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Resolution #32
Committee Referred: Political Action


WHEREAS: Working people in Florida face a continuing crisis in the accessibility to and affordability of health care. After a 12% increase this year, health insurance rates are predicted to jump by 15-25% over the next 2 years (Florida Times Union, September 6, 2001) with no end in sight; and

WHEREAS: Our raises are eaten up by these increases as employers pass on the rising costs. For example, our union, AFSCME, negotiated a 3% pay increase for State University System employees this year but we face a 15% increase in our health insurance premiums at the University of Florida; and

WHEREAS: Due to the current system of job-based insurance, our unions have to spend more and more time bargaining for healthcare benefits, employers use health insurance as a threat to keep us from organizing or exercising our rights on the job, and striking or locked-out workers face the added pressure of losing their family coverage; and

WHEREAS: The Florida AFL-CIO "2001 Legislative Priorities" states "Health care legislation that provides both availability and patient protection for all citizens of Florida is a priority for the Florida AFL-CIO.
We will continue to fight for such basic rights" and a national AFL-CIO 1999 resolution stated "We think that ultimately the only answer to the nation's health care crisis is universal coverage"; and

WHEREAS: Poll after poll - including a November 2000 non-binding referendum in Alachua County, led by the Alachua County Labor Party, which got 65% of the vote - shows Floridians want a universal health care system that eliminates the role of private insurance companies and HMOs; and

WHEREAS: For the purpose of this resolution, universal health care means the State of Florida contracts with health care providers in Florida to provide all necessary health care to all Floridians (also known as "single-payer"); and

WHEREAS: Universal health care would actually cost MUCH LESS than the private insurance system we have now and would include benefits for the entire family, access to quality health care whether you have a job or not, complete choice of doctors, hospitals and other providers, and no bills, paperwork or out-of-pocket expenses; and

WHEREAS: The Alachua County Labor Party proposes to reassemble a coalition to win universal health care in Florida by encouraging nonbinding referenda on county ballots in 2002 and a universal health care constitutional amendment on the 2004 statewide ballot; and

WHEREAS: Such a campaign to win universal health care in Florida will help get out the union and working people's vote in the pivotal 2002 and 2004 elections; and

WHEREAS: A victory on a universal health care constitutional amendment in 2004 would be like a win at every bargaining table across the state of Florida; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Florida AFL-CIO and its affiliates strongly support the Alachua County Labor Party's efforts to encourage nonbinding referenda on universal health care on ballots in several Florida counties for the 2002 elections.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Florida AFL-CIO and its affiliates strongly support the Alachua County Labor Party's efforts to build a campaign to place a universal health care constitutional amendment on the 2004 Florida ballot.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the Florida AFL-CIO encourages all affiliated unions and bodies to actively join in this effort. That involvement would include, but not be limited to, helping to collect a portion of the 480,000 signatures required to put the constitutional amendment on the 2004 ballot.

Respectfully submitted,

Mark Piotrowski, Secretary, AFSCME 3340
Sharon Bauer, President, AFSCME 3340
Candace Churchill, Secretary,
Graduate Assistants United - FEA
Larry Thompson, AFSCME 3038

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