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Mary Kay Henry
Mary Kay Henry (SEIU)

The SEIU held its convention from May 28-30. The union's president, Mary Kay Henry, was unanimously reelected by delegates. Delegates also:

[...] endorsed a comprehensive program to engage in unprecedented levels of coordination with strategic partners and to recruit, train and mobilize more than 100,000 member-leaders across the union who will reach out to friends, neighbors and co-workers to demand justice for the 99%.
On Thursday, The Bilerico Project's Bil Browning reported from the convention that:
During yesterday's gathering the delegates passed a resolution that the many SEIU locals bargain for trans-inclusive heath care as part of their contracts. The SEIU International offices already offer trans-inclusive health care benefits to employees.

I went to watch as the delegates debated the issue and came away incredibly impressed. While I expected there to be push back on the measure, instead it was brought to the floor and the delegates were allowed 40 minutes to debate. Every single person who got up to speak was in favor of the resolution; no one spoke in opposition. It easily passed.

Having SEIU locals bargaining for trans-inclusive health care is a step toward such care not being so difficult to get—the more employers, the more insurance programs, the more doctors who are expected to be trans-inclusive, the more likely people who don't have SEIU bargaining for their health care will be to find those doctors.

  • No matter where you live, you can help turn out voters to defeat Scott Walker by using the Friends and Neighbors tool created by our partners at the AFL-CIO and Workers' Voice. Friends and Neighbors is an extremely effective tool because it puts you in touch with Wisconsin voters you have already connected with online. In other words, you won't be contacting strangers.

    Please, click here to help turn out voters to defeat Scott Walker by signing up for Friends and Neighbors. You can sign up either by using your Facebook log-in or by filling out a short form.

  • Unionized art handlers at Sotheby's are going back to work after a 10-month lockout. Most importantly, Teamster workers won't be replaced with temps.
  • Like wrestlers, mixed martial arts fighters are seriously exploited and could really use a union.
  • If you're afraid of heights like me, where just looking up at a crane operating hundreds of feet in the air makes you a little queasy, reading this New York Times story about crane operators (members of the International Union of Operating Engineers) on 1 World Trade Center may be uncomfortable. But their skill, and the safety precautions that are necessary in their work, is fascinating.
  • Speaking of jobs not for the acrophobic and requiring a lot of skill and safety training, the Ironworkers are investing in training for work on wind turbine construction.
  • May 30, 1937:
    Chicago police opened fire on strikers in front of the Republic Steel mill, killing 10 workers. Part of the “Little Steel” strike, where smaller steel corporations refused to follow U.S. Steel into signing contracts with the Steel Workers Organizing Committee (later United Steelworkers of America), the Memorial Day Massacre was one of the last great spasms of organized, lethal state violence against labor in American labor history.
    And it was caught on film.
  • Stimulus at work:
  • Government over-regulation at work: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited New York chicken processor Murray's Chickens for eight violations, six of them serious. Not all employers suck on safety, though. OSHA also singled out Nextera Energy Horse Hollow, a wind power generation facility and NuStar Energy, a petroleum pipeline company, for good workplace safety.
  • What's so important about collective bargaining?
  • Katha Pollitt on wage theft:
    In the first episode of the HBO comedy Girls, young Brooklyn hipster and would-be writer Hannah, outraged when her visiting parents cut off her allowance, steals the tips they’ve left for the hotel housekeepers. It’s a funny scene—partly because it tells us something about the ruthlessness beneath Hannah’s blurry indecisiveness, but also because it’s just so outrageous. What kind of crummy, selfish person would take rent and food money from hard-working women? In comedy: an overindulged Oberlin grad. In real life: the housekeepers’ supervisor.
  • The underreported story of Scott Walker and foreclosure fraud.
  • Josh Eidelson strikes again: Can unions fight Super PACs?

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 05:55 PM PDT.

Also republished by TransAction, Progressive Hippie, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for bringing us this great news from (4+ / 0-)

    the SEIU convention, Laura.  

    Didn't the SEIU play an important role in helping President Obama to win several important primary states out west?  Maybe Nevada?  

    I know I've seen their name come up many times in the last few years supporting progressive causes.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 06:05:24 PM PDT

  •  In case anyone is wondering (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Navy Vet Terp, filby, Seitanist

    "Trans-inclusive" health care means that it includes people in the LGBT community.

    Extremely important issue and an extremely important effort.

    - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

    by r2did2 on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 06:08:11 PM PDT

    •  Pardon my stupid question here - (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      arealniceguy, JPax

      But do health insurance companies really exclude LGBT's?  If an employer provides health insurance coverage for its employees, does the insurer exclude gays?  If the person has a heart attack or cancer or some other illness, is the insurer going to provide one set of coverage for the heterosexual and another for the gay, or deny coverage altogether?

      "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

      by Navy Vet Terp on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 06:29:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sure they do (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Navy Vet Terp, filby

        Often employers will offer plans for an employee or a family plan. But since many places - and many companies - still consider same-sex partnerships and marriages incompatible with the term "family", they do not allow a worker to cover their partner.

        As for what trans-inclusive means, it eliminates discrimination specifically against transgendered workers.
        Check out the PDF report linked on the HRC website to learn a bit more about it, if you are interested.

        http://www.hrc.org/...

      •  They discriminate but a lot of it is state laws (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Navy Vet Terp, filby

        I worked in Texas and one company I worked for made some provisions for "domestic partners" It could be some one you had a common law marriage to or just a significant other. You had to go thru a lot of hoops so it had to be more than just a roommate and several employees of the company would see that you did it.

        If everyone along the line obeyed the law, fine but if some one talked behind your back and made fun of you for being gay what could you do? Cause a scene and be labeled a trouble maker and fired or not promoted because some one didn't like that you were LGBT.

        What if you were straight and you wanted to add a common law spouse to the insurance? What if their first name was one that could be male or female and you were labeled LGBT behind your back and treated that way but didn't know that was the real reason you didn't get promoted or got laid off.

        Discrimination is not always black and white or easy to pin down, especially in an anti-union state where they do not need a reason to fire you and you have to prove it was because of discrimination.

        So while you could get health insurance you had to know there were issues involved.

        We need to get a lot of laws changed and really get most of our society operating out of understanding and inclusiveness or it will take many more years to solve the issue than it should.

        Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things. Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) Just A Real Nice Guy, thinking out loud.

        by arealniceguy on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 07:22:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  In Missouri (0+ / 0-)

        it is a specific exclusion, standard on all state insurance in Missouri through MCHCP.  Excludes any coverage for the treatment of transsexualism or transgenderism

  •  What does "trans-inclusive" mean? (0+ / 0-)

    I still don't understand what "trans-inclusive" means. "Includes people in the LGBT community" doesn't clarify things much." I am assuming there is some type of healthcare coverage that isn't currently covered by most health insurance contracts that some people want covered. But that is a guess on my part. So could some one please provide a explanation of what "trans-inclusive means in the context of the SEIU?

    •  Maybe it means sexual re-assignment surgery...? (0+ / 0-)

      And related medicinal treatments and/or psychotherapy? I was wondering that too. Where should progressives stand on this? Should it be considered necessary for wellness or considered elective and cosmetic, and should it make a difference wrt being paid for by insurance and/or a future universal healthcare system?

      -We need Healthcare Reform... but i'm selfish, I Need Healthcare reform-

      by JPax on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 06:59:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, not sure I get this one (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        spritegeezer, JPax

        Yes, gay partners should be able to be covereed on insurance.

        But- sorry - a lot of progressives  draw a line at what is essentially elective cosmetic surgery- and it is certainly not such a clear cut situation in the medical research that it is proven it is the best option for people.

        How about requiring Autism be covered by insurance first:?

        The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

        by jgkojak on Sat Jun 02, 2012 at 08:22:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Likely means (0+ / 0-)

      that the health needs of trans people are covered.  Some people tend to focus on what that could mean in terms of surgery or hormone treatments, but it ultimately means that preventative care would be covered, and that trans patients would be able to have their health monitored just like any other patient.

      It also means that insurers wouldn't deny tests and procedures to trans folks that they wouldn't deny for any other group of patients.  As is, many have a tendency to use someone's trans status as an excuse to deny coverage for just about anything (literally), even if there is no way the health concerns could be related to transition.  Their reasoning is that if you're trans, your health care is transition related, and therefore excluded by their policies.

      This is quite in line with other tactics insurance companies have been known to use to deny care -- think of the stories about people, recently diagnosed with cancer, whose insurance companies found a way to drop their coverage completely because the patients failed to report a bout of acne they had in their teens, or something like that.  Anything to reduce the amount they have to pay out, the health of the patient be damned.

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