One Year After Voting for Change, SEIU Celebrates Victories for Working Families

Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–November 4, 2009.  One year after working families voted for change, electing President Barack Obama and progressive candidates up and down the ballot, SEIU released the statement of SEIU President Andy Stern on some of the remarkable progress that has already been achieved for working families.

“There’s an old saying, ‘We make the road by walking.’ Today, even in the face of historic opposition to change, there’s no question that Barack Obama and the pro-worker members of Congress we elected last November have taken every step with working families at their side.

“There is much more to be done, but together, we’ve stopped our economy from spiraling into a global depression. We’ve taken big first steps for people like Lilly Ledbetter, for whom the Fair Pay Act is named, andPat DeJong, a homecare aide who lost her ranch after medical bills piled up after her husband was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. We’ve come farther on health insurance reform than anyone would have believed a year ago, and we are going to pass real and meaningful change this year that makes quality healthcare affordable for all Americans.

“And along with the policy shifts we are witnessing, there is a change in culture as well. When Jordan Barab, the new Assistant Secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, took office, he replaced the conference room photos of OSHA managers with photos of workers who’ve been killed on the job. How’s that for a change in attitude?

“Over this past year, we’ve made important strides towards rebuilding our economy, repairing our leadership role in the global community, and creating plans for a stronger future through investments in alternative and renewable energy. And right now, this Administration, with the support of working people all over this country, is working hard to pass comprehensive health insurance reform, create good jobs and give consumers a real check against our big financial institutions.

“Real change is never achieved quickly or without a fight, but if we keep walking on the path we’re on, together, we’ll build a strong middle class.”

This year, SEIU has worked together with President Obama and members of Congress to:

  • Make law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which has been responsible for creating or saving 650,000 jobs;
  • Sign into law the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act;
  • Pass a budget that includes a historic commitment to health insurance reform, and work with Congress to ensure that comprehensive reform passes in 2009;
  • Make significant investments in green jobs;
  • Appoint cabinet secretaries that working families can count on, including Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and HHS Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius;
  • Provide a pathway to legal status for young people who were brought to the U.S. as undocumented immigrant children through the DREAM Act;
  • Pass a sweeping expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides healthcare coverage to an additional 4 million children of working families;
  • Create a Middle Class Task Force and a Presidential Economic Recovery Advisory Board, and allow working families representatives like Anna Burger on it;
  • Create a Consumer Financial Protection Agency, to protect consumers from the unfair practices of our largest financial institutions.