Chicago UAW Local 551 Endorses HR 676, Improved Medicare for All

At its February meeting, UAW Local 551, which represents workers at Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant, endorsed HR 676, Congressman John Conyers’ national single payer legislation, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act.

UAW Local 551 Vice President Scott Houldieson reports that the local “made note that negotiations over healthcare continue to consume a large portion of the money the union negotiates over. This holds back wages and pensions.”

“We also believe in Social Justice for all workers,” said Houldieson. “Because of this we know that a single payer system covering every American from cradle to grave is the moral thing to do.”

Houldieson says that the local “took guidance from the delegates to the 35th Constitutional Convention which set International UAW policy. At that convention we debated our support for the Affordable Care Act, noting that while the Act was a step in the right direction, we still believe National single Payer Health care is the proper remedy.”

The Chicago Assembly Plant, where UAW Local 551 workers build the Ford Taurus, Ford Explorer, and the Police Interceptor, is the company’s oldest continually-operated automobile manufacturing plant. The local also represents workers at Voith, ABM, and USA.

Hale Landes of IBEW Local 134 reports that the Labor Outreach Committee of the Illinois Single Payer Coalition initiated the discussion of endorsement of HR 676 with the UAW local.

The resolution passed the UAW Local 551 Executive Board unanimously and was approved by the membership with the approval of the Board minutes. The full resolution is below:

UAW Local 551 Resolution to Support Single Payer Health Care
WHEREAS, the delegates to the 35th Constitutional Convention while supporting the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as a good beginning step stated; We remain convinced that a single-payer system is the best way to control costs while providing universal access to high quality care; and we are committed to building an aggressive strategy to educate lobby and mobilize to achieve that goal; and WHEREAS, many in Congress have called for the repeal and replacement of the ACA; and WHEREAS, workers, their families, and their unions are waging an increasingly difficult struggle to win or keep good health benefits; and WHEREAS, almost every union at every contract deadline must battle and sacrifice merely to sustain health insurance benefits; and WHEREAS, the rising cost of health insurance premiums are blocking worker progress in wages, job growth, and other areas. All of our unions face a health care crisis; and WHEREAS, economic necessities and moral conscience compel us to seek a better way; and WHEREAS, Congressman John Conyers Jr. has introduced H.R. 676, the United States National Health Insurance Act. A.K.A. “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All;” and WHEREAS, H.R. 676 will cover every person in the United States for all necessary medical care from birth to death; therefore be it RESOLVED that UAW Local 551 endorses Congressman Conyers H.R. 676 Bill “Expanded and Improved Medicare for All;” and be it further RESOLVED that UAW Local 551 will work with other unions and community groups to build support and action for H.R. 676 until we make what is morally right for our nation into what is also politically possible; and be it finally RESOLVED that UAW Local 551 will take other actions to mobilize our members and the community at a grassroots level, to encourage other members of the House to sign on as co-sponsors of H.R. 676 and to encourage Senators to introduce a companion bill in the Senate.