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Medicare and Medicaid Turn 50

via wpr.org

via wpr.org

Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law legislation that established the Medicare and Medicaid programs—our country’s first major form of national health care.

Prior to Medicare, very few Americans over the age of 65 had health care and many lived in poverty. Similar to the Affordable Care Act, the idea of establishing a national health care safety net for older Americans was contentious.  President Roosevelt stopped short of including a federal health insurance program in the Social Security Act of 1935 in order to avoid jeopardizing the bill’s passage, and both Presidents Truman and Kennedy tried and failed to pass legislation to establish a health insurance program for older Americans.

President Johnson made Medicare a top priority as part of his War on Poverty, and launched an aggressive and successful campaign to pass the legislation.  On July 30, 1965, President Johnson traveled to the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, to sign Medicare into law, and presented President Truman and his wife with the first two Medicare cards.

At the signing ceremony, President Johnson said, “No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years. No longer will young families see their own incomes, and their own hopes, eaten away simply because they are carrying out their deep moral obligations to their parents, and to their uncles, and their aunts. And no longer will this Nation refuse the hand of justice to those who have given a lifetime of service and wisdom and labor to the progress of this progressive country.”

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Upgrading Malaysia’s Status: Bad for Human Rights and American Workers

“It’s a shame President Obama and his administration will go to such lengths to impose another free trade agreement on American workers.”

via The Diplomat

via The Diplomat

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement in response to the Obama administration’s decision to upgrade Malaysia’s position in its annual Trafficking in Persons report.

“We are greatly disappointed by the State Department’s decision to upgrade Malaysia in its annual human trafficking report. Removing Malaysia from its tier 3 status is a clear and premeditated political decision by the Obama Administration to eliminate any possible stumbling block for the passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement.

“At a time when American workers are grappling with increasing uncertainty, income inequality and stagnating wages, this administration and this Congress have shown they would rather protect corporate interests over the concerns of everyday American workers. Hard-working men and women will now lose their jobs or struggle to earn a good income because of a trade deal negotiated in secret by for-hire special interest henchmen.

“Labor and human rights cannot, and should not, be negotiated to appease the economic interests of a few. The workers of Malaysia and of America deserve better. Shame on you for prioritizing a trade agreement over the well-being of America’s hardworking families.”

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Join the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) online at www.ufcw.org

We are 1.3 million families standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family deserves.

www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational     @UFCW

UFCW President Perrone Statement on the Equality Act

“No one should be fired or discriminated against because of who they are or love.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Marc Perrone, International President of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), today released the following statement in pridesupport of the introduction of the Equality Act.

“Workers across America go to work every day in fear that they will be fired for simply being who they are. From state to state, LGBTQ workers do not have the adequate protections from being discriminated against or from losing their jobs because of who they love or because of their gender identity or expression.

“The Equality Act takes meaningful steps towards ensuring better protections for LGBTQ workers and families. The fact that so many workers continue to face discrimination at their workplace, often with little recourse, demonstrates that we must continue working towards building the better America each and every one of us deserves.

“Currently union contracts are often the only protection LGBTQ workers and their families have to combat discrimination. Our UFCW family strongly supports full equality for LGBTQ people both at home and on the job. We support the basic right for everyone to have employment opportunities and to keep their job regardless sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.

“Our legislators should follow the path that labor has set for LGBTQ equality and protections. For the better America we all believe in, I urge Congress to pass the Equality Act.”

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Join the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) online at www.ufcw.org

We are 1.3 million families standing together to build an economy that every hard-working family deserves.

www.facebook.com/UFCWinternational     @UFCW