Teamsters Local 705 of Chicago has endorsed HR 676, the national single payer health care legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers. The local is among the largest representing over 15,000 members who work in the trucking, moving and shipping industries including United Parcel Services (UPS) in the Chicago area.

The bill is still on the table in the 111th Congress with 87 co-sponsors in addition to Congressman Conyers.

UPS Steward Joe Balkis made the motion to endorse HR 676, David Bernt seconded it, and it was approved by the membership.

Joe Balkis commented “UPS raised the health and welfare payments for our retirees from $50 for a single to over $157 monthly, over $315 for a member and spouse, and over $400 for a family plan. This was a violation
of our contract and of ERISA laws. We filed a class action lawsuit and beat them.”

Balkis continued, “But we can see by this where they are going to be going in the next contract negotiations. UPS pulled this jack move and in the next contract the company will want to put us in a lesser plan or raise
the payments. That’s why we should pass single payer health care, and the international unions should support single payer health care and take industrial action to press for it.”

A total of 14 Teamster locals or other IBT bodies have endorsed HR 676. In addition to Local 705, they include Local 619 GCC/IBT in Louisville; Division 4 of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers BLET/IBT in Toledo;
Local 4N in San Francisco; Ohio State Legislative Board BLET/IBT in Columbus, Ohio; Lithographers Local 1L in New Jersey; Local 546M in Cleveland; Local 559 in South Windsor, Connecticut; Local 31-N in Baltimore; Local 805 in Long Island City; Local 612M in West Caldwell, New Jersey; Local 767M in Kent, Washington; Local 6-505M in Maryland Heights, Missouri; and Local 206 of Portland, Oregon.

HR 676 would institute a single payer health care system by expanding a greatly improved Medicare system to everyone residing in the U.S.

HR 676 would cover every person for all necessary medical care including prescription drugs, hospital, surgical, outpatient services, primary and preventive care, emergency services, dental, mental health, home health, physical therapy, rehabilitation (including for substance abuse), vision care, hearing services including hearing aids, chiropractic, durable medical equipment, palliative care, and long term care.

HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 676 would save hundreds of billions annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private health insurance industry and HMOs.

In the current Congress, HR 676 has 87 co-sponsors in addition to Conyers.

HR 676 has been endorsed by 581 union organizations in 49 states including 135 Central Labor Councils and Area Labor Federations and 39 state AFL-CIO’s (KY, PA, CT, OH, DE, ND, WA, SC, WY, VT, FL, WI, WV, SD, NC, MO, MN, ME, AR, MD-DC, TX, IA, AZ, TN, OR, GA, OK, KS, CO, IN, AL, CA, AK, MI, MT, NE, NY, NV & MA).

For further information, a list of union endorsers, or a sample endorsement resolution, visit UnionsForSinglePayerHR676.org.

1 Comment

  1. Joe Elliott on April 13, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    I think that we need to continue informing the community on what single payer is on every level(on a local, state and national),but at some point(whenever the opportunity is there)we need to approach the government and say “this is what we need,and we are not leaving until we get it!”