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nwlaborpress.org

July 3, 2009 Volume 110 Number 13

NW Oregon Labor Council the latest union group to back HR 676

The largest central labor council in Oregon has endorsed House Resolution 676, the single-payer health care bill introduced by Michigan Congressman John Conyers.

Delegates to the Northwest Oregon Labor Council voted June 22 to back the bill. The resolution was brought to the council by affiliates United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48.

The endorsement wasn’t unanimous, as a delegate representing Teamsters Joint Council No 37 voted against it.

HR 676 would institute a single- payer health care system by expanding the Medicare system to all U.S. citizens. The system would cover every person for all necessary medical care, including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, dental, mental health, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation (including for substance abuse), vision care, hearing services including hearing aids, chiropractic, durable medical equipment, palliative care, and long term care.

Its sponsors say HR 676 would end deductibles and co-payments, saving hundreds of billions annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private health insurance industry and HMOs.

HR 676 has 93 House co-sponsors, in addition to Conyers. Jim McDermott of Seattle is the only congressman from the Pacific Northwest supporting the bill.

HR 676 has the backing of 541 union organizations in 49 states, including the Oregon AFL-CIO and Washington State Labor Council.

NOLC is the 128th central labor council nationwide to endorse the legislation. Also on board in Oregon are the Southern Oregon Labor Council; Central Oregon Labor Council; and Marion, Polk, and Yamhill Counties Central Labor Council.

Nineteen international unions are backing the bill, including United Steelworkers of America; United Auto Workers; National Education Association; International Longshore and Warehouse Union; National Association of Letter Carriers; Machinists; Plumbers and Fitters; American Federation of Musicians; Sheet Metal Workers; Office and Professional Employees; American Federation of Teachers; Service Employees International Union; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; California Nurses Association; Communications Workers of America; Utility Workers Union of America; International Federation of Professional and Technical Employees; United Transportation Union; and United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.

For more about the bill, go to: www.unionsforsinglepayer.org