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New Ground 110

January - February, 2007

Contents

  • Quality Health Care for All by Bill Barclay
  • The Empire Strikes Back! by Bob Roman
  • Chicago DSA Endorsement by Bob Roman
  • New Ground 110.1 - 01.25.2007

    0. DSA News

    YDS National Conference

    1. Politics

    Protest Cook County Budget Butchery
    Pass a Clean Minimum Wage

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 110.2 - 02.06.2007

    0. DSA News

    A Democratic Socialist Perspective for the Anti-War Movement
    YDS National Conference

    1. Politics

    Let the Voting Begin!
    Coalition of Immokalee Workers Update
    The Bush Budget
    Labor Express
    Aqua Teen Hunger Force Hates Your Freedom

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 110.3 - 02.20.2007

    0. DSA News

    Michael Harrington & Today's Other America

    1. Politics

    Elections
    Day Labor Fights for Justice
    Defund the War
    Rally at the Congress Hotel
    Midwest Encuento

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    New Ground 110.4 - 03.08.2007

    0. DSA News

    Reminder
    YDS Spring Conference a Succes
    s

    1. Politics

    Health Care Action in Illinois
    Victory at H2O+
    Troops Out Now!
    Latin American Solidarity Conference

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest


    The Labor/Community Movement to Reform Resurrection West Suburban Hospital

    Quality Health Care for All

    by Bill Barclay

    The problem of health care in the U.S. brings together many issues for progressives. First, it illuminates the conflict between the public provision of and access to an essential good-quality health care vs. the corporate desire to privatize and ration access to health services. Second, the health care workplace is often the intersection between the aspirations of workers for a voice in the organization of their daily work life and the pressure of profit-maximizing enterprises to control the organization and structure of work. Third, because of the racial distribution of low paying service sector jobs, the health sector is also frequently the locale where race and class meet, with African-American and Hispanic employees supervised by white mangers.

    These are the big picture frames. Each individual hospital and its surrounding community faces these issues in specific ways, as illustrated by the ongoing effort to reform West Suburban Medical Center (West Sub). West Sub is a unit of the Resurrection Health Care (RHC) chain, the second largest in the Chicago metropolitan area and is located on the border of Oak Park and Austin, drawing patients (customers) from both communities.

    Background:

    Resurrection Health Care Acquires West Sub

    In early 2004 West Sub, which had been an independent not-for-profit hospital was acquired by Resurrection Health Care (RHC). The acquisition occurred under the new "fast track" provisions enacted by the Illinois legislature and was well along the path to completion before many residents were even aware of the process. However, significant questions were raised by residents in both communities about the potential impact of the acquisition on the quality and availability of health care. In response to these concerns, the Illinois Health Facilities Board approved the acquisition only after an agreement between RHC and the Illinois Attorney General's office. The agreement required West Sub, as a unit of RHC to:

    (1) Continue the level of charity care at or above the level provided by West Sub prior to the acquisition;

    (2) Provide an alternative to patients seeking reproductive health services that the RHC chain refuses to provide because of its adherence to Catholic doctrine (e.g., birth control, pregnancy termination, etc);

    (3) Continue to seek input from community residents with respect to the range and quality of health services provided.

    RHC's Impact on West Suburban Hospital

    Despite the agreement signed with the Attorney General's office, data compiled from the initial post-acquisition period indicates that the level of charity health care has been reduced below that provided prior to the acquisition. But this was only part of the impact of RHC's acquisition of West Sub. RHC has also implemented staff cutbacks that undermined the quality of health care provided. These include an increase in the patient/nurse ratio in units throughout the hospital (including labor & delivery, and medical/surgical floors) and a cutback in support staff (for example, the lactation consultant who helps new mothers with breastfeeding).

    During 2005-06 West Sub has been cited on multiple occasions by the Illinois Department of Public Health for problems including procedures for medicating patients for pain, preventing bed sores, and patients leaving the ER without receiving care. Since acquisition of West Sub, RHC has made no efforts to include Oak Park and Austin residents in their health care planning. Finally, because RHC shifted its accrediting agency from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health care Organizations (JCAHO) to the American Osteopathic Association's Health Care Facilities Accreditation Program (HEAP), the independent health care quality measurements that West Sub must meet have been lowered. JCAHO is the industry standard; HEAP is an outlier that, in contrast to JCAHO, does not make publicly available the results of its analysis of hospital quality performance and does not conduct unannounced survey visits. In this case the market has decided: HEAP accredits less than 10% Illinois hospitals ­ but RHC wants the lower accountability and reduced transparency provided by HEAP. Thus we who rely on West Sub are subject to this corporate desire to place profits over health care.

