastating blow to healthcare workers. Nurses, doctors, and other medical workers faced increasingly dangerous conditions, along with employers more concerned with increasing profits than saving the lives of their patients or employees. At St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts, nurses fought back against their corporate employer by organizing a strike of over 700 workers that lasted for 10 months. Filmed by TRNN contributor Gino Canella, these interviews with St. Vincent nurses comprise an oral history of a ferocious labor battle that became the longest nurses’ strike in Massachusetts state history.
As reproductive rights groups brace for an anticipated US supreme court decision to overturn Roe v Wade and strike down federal abortion rights in America, workers at these groups are organizing to unionize ahead of the expected legal changes. About 400 workers at 28 clinics in five states in the midwest – Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota, announced in late May 2022 their intent to unionize with SEIU Healthcare Minnesota and Iowa. They have filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board after a majority of workers signed authorization cards and their request for voluntary recognition was turned down by management.
There is a need for a national group of grassroots activists advocating, mobilizing, and organizing exclusively for national single payer. In the early days of 2021, when it became clear no member of Congress would champion the cause of Medicare for All, a group of long-time health care activists, unionists, grassroots organizers, and progressives met to discuss the need for a national organization to unite activists across the country and rally the movement for national single payer health care free from corporate profits. The activists were frustrated. After all, the Democrats held power in the House, in the Senate, and in the Executive Branch, and yet, there was no enthusiasm for improved and expanded Medicare for All.
By acting on behalf of pharmaceutical interests and blocking WTO removal of intellectual property (IP) barriers to global vaccines, tests, and treatment access, the European Union, Switzerland and United Kingdom have betrayed the billions of people worldwide who still need access to lifesaving vaccines, medications, and diagnostics. In failing to deliver on a vaccine waiver for which it announced support and blocking the inclusion of treatments and tests, the United States has also turned its back on a planet desperate for the COVID pandemic to end. The failure to temporarily waive the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) as demanded by the vast majority of the world’s countries and by public health experts and health workers, generic medicine manufacturers, human rights advocates, faith leaders, labor unions, community groups, scores of Nobel laureates and former heads of state, the World Health Organization Director-General and even the Pope spotlights just how broken and dangerously out-of-touch the WTO remains.
Elizabeth Woodruff drained her retirement account and took on three jobs after she and her husband were sued for nearly $10,000 by the New York hospital where his infected leg was amputated. Ariane Buck, a young father in Arizona who sells health insurance, couldn’t make an appointment with his doctor for a dangerous intestinal infection because the office said he had outstanding bills. Allyson Ward and her husband loaded up credit cards, borrowed from relatives, and delayed repaying student loans after the premature birth of their twins left them with $80,000 in debt. Ward, a nurse practitioner, took on extra nursing shifts, working days and nights. “I wanted to be a mom,” she said. “But we had to have the money.”
Registered nurses picketed outside 11 Twin Cities hospitals Wednesday, calling on health care executives to put patients over profits in contract negotiations with their union, the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA). Talks covering 15,000 nurses in the metro and Duluth began in March. Twin Cities nurses, who work at Allina Health, Children’s Hospital, M Health Fairview and North Memorial hospitals, saw their contracts expire Tuesday. On a combined picket line outside United and Children’s hospitals in St. Paul, nurses said the crisis facing their profession demands urgency and bold action to keep nurses from leaving the bedside. “I think a lot of our co-workers are waiting to see what happens with this contract to make determinations about what they’re going to do next, if they’re going to stay at the bedside,” United emergency department nurse Brittany Livaccari said.
Washington, D.C. – As governments worldwide prepare to meet at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva for its first ministerial summit since the start of the pandemic, more than 750 students across the U.S. are calling on President Joe Biden to support a comprehensive waiver of WTO rules standing in the way of COVID vaccine, test and treatment access. “While COVID vaccines are readily available throughout the United States, that’s still not the case for billions of people worldwide,” said Noël Hutton, student outreach coordinator for the Trade Justice Education Fund. “The U.S. has a major role to play in removing barriers to vaccine and treatment access.