Essential Workers for the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act
As a result of COVID, millions of workers are losing their jobs and their insurance. Even those with insurance struggle to afford the cost of hospital treatment (in some cases tens of thousands of dollars). The communities hit hardest by the coronavirus, such as the undocumented, largely do not have any health insurance coverage at all. If we want to save lives and beat COVID, we must put patients and healthcare workers over the profits of insurance and drug companies. Our government must ensure that everyone, regardless of employment, immigration, or insurance status, has access to the healthcare they need — including free testing and treatment.
Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Pramila Jayapal have introduced emergency legislation that would empower Medicare to cover all healthcare costs for the uninsured and all out-of-pocket expenses for those with insurance for the duration of the coronavirus crisis. This bill, the Health Care Emergency Guarantee (HCEG) Act, is the kind of bold response that is needed — and could lead to the more permanent solution, Medicare for All.
We are launching a nationwide campaign to call on our representatives to support the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act.
Build a strong national labor coalition for M4A, from the grassroots to the top, by recruiting 250 health workers into the
Health Workers Collective and Emergency Workplace Organizing Committee trainings by the end of 2021.
You can map your membership, use flyers to do in person outreach, or do some digital targeting.
How to map your membership: Who is a health worker? Who is an essential worker?
First, set up a phonebank to call all your members (“Call a Comrade!” is a fun name for this kind of membership mapping event, credit: Metro DC DSA). Usually a weekday evening or a weekend afternoon is a pretty good time to reach folks.
Try to have at least 5 people committed to attending the phonebank. 5 people in 2 hours can get through a couple hundred members, depending on how many people pick up and how long the calls go.
You can use this script as a starting point, but don’t hesitate to adapt it to your chapter context, culture, and vibe. Have you started using Spoke, Action Network, and VAN to mobilize your membership? These are tech tools that can be incredibly helpful for reaching your membership and tracking your membership engagement. Ask your chapter leadership if you are using these tools, and if not, email
email@example.com to get connected with these exciting tools! How to recruit a health worker to HWC and EWOC
All health workers you recruit to DSA should be asked to join the
Health Workers Collective (HWC), a national DSA labor formation that includes a broad range of classifications across the entire healthcare sector organizing collectively: doctors, nurses, caregivers, pharmacists, technicians, and more. If someone is a non-union, non-health care worker specifically interested in organizing around health insurance, paid sick, or guaranteed vaccines, or COVID worksite safety conditions, they can fill out this form in order to be contacted by an advanced EWOC organizer:
https://workerorganizing.org/talk-with-an-organizer/. Interested in reaching out to reproductive justice workers specifically? Talk to the Socialist Feminist caucus - you can reach them at
firstname.lastname@example.org. If someone is a unionized worker, they can organize around passing a resolution in their central labor council in support of the HCEG Act, or sending a letter through their central labor council to their Congressional delegation. It helps to know the unions in your area that have a history of some progressive political action and to have union leaders on your side ready to push for this (SEE BELOW).
Get 25 new co-sponsors on the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act bill by June 2021 and get 10 Congressional representatives to pledge not to support any health care reform without first seeing a mark-up on M4A.
How to run a Congressional Pressure Campaign How to build local labor movement support to pressure your Congressional representative
Pass a resolution in your city’s Central Labor Council in support of the HCEG Act or draft a letter to your Congressional delegation and get local labor leaders to sign on
If your chapter is already engaged in coalition building and campaign work within your local labor and those relationships are already built, you’ve already done 99% of the work towards passing a resolution. You can start with a resolution very similar to the one you would pass in a City Council, and you can reach out to your union leadership to ask them to support the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act and to call on your Congressional delegation to do so as well!
If your chapter doesn’t already have those existing relationships, there’s no time better than the presence to start building those relationships.
If you don’t already have a few members who are knowledgeable about your local labor movement, start by seeking out mentorship. No cold-call email or phone call or Twitter DM can replace the earned wisdom of an experienced mentor. Seriously - seek out the wisdom of your elders! Many of us are new to organizing, and because of the systematic weakening of the labor movement, many of us are not familiar with navigating within the labor movement. It’s okay to ask for advice, mentorship, and guidance! Make a list of the union locals in your community and identify those with a history of progressive political action. Check out their endorsements in previous elections or whether they’ve been in any coalition fights in local politics. You will need union leaders on your side ready to push for HCEG. Who do you know that can reach out to union leaders on your behalf or facilitate an introduction? Be intentional and specific and prioritize. Organizing moves at the speed of trust, and building relationships takes time. Don’t try to be everything to everybody at once. Divvy up the work of one-on-ones and outreach. Be clear about your asks to union leaders. Don’t be afraid to be somewhat transactional: what can DSA bring to the table in terms of political support for the union?
Call your membership and ask if they are in a union. Make a list of which unions your members are in. If they are in a union, would they be willing to talk to their union leadership about taking a stand on the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act? Note - this is incredibly valuable information that will come in handy in the future when you are building any campaign! Asks will always be more well-received by union leaders if they are coming from rank-and-file membership.
Often, union officials will ignore a political pressure campaign unless it's pushed by others in the labor movement. This means organizing rank-and-file workers and building organic relationships with the labor movement in your city.
Develop a national corporate campaign against the healthcare industry giants who affiliate with the Partnership for America’s Health Care Future (PAHCF), who lobby against Medicare for All and continue profiting from the status quo.