    Staff at West Suburban responded to these changes by an increased interest in organizing for collective bargaining with RHC, working primarily with AFSCME Council 31 . RHC countered by hiring Sefarth Shaw and the ironically named Haymarket Group to counter employee organizing and community accountability efforts.

    Community Response:

    Oak Park/Austin Health Alliance

    The decline in charity care, the attack on employees' rights to organize, the overall resistance to community input into health care planning and growing concerns bout the quality of health services provided has generated community opposition to RHC policies and methods. In mid-2005, the Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice (OPCTJ) joined with the South Austin Community Coalition (SACC) and AFSCME Council 31 to form the Oak Park/Austin Health Alliance (OPAHA) as a community/labor vehicle for countering West Sub's move towards a corporate approach to medical care.

    Since its inception, OPAHA has organized several community meetings to discuss West Sub and the crisis in health care. Out of these community meetings came a four-point program, OPAHA's Community Benefits Agreement:

    (1) Insure access to health care for residents in need;

    (2) Provide health care services that benefit the community;

    (3) Recognize employees' right to organize;

    (4) Create a community outreach/input program.

    In its organizing efforts OPAHA brings together the predominantly African-American community of Austin, the majority white community of Oak Park and the racially mixed work force at West Sub. OPAHA's work to date includes actions on several fronts.

    (1) We have gone door-to-door in Oak Park and Austin neighborhoods to learn of resident experience with West Sub and to place signs in more than 100 yards asking West Sub to "Put Patients First, Treat Workers Fairly." This gives West Sub's CEO, Jay Kreuzer, something to look at as he comes to work each day.

    (2) We presented a petition from ministers, priests and rabbis asking West Sub to meet with workers' representatives to discuss working conditions and the need for workers to have an independent voice.

    (3) We have met with members of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's staff, asking them to review West Sub's adherence to the undertaking with respect to levels of charity care provided.

    (4) We are supporting members of West Sub's housekeeping staff who are facing racial and ethnic discrimination in hiring/job allocation/firing.

    (5) We have (unsuccessfully) asked West Sub CEO Jay Kreuzer to meet with OPAHA to discuss the CBA and how to implement it.

    (6) Most recently OPAHA members testified before the VOP Board of Trustees (the Board is being asked to grant West Sub a zoning variance to enlarge the ER unit), asking the Board to attach conditions to any such zoning variance.

    In all of this there is one constant: a refusal of West Sub to meet with the only organization that represents key stakeholders ­ the community and the work force. We now believe that it is time to increase the pressure on West Sub to behave as a member of the Oak Park/Austin community rather than as a predator seeking to extract the maximum of profit. We invite everyone to join us in this effort.

    Go to the web site devoted to changing RHC and decide how you can assist in this struggle to assure quality health care for all: www.reformresurrection.org

    Editor's Note: Bill Barclay is a member of Greater Oak Park DSA and the Oak Park Coalition for Truth and Justice. Also see New Ground 102, "Resurrecting West Suburban Hospital's Commitment to the Oak Park / Austin Community" for more information.


    The Empire Strikes Back!

    by Bob Roman

    As this issue of New Ground goes to the printer, the final meeting of the Adequate Health Care Task Force will be happening. As reported in New Ground 109, the Task Force will be recommending to the Illinois legislature a health insurance scheme that resembles the plan recently passed in Massachusetts. A minority report advocating a "single-payer" (that is to say state run) insurance plan will also be submitted. In New Ground 109, I speculated that the insurance industry would present its own minority report. And indeed, 5 members (all appointed by Republicans) of the Task Force are submitting such a dissent.

    This dissent is the opening shot in a campaign to prevent the legislature from doing much of anything on the issue of health care. Some of this involves whining about process: about how the Task Force went about its work, about how the interpretation of facts and assumptions made by the Task Force's consultant (Navigant) didn't fit with the libertarian dogma of the dissidents. You'll be hearing more of this as "unfair" is such an easy charge to toss at your opponents, especially if it's a half-truth.

