Labor Campaign for Single-Payer

Demonstrators "Lock Down" Blue Shield in San Francisco on October 28
Dozens of unionists have put their bodies on the line in a series of grassroots mobilizations for healthcare for all that is sweeping the nation.  The protests have targeted health insurance companies and have demanded an end to their profiteering and the establishment of a Medicare for All single payer system.  So far, 115 activists have been arrested in 8 cities.
California School Employees Association staffer Cindy Young was among the hundreds who "locked down" Blue Shield of California in San Francisco yesterday (see above photo).  In Los Angeles, members of Labor Task Force for Universal Healthcare, including Co-Chair Lenny Potash and LIUNA member Jim Hilfenhaus, were arrested at CIGNA's Glendale Headquarters.  "Insurance companies like CIGNA contribute nothing to the delivery of healthcare. It's absolutely immoral," said Potash.
Last week, in Portland, Oregon, seven union members were among the 11 arrested at the Regence Blue Cross/Blue Shield headquarters.  "We support improved and expanded Medicare for All as the solution to our broken healthcare system," said registered nurse and AFGE member Betsy Zucker. And in Newark, NJ yesterday, New Jersey Industrial Union Council Executive Vice President Carol Gay was one of the 7 arrestees who had blocked access to the Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield offices. "Far too many people are dying because of insurance company greed and we intend to put an end to insurance death panels," said Gay (see photo below). Protests are continuing with actions today in Baltimore and Louisville, Friday in Philadelphia and next week in San Diego, Albuquerque, Atlanta, Detroit and Portland.  Go to for up to date info on planned actions.
Matt Rainey/The Star-Ledger
L-R, Erika Velez, of New Brunswick, and Carol Gay, of Brick, shout "Healthcare now!" as they are being handcuffed by a Newark police officer at a protest at the Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield headquarters in the city today.

Pelosi Reneges on Promises
Meanwhile, House Speaker Pelosi seems poised to present a healthcare reform bill to the full house stripped of the Kucinich Amendment ( and without a debate and vote on the single-payer Weiner Amendment ( Pelosi promised to support both amendments last summer when she needed the support of single-payer Representatives to move the main healthcare reform bill through congressional committees. Now, in an apparent concession to the House Blue Dogs and their corporate sponsors, she has reneged on her commitments.
The Kucinich Amendment would allow individual states to establish their own single-payer systems.  The Weiner Amendment would substitute HR 676 for the main healthcare bill and allow for an historic up and down vote for single payer in Congress.  As the AFL-CIO resolved at last month's convention, "Whatever the outcome of the current debate over health care reform in the 111th Congress, the task of establishing health care as a human right, not a privilege, will still lie before us." Action on both amendments is crucial for the future of this movement and the Labor Campaign for Single Payer is calling on all unionists to demand that Speaker Pelosi stand behind the commitment she made to the movement for real healthcare reform.
 Please call Speaker Pelosi's office at 202-225-4965 today! Demand that she live up to her agreement to include the Kucinich Amendment in the final legislation and schedule a vote for the Weiner Amendment.  It is urgent that we act quickly on this.  Please pass this message on to all who will support it.