Clark leads health care rally outside State House

Anestine Bentick of 1199SEIU, lead medical assistant at South Boston Community Health Center, and Congresswoman Katherine Clark (left) were among the speakers at an SEIU rally on the State House steps Wednesday. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, APRIL 12, 2017…Union members rallying outside the State House made health care their focal point as they pledged to continue fighting Trump administration policies.

Speakers at the Service Employees International Union demonstration described the withdrawal of a Republican-backed health care bill as a victory and called on each other to keep protesting and lobbying members of Congress to preserve the Affordable Care Act.

“We have won one battle, and ACA is still the law of the land,” said Dayail Gathers, a Logan Airport worker and member of 32BJ SEIU. “The war is not over, and this administration is at war with reality and with working people.”

U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark joined the rally, telling the crowd she would help make sure their voices are heard in Washington.

“When they proposed the giant transfer of wealth and tried to wrap it up in a health care package, what did you say? You said, ‘No, no you will not,'” Clark said through a megaphone as rain fell on the ralliers. “And who won? You did. And that’s what we’re going to keep doing.”

Policies Clark said she and others would fight for included the “right to earn a good wage,” equal pay for men and women, paid leave to care for sick children, and the opportunity to attend college and “not come out saddled with debt.”

Members of SEIU Local 509, which represents human service workers and educators, also visited state lawmakers Wednesday to drum up support for their legislative agenda, which includes a Rep. Thomas Stanley bill that would require colleges and universities to pay adjunct faculty based on a formula measuring what the average full-time instructor would earn for the same work (H 2236).

SEIU 509 also supports a Rep. James O’Day bill that would ensure Department of Children and Families social workers do not have to disclose their home address in performance of their duties (H 2803) and a Rep. John Mahoney bill that would increase the hourly minimum wage for private sector human services workers to $15 (H 3152).

Copyright 2017 State House News Service