    But the essence of the dissidents' complaint is: "the plan advanced by the Adequate Health Care Task Force will, if implemented, increase health care costs, reduce consumer choice of health care coverage, have a negative effect on the quality of health care provided to the citizens of Illinois and restrain job growth." Some of this, particularly "consumer choice" and "job growth", are symptoms of libertarian dogma.

    If this minority is ideological and self-serving, don't assume they are also, therefore, stupid. In fact, some of the criticisms they make of the majority report are dead on, and others are plausible enough to scare skittish legislators. Among the latter, one example is the charge that the system proposed by the majority report would violate the federal Employee Retirement Income Securities Act (ERISA) that regulates employee benefit plans. In order to achieve uniformity across the states, ERISA preempts state laws. Maryland's recent health care law aimed more or less at Wal-Mart was struck down by the courts using ERISA. Even if it does not apply in this case, proponents of the majority report had best get Attorney General Madigan on board as reassurance, at least.

    More to the point are the dissidents' complaints regarding the lack of cost containment measures and complaints (and questions) about just who is going to pay for this system. Employers will be expected to pay about $1.5 billion. Since this is money not necessarily going to the insurance industry, to any good libertarian it's obviously a burden and a waste. But there are also some 3 to 3.5 billion dollars in expenses (and more as those numbers do not include start up expenses) that are not funded by the majority report. Unfunded mandates have become common in the past quarter century and typical under the Blagojevich Administration, but they should make you very afraid.

    These dissidents can't simply say "no", not in the face of so much heart-breaking testimony collected by the Task Force. But they are mostly content with restating elements of the insurance industry's proposal to the Task Force. To be fair, this was not the worst proposal to the Task Force. It might cover up to 28% of the presently uninsured (some of the other proposals covered fewer), and if you have sufficient income so that you could save or invest, you might do well enough provided you're not especially sick. It represents an attempt to address the anguish of those denied access to health care (or bankrupted by it) while preserving the primacy of the financial industry. (Insurers are not in business to cover your butt against misadventure. They are in business to make money by investing your premium payments.)

    That the other Republican appointees to the Task Force did not join this dissent suggests these dissidents just don't get it. Health care is not just another commodity; it is a basic human right, not a reward for being the biggest rat in the race.


    CDSA Endorsement

    by Bob Roman

    At our January 9 membership meeting, we voted to endorse fellow DSA member Gary Schwab as a candidate for Trustee of the Village of Oak Park.

    Gary Schwab is running for a 4 year term as part of the Vision Community Action (VCA) slate in the April 17th consolidated election. The slate includes Annabel Abraham, James Balanoff, and incumbent Robert Milstein. The VCA platform embraces a Living Wage Ordinance for the Village. It calls upon the Village to sign contracts with all its unions by the end of 2007 and to accept arbitrated labor decicisions. The platform calls for the creation of a Labor Relations Commission to advise the Village Board on contested grievance and discipline actions, contract disputes and related issues.

    Gary Schwab is a 28 year resident of Oak Park. He holds a doctorate in Information Engineering from the University of Illinois in Chicago. He has served as a consultant and as information systems manager for public and private agencies. Gary's public service has included being a member of the Historical Society of Oak Park and River Forest. He has served as both chair and a member of the Community Design Commission, and as a member of the Community Development Citizen Advisory Committee. Gary has devoted many years to public service in the Village. Gary's remarkable grasp of history has made him a champion of historic preservation and economic development which respects Oak Park's unique and irreplaceable character and tradition of diversity.

    If you'd like to help, call Tom Ard at 708.386.0869 or Tom Broderick at 708.386.6007 or email milsteinr@gmail.com.


    New Ground #110.1

    01.25.2007

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    YDS National Conference

    1. Politics

    Protest Cook County Budget Butchery
    Pass a Clean Minimum Wage

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    DSA News


    YDS National Conference
    Justice Beyond Borders: Democracy and Socialism in the 21st Century is right around the corner this February 16-18th in New York City. Young Democratic Socialists has helpful tips to fundraise and guides to cheap hostels around the city which you can get upon request. Limited free housing is available as well. For more information about the speakers, such as Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Gayatri Spivak, Christian Parenti, Liza Featherstone, and other conference details check out our conference page: http://www.ydsusa.org/news/justice-beyond-borders or contact YDS directly at yds@dsausa.org.

