04 Apr 2013

Over 7,000 March to Demand Return of Stolen Health Benefits

   16 arrested in Charleston, WV Charleston,West Virginia. April 1, 2013.  They boarded buses and cars before dawn, some the night before, coming from the coalfields of Illinois,Pennsylvania,Kentucky,Virginia,Ohio,Indiana, and all acrossWest Virginia.  By10:00 AM over 7,000 had packed into the giant Charleston Civic Center to voice their support for the 23,000

17 Feb 2013

Miners arrested in fight to end Peabody’s stealing of health benefits

Coal execs deserve “a cell next to Bernie Madoff”  St. Louis,MO. February 13, 2013.  Shirley Inman was arrested for peaceful, civil disobedience as she protested at the Peabody Energy headquarters against the corporate threat to rob miners and their families of the health benefits they have earned.  Inman, a member of United Mine

25 Dec 2012

Only an uprising can save us from Social Security Cuts

 In his recent proposal, President Obama included a change in the cost of living adjustment (COLA) that will make cuts in Social Security benefits.  Ugly, hurtful cuts.  This COLA cut is called Chained CPI.  It would do real damage by changing the formula used to calculate the COLA.  It’s a

06 Oct 2012

Post election deficit deal threatens Medicare and Social Security

The solution is Improved Medicare for All After the November election, there will be a major effort in Congress to pass a budget deal that will make cuts in Social Security, raise the Medicare and Social Security eligibility age, and perhaps more–unless we act to stop it with a solution

25 Jun 2012

Texas IAM Members Fight to keep health care and defined benefit pensions

The workers at Lockheed Martin in Fort Worth, Texas, are a spunky, tenacious bunch.  Amidst a recession with sky high jobless rates, many workers only dream of taking on the company to stop concessions.  Some have the courage to fight.     These 3,600 workers, members of District Lodge 776, International Association

07 Jan 2012

Richard Ahearn: An NLRB Director and a Tale of Two Struggles

When EGT, an international corporate behemoth, threatened to break their union in Longview, Washington, members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and their friends from the community organized a massive demonstration, sat down on the tracks and stopped a train.  They did it more than once.  The nation’s

19 Oct 2011

Occupy Louisville and Unions Rally Together

On Thursday, October 13, 2011, union supporters and Occupy Louisville protesters gathered in Jefferson Square Park for a joint rally. This park at 6th and Jefferson is the location for the Louisville version of Occupy Wall Street where hundreds have gathered daily. The unions were there to support Occupy Louisville

26 Sep 2011

What’s the Real Story Behind the Postal Crisis?

On September 27, 2011, in over 300 cities, postal workers will rally their communities to save the US postal services.  Letter carrier Michael Plaskon has written a short essay to help us to understand the effort to destroy this public service so that it can be privatized for profit.   What’s the

15 Jun 2011

How Libby, Montana, Got Medicare for All

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Valley, snow covered mountains in background, "In Glacier National Park," Montana. by The U.S. National Archives"]Valley, snow covered mountains in background, "In Glacier National Park," Montana.[/caption]

In 2009 when the Washington beltway was tied up with the health care reform tussle, Montana Democratic Senator Max Baucus, chairman of the all powerful Senate Finance Committee, said everything was on the table–except for single payer. When doctors, nurses and others rose in his hearing to insist that single payer be included in the debate, Baucus had them arrested. As more stood up, Baucus could be heard on his open microphone saying, “We need more police.”

Yet when Senator Baucus needed a solution to a catastrophic health disaster in Libby, Montana, and surrounding Lincoln County, he turned to the nation’s single payer healthcare system, Medicare, to solve the problem.

Baucus’ problem was caused by a vermiculite mine that had spread deadly airborne asbestos killing hundreds and sickening thousands in Libby and northwest Montana. The W. R. Grace Company that owned the mine denied its connection to the massive levels of mesothelioma and asbestosis and dodged responsibility for this environmental and health disaster. When all law suits and legal avenues failed, Baucus turned to our country’s single payer plan, Medicare.

The single payer plan that Baucus kept off the table is now very much on the table in Libby. Unknown to most of the public, Baucus inserted a section into the health reform bill that covers the suffering people of Libby, Montana, not just the former miners but the whole community—all covered by Medicare.

  • They don’t have to be 65 years old or more.
  • They don’t have to wait until 2014 for the state exchanges.
  • No ten year roll out—it’s immediate.
  • They don’t have to purchase a plan—this is not a buy-in to Medicare—it’s free.
  • They don’t have to be disabled for two years before they apply.
  • They don’t have to go without care for three years until Medicaid expands.
  • They don’t have to meet income tests.
  • They don’t have to apply for a subsidy.
  • They don’t have to pay a fine for failure to buy insurance.
  • They don’t have to hope that the market will make a plan affordable.
  • They don’t have to hide their pre-existing conditions.
  • They don’t have to find a job that provides coverage.

Baucus inserted a clause in the Affordable Care Act to make special arrangements for them in Medicare, and he didn’t wait for any Congressional Budget Office scoring to do it.

30 Mar 2011

Solution to a Busted VEBA: Single Payer Health Care, HR 676

VEBAs are spreading. Many companies seek to shift their liability for future health costs to the workers or the union through establishment of a VEBA.

So how do unions and workers, who are in danger of losing health benefits for which they worked for decades, fight back? Educate and organize for national single payer health care, HR 676, an improved Medicare for all. Build a movement that demands it. Spread the word. March for it.