That was the message from Bay Area members of Congress to Local 21 at our International Union’s Legislative Conference in Washington DC earlier this month.
More than 100 IFPTE member leaders from throughout the United States and Canada attended the conference including Local 21 leaders Renée Sykes, Dean Coate, Larry Griffin, Moses Corrette and Carletta Starks. Rachel Richman, Policy and Political Director for Local 21 participated in a panel on the impact of proposed federal changes on local unions. Delegates applauded after learning about Local 21’s early activism.
Our delegation met with Sen. Diane Feinstein, staff to Sen. Kamala Harris, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee. They said that the sheer number of phone calls, letters, emails, and attendance at local town hall meetings was definitely having an impact on federal proposals. We were strongly encouraged to be more active on issues of importance to our members and the communities we serve. Please see below for actions you can take part in right now.
We delivered two key messages:
- Maintain Federal Funding of Local Government Programs: We urged that there be no repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or rollbacks of Medicare or Medi-Cal without a comparable or better replacement. These programs bring millions of dollars to local government and are key components of the safety net for low and middle-income residents. The Representatives assured us that they would stand strong in support of local government funding, the ACA, Medi-Cal and Medicare. We were also reassured to learn that the federal government likely has limited authority to penalize Sanctuary Communities, where an overwhelming majority of Local 21 members work.
- Protect Labor Rights: We urged them to oppose any Supreme Court nominee with a bent to undermine the ability of labor unions to represent members and negotiate fair contracts. Again, our representatives were very supportive. As the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary committee, Sen. Diane Feinstein will wait until after the hearings on nominee Neil Gorsuch in mid- April to announce her position, but we expect support from her on the issue of labor rights.
Get ready to get busy! Here are some actions you can take right now:
NO repeal of the affordable care act without a comparable or better replacement.
Call your member of Congress today to urge them to oppose the repeal of the ACA, cuts to Medi Cal and Medicare. Click here to be automatically connected: http://fight4ourhealth.org/
Congressmembers need to hear your stories. Do you have an adult child covered under your insurance policy up to age 26 as required by the ACA? Do you have a family member with a pre-existing condition who was unable to get affordable insurance until the ACA? Do you have friends or a small business that you patronize who buy their insurance through the ACA? You can make a difference by sharing those stories. Fight4OurHealth is a statewide coalition of labor, health care groups and advocacy organizations collecting stories. Click here to share yours: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/ShareYourACAStory
RAISE YOUR VOICE!
March 12, Berkeley: ACA Town Hall with Rep. Barbara Lee:
Top image: IFPTE Local 21 members with U.S. California Senator Diane Feinstein.
Bottom image: IFPTE Local 21 members with U.S. New Jersey Senator Corey Booker.