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Politics


    Protest Cook County Budget Butchery
    An "across the board" budget cut as originally proposed by County Board President Todd Stroger inevitably hurts the poorest and most vulnerable citizens. The draft budget proposes dramatic cuts in vital health, safety and other County services. With regard to health care in particular, the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group ( http://www.hmprg.org/ ) has pointed out that:

    The budget has unnamed reduction targets, and the Bureau of Health Services budget is only showing 40% of the cuts that will be implemented. Sixty percent of the cuts will be given late in the budget process through amendments. The public and health experts will not have the opportunity to examine the full impact of the budget cuts, which is unconscionable.

    The published budget indicates that County leadership has chosen to target the most clinically efficient, cost effective services. The cuts in the Ambulatory and Community Health Network (25.4%), Cermak Health Services (24.7%) and Cook County Health Department (23.8%), will result in the loss of necessary critical services, while expensive and inefficient services in the 3 hospitals remain in place. We are cutting pennies, trying to save dollars, resulting in increases in preventable illness and increases in expensive hospital-based treatment.

    The focus of the budget for the Bureau of Health Services should be on revenue enhancement, the implementation of proven cost-saving measures and the elimination of patronage. A regional approach is needed to strengthen the health care safety net.

    Also see AFSCME Council 31: http://www.afscme31.org/articleDetail.asp?objectID=1084

    Attend public hearings on the budget:

    Monday, January 29, 10 a.m.
    County building, 118 N. Clark St. Board Room 569, Chicago

    Tuesday, January 30, 6:30 p.m.
    Maywood Courthouse, 1500 S. Maywood Dr., Courtroom 106, Maywood

    A copy of the proposed budget is available here:
    http://www.cookcountygov.com/2007_budget2.htm

    Attend grassroots protests and demonstrations:

    Wednesday, January 24, 5 PM, Provident Hospital, 500 E. 51st St, Chicago
    Candlelight Vigil - "No Cuts in Services!"

    Monday, January 29, 10 AM, Daley Plaza and the County Building, 118 N. Clark, Chicago
    Rally and picket to protest the cuts

    Monday, January 29, 6 PM, Malcolm X College, 1900 W. Van Buren, Chicago
    Town Hall Meeting on the Budget

    Pass a Clean Minimum Wage
    While the U.S. House of Representatives had no problems passing a straight-up increase in the sub-poverty minimum wage, it was apparently too much to expect of the U.S. Senate. So, once again, millions of minimum wage workers have to wait for a raise while the House (which passed a clean minimum wage increase) and Senate work out the differences between their versions of the legislation. Tell your CongressCritters what you think by going to:
    http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/CleanWageRaise_JwJ

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Upcoming Events of Interest

    For upcoming events, go to http://www.chicagodsa.org/page9.html.


    New Ground #110.2

    02.06.2007

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    A Democratic Socialist Perspective for the Anti-War Movement
    YDS National Conference

    1. Politics

    Let the Voting Begin!
    Coalition of Immokalee Workers Update
    The Bush Budget
    Labor Express
    Aqua Teen Hunger Force Hates Your Freedom

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    DSA News

    A Democratic Socialist Perspective for the Anti-War Movement
    This new literature piece from the DSA National Office concludes by saying:

    "Only continued mobilization that keeps the pressure on Congress and the president can end this war and the needless death and destruction that it creates. We will accept no political excuse from any elected official for keeping troops in Iraq to maintain the failed policies of the Bush Administration."

    Read the whole thing at:
    http://www.dsausa.org/pdf/IraqFlyerJanuary2007.pdf

    YDS National Conference
    Justice Beyond Borders: Democracy and Socialism in the 21st Century
    is right around the corner this February 16-18th in New York City. Young Democratic Socialists has helpful tips to fundraise and guides to cheap hostels around the city which you can get upon request. Limited free housing is available as well. For more information about the speakers, such as Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Gayatri Spivak, Christian Parenti, Liza Featherstone, and other conference details check out our conference page: http://www.ydsusa.org/news/justice-beyond-borders or contact YDS directly at yds@dsausa.org.

