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SEIU To Congress: Mark Labor Day With Pledge To Bring Affordable Healthcare, Labor Reform

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As Congress looks ahead to the first Labor Day without the guiding hand of Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) called on Congress to mark the holiday with a renewed pledge to bring affordable healthcare and meaningful labor law reform to working families.

“This Labor Day, nothing is more critical to working families—and we could do no greater honor to Senator Kennedy’s memory—than passing the sort of health insurance reform that would make him proud. The bottom line is simple: we cannot restore economic balance and bring prosperity to all Americans without drastically bringing down healthcare costs and ensuring that all Americans are guaranteed quality, affordable healthcare,” said SEIU International President Andy Stern. “And we cannot do it without Congress’s leadership.”

On Labor Day weekend, SEIU will participate in large-scale events across the country to call for healthcare reform, including this Saturday, Sept 5, when thousands will gather in Indianapolis, and on Monday, when SEIU will join with President Obama in Cincinnati.

The events are merely the latest actions from the nation’s largest healthcare union, whose 2.1 million members have played a leading role in bringing healthcare to the forefront of the Congressional agenda and the national debate. Since recess began, SEIU members and activists have participated in more than 300 town halls and hundreds of other events—from candlelight vigils to neighborhood canvasses.

“If we don’t solve our national healthcare crisis, we will put the American Dream permanently out of reach for millions of Americans,” said SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger. “Working with President Obama and leadership in Congress, we have made great strides for working families. But the skyrocketing costs of healthcare, if not addressed immediately, threaten to virtually eliminate the other gains we’ve made.”

SEIU’s leadership in the healthcare debate can be traced back to the early days of the 2008 election, when SEIU hosted the first presidential forum on healthcare—ensuring that every serious Democratic primary candidate had a serious healthcare reform proposal. Post-election, SEIU’s Change that Works campaign has mobilized thousands of people across 35 states to keep the pressure on lawmakers to keep their campaign promises to reform our healthcare system.

SEIU is also continuing its fight for meaningful labor law reform. On September 10, nearly 300 progressive activists from across the country will fly to Washington to lobby on the Employee Free Choice Act. The law would allow workers to bargain with their employers for job security, better healthcare and retirement benefits. Since President Obama took office, SEIU members have made great strides towards restoring the American Dream for working families, including.

Helping President Obama pass the historic State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) legislation, covering nearly 11 million children; Passing the Act Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and executive orders that leveled the playing field for all workers;  Shedding light on corporate irresponsibility by continuously revealing just how big banks helped drive our economy into the ground with failed financial models that make CEOs richer at the expense of shareholders, workers, and our economy.

Urging the White House and Congress to quickly pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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