Michael Dodge, President of the Vermillion County Federation of Labor in Danville, Illinois, reports that his labor council has endorsed HR 676, Expanded and Improved Medicare for All, the single payer legislation sponsored by Congressman John Conyers of Michigan.
The council, which represents 13 local unions, is active in social movements for workers and holds one of the largest Labor Day parades in Illinois outside of Chicago. President Dodge is the Steward of United Steelworkers Local 972 which represents the workers at Bunge of North America where he has worked for 25 years.
Dodge has been active in fighting for workers for 40 years and has been a supporter of single payer healthcare for the last 25. He first heard about this solution to health care problems when he went with his union to hear Dr. Quentin Young speak about it in Chicago. The late Dr. Young was a founder of Physicians for a National Health Program, the doctors’ organization that plays a key role in education and organization of the single payer movement.
“Other industrialized countries already have single payer health care,” said Dodge, “We’re about the only one that doesn’t.” He said that through his union he has had the opportunity to speak with co-workers in Canada who are all covered by a single payer system yet pay about the same percentage of their pay in taxes as workers in the United States.
Dodge said that he pays $182 per week for family coverage bringing his annual share of the premium to not much under $10,000 a year—a hefty bite out of a worker’s pay.
Dodge has a message for his fellow unionists: “Keep fighting the fight—don’t give up cause that’s when they win.”