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Politics

    Let the Voting Begin!
    Bob Roman
    Chicago DSA did not make any endorsements in the 2007 Chicago municipal elections, you may have noticed. Yet early voting in each of the wards has begun and the process will conclude on Tuesday, February 27, the "official" election day when the show comes to every precinct. Sans endorsements, we have put up a web page that lists all the candidates on the ballot, their web sites, and selected labor and liberal endorsements. Here is the URL:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/page5.html

    Our page is hardly the only place on the web for information about this election. Probably the best, most complete source is the blog, Aldertrack. Not only does Aldertrack compile news reports, campaign finance information, web sites, etc., it also has that latest fad among libertarians, the current quotes of market bids on the outcome of each race. Check it out at:
    http://www.aldertrack.typepad.com/

    For those enthralled by the grand old tradition of Chicago sleaze and cynicism, one great site (there are others) is:
    http://www.chicagoclout.com/

    A good source of information about the incumbents and city government generally is former alderman, Professor Dick Simpson's web site. Part of the University of Illinois' Great Cities Program, the URL is:
    http://www.uic.edu/cuppa/gci/programs/chicagopolitics.htm

    Every good conservative knows for a fact that everyone reading this lefty propaganda also has one ear glued to public radio. So of course y'all heard about the report card on the Chicago issued by a coalition of community groups. Based at the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs, the research represents the concerns of nearly three dozen community, labor, and liberal groups. The report assesses the operation of both City Hall and the City Council; it's like Dick Simpson's site but rather more judgmental and focused on issues of concern to us lefties: labor, education, peace, civil liberties and the like. So you heard about it on public radio, but I'll bet you didn't catch the URL:
    http://www.dgapchicago.org

    Coalition of Immokalee Workers Update
    We hope everyone is doing well and staying as warm as possible. Excitement around the CIW's April actions is growing and we hope that all of you have saved the dates: April 13 and 14! Check out http://www.sfalliance.org and http://www.ciw-online.org for more information on the April actions. Please let us know if you are interested in organizing a float, decorated vehicle, or delegation for the Carnival on April 14!

    Norberto Jimenez and Cruz Salucio, two CIW farmworker leaders, are here in Chicago and are available to do presentations about human rights abuses in the fields and what we can do about it or share briefly at meetings, events, or in classes and congregations. We still have lots of openings throughout February and March, so if you know of schools, faith communities, meetings, community spaces, or other gatherings where people would be interested in hearing from them, just let us know! We also have DVDs, flyers, stickers, buttons and other materials we can take or mail to people as well.

    You don't have to wait until April to take action so we encourage you to continue pressuring McDonald's. Here are a few ideas:

    • Drop off a letter at a local McDonald's manager and ask them to pass it onto Headquarters. Download the letter at http://www.ciw-online.org/tools.html
    • Mail or hand deliver postcards to McDonald's headquarters in Oak Brook. Email workers@ciw-online.org to request postcards and other materials.
    • Organize an action to flier or picket at a McDonald's. (Let us know if you need ideas!)
    • Participate in the Midwest Encuentro: a day-long gathering and strategy session for Chicago and Midwest-area community, student, and labor allies of the CIW to discuss how to engage and mobilize our communities for April and beyond. Saturday, February 24th, at Casa Aztlan in Pilsen. More details coming soon! We're also looking for free housing for some of the out of town participants. If you can help, contact Michael Baker at michaeldbaker@iww.org.
    • For faith allies: participate in the Faith Symposium. Saturday, March 3, 2007, 10am - 3pm: Partners in Faith: Working for Human Rights and Fair Food. Come learn about the crucial role played by the faith community in compelling Taco Bell to improve wages and working conditions for farm workers who pick its tomatoes and plan how we can partner with farm workers to bring McDonald's and the rest of the fast-food industry to also ensure dignity in their tomato supply chains. At Euclid United Methodist Church, Oak Park, IL. You can download a registration form at http://www.chicagodsa.org/pifconf.pdf
    • Lastly, here are links to flyers you can use to get the word out about the April actions:
      http://www.sfalliance.org/resources/TT07flyer.pdf

      http://www.sfalliance.org/resources/TT07flyerES.pdf

    For more information, you can contact Melody at 239.986.0847; Marc at 239.292.3431; Luis Fernando at 240.753.2771

