UNAC/UHCP members and thousands of labor and community allies headed to San Diego on July 22 to protest the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and their extremist agenda. Activists gathered together to send a message to corporate lobbyists and wealthy funders that: California is a NO ALEC Zone!
At this annual national gathering, corporate lobbyists and right-wing millionaires come together and plot strategies to destroy working people’s access to things like a decent wage, health care, and retirement security. Every year, ALEC aims to reduce wages, make a mess of public education, destroy state health and environmental standards, attack immigrant families, and strip workers of their right to stand together in a union.
ALEC legislation is being introduced all over the country that puts more and more of the burden on health care providers trying to keep patients safe in hospitals. Attacks on health care professionals, including attacks on our ability to speak with one voice on the job, puts all of our families at risk.
UNAC/UHCP member Kimberly Mullen, RN, from Kaiser South Bay addressed the July 22 crowd:
I’m here to tell you that nursing is one of the most rewarding yet incredible responsibilities that anyone could take on. We are trusted when people need us the most. We are there to care for you, to heal you, to keep you safe, and to comfort you when you are at your most vulnerable state.
And yet ALEC and their millionaire and billionaire allies are supporting bills that threaten the safety and comfort of patients every day.
Have you all heard of “right to work”? “Right to work” happened in a conference just like the one happening right behind us. And ALEC continues to push this assault on our right to assemble, organize, and speak with one voice – this voice we use in order to make sure we have the equipment we need to keep you safe, the voice we use to ensure we have safe staffing ratios, the staffing ratios we need in order to be at your bedside and your family’s bedside when you need us the most.
Families in “right to work” states make $6,500 less than in states like CA, where they respect our rights, and workers are 33% more likely to die on the job in “right to work” states. As a nurse, I will tell you that my workplace is always dangerous and I don’t need big companies and legislators over there conspiring to make my workplace more dangerous.
We’ve all seen what happened in Wisconsin and Michigan and we are not immune to these attacks that can happen here in CA. That is why we need to fight even harder in this great state and tell ALEC and its allies that we will not let them assault us, our families, or our rights.