SEIU Members Launch Unprecedented Health Care Campaign

The Service Employee’s International Union (SEIU) launched a sweeping, $75 million campaign to elect a pro-health care president and Congress and to make health care affordable for all Americans.

“A victory in the voting booth only matters if it translates into real help for the millions of American families who are struggling to make ends meet,” said SEIU Secretary-Treasurer Anna Burger. “So, our members will be working around the country to elect a new President on November 4 with the mandate to fix our broken health care system. And on November 5, we will hit the ground running to make that mandate a reality.”

On Feb.6, SEIU’s chapter in the state of Washington announced it was endorsing presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. The union, which has about 100,000 members statewide, previously endorsed former Sen. John Edwards, who dropped out of the race Jan. 30 after a dismal showing in early contests.

As part of its campaign, SEIU will work in the following ways to make health care the central issue in the election and to help elect a president committed to fixing the health care system:

  • Paid advertising in targeted markets will draw sharp distinctions between the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees’ approach to health care, and what those differences will mean to working families.
  • Beginning in March, “The Road to Health Care,” a nationwide tour, will travel through battleground states on its way to the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, stopping in communities small and large to highlight real people who are struggling to afford health care.
  • SEIU’s one million health care workers, who are on the front lines of the health care crisis, will draw upon their unique understanding of the issue to demand real solutions.
  • Organizers will collect thousands of health care stories, giving voice to the millions of people with and without coverage who are finding it impossible to keep up with rising health care costs.
  • SEIU’s Americans for Health Care project, which already has played a key role in passing health care legislation in states like Maine, Maryland and Massachusetts, will continue to recruit and mobilize hundreds of thousands of “Health Care Voters” who pledge only to support candidates who make health care a top priority.

In addition, SEIU will continue to partner with consumer groups, activist organizations and leaders from the business community in issue-based coalitions working to solve the health care crisis.

“Americans want change, and it’s time make the dream of affordable health care a reality for everyone in this country,” Burger said. “SEIU members are ready to seize this moment, and help build a new American health care system for all working families.”

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