Category Archives: health care

Despite Trump, State Progressives Advance Pro-Worker Policies

trump-mouth

While the president goes on the attack, Democratic-controlled states and municipalities forge ahead

By Justin Miller
American Propect

July 11, 2017 – In the face of the Trump administration’s predictably antagonistic stance on pro-worker policies, coupled with the escalating onslaught against worker power in Republican-controlled states, progressives are racing ahead to enact innovative labor laws to help working people in the places where they can.

Over the past eight years, Democrats’ control of government has receded to 1920s-levels, severely hindering progressives’ ability to advance pro-worker labor policy in Washington, D.C., or in the states. As of now, the Democratic Party controls the governorship and legislature in just six states, while progressive power is most concentrated in a few dozen municipalities.

It’s in those places in recent weeks that lawmakers have pushed forward a number of innovative labor laws that present a clear contrast to the Chamber of Commerce-influenced, deregulation-driven labor agenda in the White House.
Improving Home Care

Last week, Hawaii passed a law establishing a cash assistance program for people who are struggling to take care of a sick or elderly family member while maintaining a full-time job. The policy, the first of its kind in the country, takes aim at the increasingly urgent elder care crisis as the massive boomer generation ages and their children struggle to care for them.

“Every eight seconds, somebody turns 65 in America,” Ai-jen Poo, co-director of Caring Across Generations, a group that advocates for policies that improve home care, said on a call with reporters Monday. “It’s a great thing; we’ve extended longevity. And we are wholly unprepared for what the implications are in terms of care.”

Fully half of the workforce will be called on to provide care for an elder within the next five years, the group says. And that’s not a small commitment. Of the 45 million people who currently provide some level of unpaid home care to a relative, more than half are spending about 20 hours a week while also holding down a full-time job.

The Kapuna (the Hawaiian word for elder) Caregiver program would establish a fund to provide full-time workers who are providing care to a dependent elder $70 a day to help offset the burden. A recipient could use that money to help pay for health care, a caregiver, or transportation to a doctor’s appointment.

There are more than 150,000 unpaid caregivers in Hawaii currently, according to estimates by the AARP. And while in-home care or assisted living is expensive, costing between $5,000 and $10,000 a month in the state, the $70-a-day benefit is a small step to helping caregivers balance their lives.

The legislature has provided an initial $600,000 for the program and advocates say they will return to the statehouse next year to bolster funding. Continue reading Despite Trump, State Progressives Advance Pro-Worker Policies

Beaver County Nursing Home Workers Rally for $15 Hourly Wage

By Kirstin Kennedy

Beaver County Times

Apr 15, 2016 —- The national fight for a $15 minimum wage made its way to the courthouse steps Thursday when nursing home workers from across Beaver County rallied for increased hourly pay.

Renee Ford, a certified nursing assistant at Beaver Elder Care in Hopewell Township, joined about 12 other nursing home workers and community members in the protest. She said she’s fighting for wage increases so that full-time workers won’t have to live in poverty.

A 2015 Keystone Research Center study revealed that nearly 15,000 nursing home workers across the country qualified for public assistance.

"(We’re) the core of the nursing home," said Ford, who has worked for Beaver Elder Care for nearly 30 years. The facility, which is owned by Guardian Health Care, is in active negotiations with workers.

While Ford currently makes above the minimum wage, she feels its important for all of her co-workers to receive an increase in their pay to reduce worker turnaround and provide better care to residents.

Protesters held signs along the courthouse lawn and chanted for better-paying jobs. Two Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders supporters briefly joined the group.

Beaver County Commissioners Sandie Egley and Dan Camp greeted the protesters to learn more about their cause and to welcome them to the courthouse.

While some local workers remain in negotiations, others have reached resolution.

Last week, the Beaver Valley Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in South Beaver Township joined 41 other facilities across Pennsylvania in reaching new contract agreements with workers.

SEIU, Workers Celebrate NLRB Ruling

Solidarity action vs UMPC earlier this year

By Kris B. Mamula

Reporter- Pittsburgh Business Times

Nov. 17, 2014 – Union and elected officials on Monday celebrated a National Labor Relations Board ruling that reinstated four fired UPMC workers and restored benefits and wages to fifth employee for union organizing activities.