    The Bush Budget
    Dubya's proposed FY 2008 Federal budget may be dead on arrival, a mighty waste of trees, but it is an accurate statement of the Administration's priorities. As Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director of the Coalition on Human Needs put it:

    "The minimum Americans should require of any new budget proposal is that it makes progress in meeting urgent needs. But this budget goes backwards - denying health insurance to children, and failing to provide Food Stamps and child care aid to hundreds of thousands of working families. The most vulnerable are this budget's primary targets: children, the sick, and the elderly will lose health care, home energy, nutrition assistance, and more."

    The Coalition on Human Needs will be doing a detailed analysis of the proposed budget and the budget as it actually evolves, but for a quick look at the atrocity, go to:
    http://www.chn.org/pdf/2007/bushbudget08.pdf

    Labor Express
    The Committee for Labor Access has been a pioneer in exploring the application of video technology to the labor movement through its "Labor Beat" program, broadcast on public access cable and available on the web. They have a similar program for radio, with a program on WLUW (Rogers Park and Edgewater in Chicago, mostly) but also on the web. They've recently upgraded their web site, among other things stashing the audio files on faster servers. Check it out at:
    http://www.laborexpress.org/

    Oh yes, they'd really appreciate your opinion, so don't neglect the contact link at the bottom of their page.

    Aqua Teen Hunger Force Hates Your Freedom
    Need we say more?


    New Ground #110.3

    02.20.2007

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Michael Harrington & Today's Other America

    1. Politics

    Elections
    Day Labor Fights for Justice
    Defund the War
    Rally at the Congress Hotel
    Midwest Encuento

    3. Upcoming Events of Interest

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    DSA News

    Michael Harrington & Today's Other America
    I thought it was 1929. At the time I looked, Wikipedia said 1924. Isserman's biography said 1928. Regardless of the year Michael Harrington was born, February 24 is his birthday. We felt that it would be an opportune time to show Donovan's 1999 documentary re-examining Harrington's influential 1962 book, The Other America. At 89 minutes, the video includes guest appearances by Rush Limbaugh, Francis Fox Piven, Bogdan Denitch, Jeff Faux, Senator Edward Kennedy, Jim Chapin, Charles Murray, Staughton Lynd, Myron Magnet, Robert Kuttner, Joanne Barkan, Robert Heilbroner, John Kenneth Galbraith, then-Representative Bernie Sanders, and Joseph Murphy. Music by Bruce Springsteen, Woodie Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Elaine Purkey, The Adjusters, with original music by Judy Ellf. Be there, Saturday, February 24, 2 PM at the Chicago DSA office, 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403: the 4th floor of the Northwest Tower Building at the 3-way intersection of Milwaukee, North, and Damen avenues. For more information, email or call 773.384.0327.

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Politics

    Elections
    While Chicago DSA has not made any endorsements for the February 27 Chicago municipal elections, we have put together a web page that shows all the candidates on the ballot, endorsements by the Chicago Federation of Labor, IVI-IPO, Citizen Action, AFSCME, SEIU, Teamsters, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, and Democracy for America. We also have links to most of the candidates' web sites. A surprising number of candidates have none, and some of the incumbents have sites that are not so much campaign sites but "virtual ward offices". Check it out at:
    http://www.chicagodsa.org/page5.html

    Day Labor Fights for Justice
    The San Lucas Workers Center, day laborers, and community allies will protest H2O+, a Chicago-based, high-profile beauty products company on Wednesday, February 21 to denounce illegal firings and mistreatment of day laborers. Workers have been asking the company for a raise in pay and paid holidays, after years of working as "permatemps", for the company. Workers asked the company to switch them from an abusive day labor agency to an agency that complies with a Community Code of Conduct that will grant them better pay and work conditions. After the company initially agreed to end its inhumane labor practices, H2O+ reneged on that promise and fired several long-time day labor workers.
    Demand justice for day laborers and their families. A bus will be leaving from the San Lucas Workers' Center (2914 W. North Av) at 5:30 PM on Wednesday, February 21, to the protest site and returning at 8 PM. Call Heather 773-370-6633 or Ari 773-573-6633 for more information and to confirm your participation.

