By Kay Tillow of All Unions for Single Payer
“Off The Table: The Case for HR 676” is a new video by western Pennsylvania film makers John Rice and Tony Buba. The film, made for showing at union meetings, examines the difference between U.S. and Canadian healthcare.
The video is available free to view or download at https://unionsforsinglepayer.org/offthetable/
In the U.S. healthcare benefits are under constant attack. In Canada, unions were the decisive force in winning a single payer system, a publicly-funded Medicare for everyone. Canadian unions do not bargain over healthcare, and health benefits are not controlled by employers.
In the U. S. Health insurance costs soar with every bargaining round, crowding out wages and other benefits. Employers shift the burden to workers so many who have insurance cannot afford care. Corporations seek to abandon their retirees. Non-union companies dodge their responsibility.
In Canada, healthcare is off the table in collective bargaining. Health benefits are provided by law through a single payer system without co-pays, deductibles or insurance premiums.
In the U. S. when workers go on strike or are locked out, employers cut off health care benefits. That powerful weapon cannot be used by corporations in Canada where benefits for workers and their families continue during strikes and lockouts.
The 23 minute video features Leo Gerard, International President of the United Steelworkers (USW); Gene Elk, Director of Organization for the United Electrical Workers (UE); and rank and filers, officers, and staffers from the IBEW, NALC, USW, and other unions in both Canada and the United States.
The video explains how HR 676, The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, would cover everyone for all medically necessary care without premiums, deductibles or co-pays and take bargaining for healthcare “Off the Table” for U.S. unionists.
Film makers John Rice and Tony Buba have worked together on numerous films including “Struggles In Steel”; “Ghosts of Amistad-In the Footsteps of the Rebels”; and now “Off the Table”. John Rice is a member of Pittsburgh CWA Local 30861 and was on the negotiating committee that won a first contract for full time faculty members at Point Park University where he teaches Cinema Arts.
Any local union that wishes to show “Off the Table” at a union meeting and would like to have a physician speak after the film, can contact the All Unions Committee for Single Payer Healthcare at firstname.lastname@example.org, (502) 636-1551.