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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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Make My Labor Day Sweepstakes for union members

upUnion members built this country, and our dedication keeps it running. To celebrate the folks that make America possible, Union Plus is bringing Labor Day back to its roots. It’s time to show our appreciation, and cook up a little fun in the process.

Union members should head to UnionPlus.org/Contest to vote for their favorite labor hero. In honor of our heritage, and to make Labor Day even more awesome, three union members who vote and enter will be rewarded with $500. Don’t wait too long to enter, because this sweepstakes ends Saturday, September 12, 2015.

Head to UnionPlus.org/Contest, and vote for one of these labor heroes!

  • Cesar Chavez: Inspirational labor leader and co-founder of the United Farm Workers.
  • Eugene V. Debs: Tireless labor leader who founded the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).
  • Samuel Gompers: First and longest-serving American Federation of Labor (AFL) president.
  • Mary “Mother” Jones: Fearless organizer of Mine Workers once labeled “the most dangerous woman in America.”
  • Lucy Parsons: Fought for workers’ rights during the oppressive industrial system of 19th century Chicago.
  • Frances Perkins: The first woman cabinet member who served as Secretary of Labor for 12 years.
  • Philip Randolph: Organized the first predominantly black labor union, the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.
  • Walter Reuther: Won unmatched benefits for workers as United Auto Workers president from 1946 to 1970.

Thanks for playing, and let’s make the best Monday ever even better.

 

 

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.

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