"UPMC has been acting above the law," City Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak told union members and others who turned out for a news conference attended by a couple dozen people. "UPMC is not above the law."

The rally came as Mayor Bill Peduto has been reaching out to UPMC and other nonprofits in the city about voluntarily compensating the city for services in lieu of property taxes. Peduto was not at the news conference Monday, but he called for "long-term financing agreements" with the city’s nonprofits in an address to council Nov. 10.

Rudiak conducted the news conference at the City-County Building downtown and called on UPMC to "stop the intimidation, retaliation and legal maneuvers that keep us down." Separating the nonprofit contribution and unionization issues at UPMC would be "dangerous," Rudiak said.

The NLRB on Nov. 14 ruled that the hospital giant had disciplined and fired employees for try to unionize, which violates federal law. The Service Employees International Union has been trying to organize UPMC’s Oakland hospitals for nearly three years, but a vote by employees has not been scheduled.

Continue reading SEIU, Workers Celebrate NLRB Ruling

AFL-CIO’s Trumka Praises Pittsburgh Labor Movements

By Ann Belser

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

April 10, 2014 – Pittsburgh, the cradle of the American union movement, is now nurturing a new generation of union workplaces.

“There’s more organizing drives going on in Pittsburgh than in any other city of the country,” said Richard Trumka, the national president of the AFL-CIO, in Washington, D.C., who came home to Pittsburgh Thursday to address the 41st Constitutional Convention of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.

Mr. Trumka, a former mine worker who grew up in Nemacolin, Greene County, said in his speech that there are 45,000 people who are in the midst of organizing campaigns at their workplaces in Western Pennsylvania.

In addition to the SEIU campaign targeting health care provider UPMC, there are high-profile campaigns at Duquesne, Robert Morris and Point Park universities. An effort to organize workers at the Rivers Casino is under way, as well.

Part of the change in unionization efforts has been that instead of various unions organizing businesses on their own, unions have come together to help each other.

Continue reading AFL-CIO’s Trumka Praises Pittsburgh Labor Movements

The Main Target: Obamacare Is Right-Wing Proxy For Social Security and Medicare

 

By Karoli

Progressive America Rising via Crooks and Liars

Oct 7, 2013 – Despite all the sound and fury about Obamacare, here’s the truth: It’s not the prime target of the right. The real targets are Medicare and Social Security, as Rep. Barton admits in the video above when he says he wants "real reforms in entitlements".

Over the past couple of weeks, it’s become apparent to me and many others that this entire showdown is not over Obamacare. The ACA is a convenient patsy because it is new, untested, and they’ve managed to poison public opinion around it over the past three years.

The real target is Social Security and Medicare. From a political standpoint, waging a war using those programs as hostage would be so wildly unpopular no sane or insane politician would dare choose that route. And so Obamacare has become the convenient stand-in, a cardboard stand-in for their real goals.

Continue reading The Main Target: Obamacare Is Right-Wing Proxy For Social Security and Medicare

Healthcare ‘Sick-In’ Storms Harrisburg

Medicaid expansion proponents to sleep in the Capitol ‘until their voices are heard’

medicaid expansion.jpg

Proponents of Medicaid expansion will sleep in the capitol building Wednesday night. (Anna Orso)

By Anna Orso

Beaver county Blue via Pennlive.com

June 26, 2013 – Hannah Williams is a 21-year-old gregarious single parent who works full time and is studying to become a nurse. Her daughter, Grace, has medical needs like any other 3-year-old kid.

So when the cash-strapped Williams foots the bill for those needs, money gets tight.

“It’s a big burden,” she said. “When you’re a single parent, you are the provider, the nurturer and I’m stuck with next to nothing.”

Williams, of Pittsburgh, is one of about 500,000 people in Pennsylvania who don’t qualify for Medicaid, but would if lawmakers decide to expand the medical assistance program by accepting federal funding.

1.JPG

Medicaid expansion supporters march to the governor’s residence Wednesday to stage a "sick-in."

The expansion, as proposed by the Affordable Care Act, would make all adults between the age of 19 and 64 who are at or below 133 percent of the federal poverty level eligible to receive Medicaid.

Continue reading Healthcare ‘Sick-In’ Storms Harrisburg