Southern Workers Medicare for All Campaign

#OrganizetheSouth      #Medicare4All

Over the weekend of June 15-16, over 40 Southern workers from 4 unions including the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), National Nurses United, International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1422 met for a Workers School and to launch a Southern Workers Medicare for All campaign. ILA local 1422 hosted the meeting in their impressive union hall. 

In the lead up to the 2020 elections, the Southern Workers Assembly is encouraging all workers organizations to raise up a workers program demanding #UnionsforAll,  wages of $15 per hour for all workers, end Right-to-Work (for less) laws, and the demand for affordable healthcare, specifically for the passage of the bills in US Congress for expanded and improved Medicare for All (HR1384/S1129).  Many of presidential candidates are split, or have different plans for fixing the broken US healthcare system. By having a clearly-defined, unifying demand, we can advance our struggles during this electoral period, regardless of who wins the election.  The SWA believes that by building a workers-led, Southern movement for Medicare for All it can help to draw non-union workers into our movement, and build union-workplace organization across the South.  

A major part of this campaign is doing workplace-based education of workers, including doing outreach to non-union workplaces with informational leaflets about the campaign, given that most all workers still primarily receive health insurance through their employer.  Improved Medicare for All would reduce the reliance of workers on their employers, by providing every access to quality healthcare whether you are employed or not employed. It would also take bargaining for health care off the table, which most unions spend lots of time and clout bargaining over. Instead, this energy could be spent on bargaining members better wage increases, paid time off, safety protocols and other much needed improvements. 

As part of this campaign, the SWA hopes to organize city-wide committees, lead by workplace organizations to do broader workplace and community outreach, eventually hosting public Town Hall meetings with the plan to pass resolutions in city and county councils across the South. Already at least three cities including St. Petersburg, FL,  Durham, NC and Carrboro, NC have already passed such resolutions.  

The campaign plans to have bi-weekly conference calls every other Sunday night at 6pm. If you would be interested in coordinating for your area, or joining these calls, please contact us at info@southernworker.org or 919-539-2051. 

Build a Workplace Committee for Medicare for All

Strategic Goals:
  • Build a workers-led, Southern movement for Medicare for All
  • Educate and mobilize thousands of Southern workers around healthcare justice.
  • Tighten up network to build Southern Workers Assembly.
  • Identify new workplaces where SWA member organizations exist to do new union organizing.
  • Pass resolutions in southern city council and county commissioners in support of HR1384/S1129.

First 3 months campaign outline: 3 stages of building:

Stage 1: Build WORKPLACE committees for Medicare for All

Month 1 

  • Identify workplaces to be brought into this campaign – they can be union or unorganized.
  • Develop leafletting brigade of 2-4 people to help leaflet at early morning and afternoon shift changes at workplaces. 
  • Distribute educational literature targeting workersinside workplaces. (Goal to have fliers passed out to 50% of workers at each workplace.)
  • Collect worker contact information(phone and email) and have small after work meetings. Ask workers to sign pledge cards.
  • In those workplaces identify 2-3 worker leadersto be part of the internal M4A committee. (These committee members do not have to be current elected officers/stewards, encourage new members to step forward to engage this campaign.)

Stage 2: Develop City-wide Committees, Continue internal workplace outreach/education

Month 2 

  • Continue to circulate educational leaflets and pledge cards inside workplaces.
  • Circulate video – workers speaking out for Medicare for All
  • Submit public records requests to city councils to identify costs of healthcare and overall saving if M4A passes.
  • Identify other community organizations and unions to join City-Wide Committees of Southern Workers for Medicare4All campaign. Be creative, community organizations can be churches, social organizations such as masonic temples and motorbike clubs.
  • Invite workers to workplace meetings, union chapter meetings for education, screen video (few are available: “Fix It”, “Power to Heal”, and others).
  • Host first meetings of the City Wide Committees for Southern Workers for Medicare4All campaign lead by workplace leaders in UE150, NNU and ILA, but inviting other unions and community orgs.
  • Goal to have committees in 10 Southern cities.
  • Workplace chapters should reach out to city council officials to have private meetings to discuss MedicareForAll

Stage 3: Month 3 – Wider outreach

  • Each workplace committee and/or city-wide committee should identify 2 non-union workplaces, preferably city workers or hospitals, to do mass workplace outreach. Goal to distribute ?? fliers at each. (determine goal collectively on upcoming conference call) Collect contact information to be given to industry union (UE, NNU, etc). Numbers can be entered into MedicareforAll.org online national database.
  • Where possible hold Town Hall forums, inviting city council, state legislature and US Congresspeople to listen to workers speak out demanding M4A.
  • Identify big churches in town – meet with church leadership, request to pass out M4A education fliers and gather pledge forms on Sundays. Also map out church congregations to identify workplaces and contacts to follow-up with about workplace organizing.
  • Develop and submit resolutions to city councils. Resolutions should also include portion requesting unions to access to city workplace departments to educate workers about M4A.
  • Identify one big community event – Flea Market, Music Festival, Bus Station, etc – to circulate fliers and gather pledges to build for Town Halls

——————–

February 2020 – SC Primaries

March 2020 – NC Primaries

—–→ Organize mass worker-community picket lines at City Halls to draw attention to M4A

Bi-Weekly Conference Calls of the Southern-wide network to coordinate/report back on campaign progress. 

Dates for Conference calls:

June 30, Sunday, 6-7pm

July 14, Sunday, 6-7pm

July 28, Sunday, 6-7pm

August 11, Sunday, 6-7pm

August 25, Sunday, 6-7pm

September 8, Sunday, 6-7pm

September 20-22: Next Proposed Campaign Network Meeting/Workers School/ Public Events

– To be held in Charlotte, NC