VT Unions Call for Vermont to Lead the Way on Healthcare

Unions Announce Mobilization to Ensure Legislature’s Healthcare Bill Establishes Quality Healthcare For All Vermonters

WHAT: Statehouse press conference with leaders representing over a dozen Vermont labor unions join Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign to push forward for a universal healthcare system.

WHEN: 12pm, Friday, February 25th

WHERE: Cedar Creek Room, Statehouse, Montpelier

WHO: Over a dozen Vermont labor unions have joined the Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign to organize to make Vermont the first state in the country with a universal healthcare system which is founded in human rights principles and provides quality care as a public good. Led by Vermont’s nurses union, speaking at the rally will include leaders from United Professions of Vermont/AFT, United Nurses & Allied Professions, United Electrical Workers, Communication Workers of America (CWA), Vermont State Labor Council AFL-CIO and Vermont Building & Construction Trades Council.

Vermont union leaders and members recognize the importance of a health system that is de-coupled from employment and provides quality care for all working people–union and non-union alike. As Earl Mongeon, who works at IBM and is a member of CWA Local 1701, explains:

"Our current system of job-based, private insurance is broken and needs fundamental change. Every year it healthcare costs more and more, and as a result it equals an annual paycut because any pay increase is totally eaten up by increased healthcare costs. Healthcare should be treated as a basic right, as a public good for every Vermont resident. If we devoted all our healthcare dollars to actually taking care of people, we would save more than enough money to cover Vermonters who don’t have any insurance now or can’t afford to use the insurance plans we have because of big deductibles and co-payments. It’s long past time that we had healthcare as a human right."

The Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign testifying to the House Committee on Healthcare at 1pm in Room 10. Copies of the testimony will be made available, and interviews with campaign leaders will be possible leading up to the event.

“When the door is open for all to receive health and wellness care they need, everyone in society benefits. Cost is reduced because serious illness is prevented. More citizens are able to participate productively in their communities. We urge our legislators and Governor to do the right thing: to support the principle that health care is a human right – it is a public good and not a commodity – and work with us to lead the nation in creating significant reform for not-for-profit, quality, universal healthcare for all,” said Mari Cordes, RN, President of Vermont Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals – UPV/AFT.

BACKGROUND: In 2008, the Vermont Workers’ Center launched the Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign. After the campaign publicized the stories of thousands of Vermonters, conducted a statewide petition, and held events, rallies, and People’s Forums in dozens of cities and towns, the legislature passed Act 128 in 2010. This bill committed Vermont to designing a health system based on human rights principles. In January 2011, Dr. William Hsiao, a Harvard economist and health policy expert, came to Vermont and proposed three options for this new health system. On February 8, 2011, H.202/S.57 was introduced in the State House which the the Shumlin administration calls a “road map to a single-payer and unified health care system.” Today, the Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign is continuing its mobilizing and organizing work across the state to hold H.202/S.57 to standards that protect every Vermonters’ human right to quality healthcare.

Campaign Website:
Assessment of H.202/S.57: Summary of H.202/S.57:

Contact: James Haslam, Vermont Workers’ Center, 802-272-0882