    Defund the War
    Military Families Speak Out is urging folks to demand their U.S. Representatives and Senators vote against any "emergency" appropriations to fund Dubya's war. For information on how you can lobby your Congress-critter (postcards, phone numbers, talking points, etc.), go to:
    http://www.mfso.org/article.php?list=type&type=51

    Rally at the Congress Hotel
    Striking workers at the Congress Hotel have been out for four winters, and they're steamed up at both the Congress Hotel and Alderman Haithcock. Why? Haithcock voted against the "Right to Know" ordinance; Haithcock told the Congress Hotel they could have a sidewalk cafe permit then denied the permit, but added, "Bring it back again in the spring. But I need to get elected," according to the Congress Hotel's lawyer [Sun Times, Oct. 4, 2006]; after 3 years on strike, Haithcock kicked striking Congress workers out of her office.
    Join a bunch of really hot members of UNITE HERE Local 1 in a spring cleaning rally to tell Haithcock to Get Out! Be there: Thursday, February 22, 4 PM to 5:30 PM, at the Congress Hotel, 520 S. Michigan, Chicago.

    Midwest Encuentro
    For nearly 2 years since their victory in the Taco Bell boycott, farmworkers with the Coalition of Immokalee Workers have been patiently waiting for McDonalds' to address human rights abuses and sub-poverty wages in their tomato supply chain. The CIW and their allies feel that it is time to intensify the pressure on McDonalds' and demand dignity and justice. Join CIW members, the Student / Farmworker Alliance, and people from across the midwest for a gathering to share skills, build community, and strategize for the upcoming actions in April and the next phase in the Campaign for Fair Food.
    Friday, February 23, 7 PM for a video presentation and discussion with the CIW, followed by an evening of music. Saturday, February 24, registration at 8 AM. Workshops 9 AM to 9 PM with action at 5 PM. All at Casa Aztlan, 1831 S. Racine, Chicago.

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Upcoming Events of Interest

    Events for this issue listed at http://www.chicagodsa.org/page9.html.


    New Ground #110.4

    03.08.2007

    Contents

    0. DSA News

    Reminder
    YDS Spring Conference a Succes
    s

    1. Politics

    Health Care Action in Illinois
    Victory at H2O+
    Troops Out Now!
    Latin American Solidarity Conference

    2. Upcoming Events of Interest

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    DSA News

    Reminder
    The Chicago DSA Executive Committee will be meeting on Tuesday, March 13, 7 PM, at the Chicago DSA office. This is at 1608 N. Milwaukee, Room 403: the 4th floor of the Northwest Tower Building at the 3-way intersection of Milwaukee, North, and Damen avenues. This is just a brief walk from the Damen stop on the CTA Blue Line to O'Hare. All DSA members are welcome to attend. For more information, email us or call 773.384.0327.

    YDS Spring Conference a Success
    Last month's Young Democratic Socialists national conference was a considerable success by all accounts, including several comments in the "blogosphere" that (it must be admitted) were as interested in critiquing the partying as the politics. Over 200 registered for the entire conference and more than 200 attended parts of it. Most of it was recorded, and audio and video clips and other material may be posted to the web; we'll pass along the URLs when it happens.
    Dave Duhalde, the YDS organizer, will be making a tour of the Midwest, including Chicago, in mid-April. We'll have more detail as it becomes available.

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Politics

    Health Care Action in Illinois
    Bob Roman
    The efforts of the Illinois Adequate Health Care Task Force are finally paying off with Governor Blagojevich's annual Budget Address. In addition to a belated but genuine attempt at dealing with the snowballing fiscal crisis (See http://www.illinois.gov/taxfairness/ for a plan that would earn a C+ if all his other efforts hadn't been Incompletes.), the Governor also announced an effort at universal health insurance, see http://www.illinoiscovered.com.

    The Campaign for Better Health Care has opportunely declared March 7 - 14 as "Health Care Justice Action Week" (see http://www.cbhconline.org/HCJC/index.htm). They're urging all those concerned to call their state legislators in support of universal health insurance. The General Assembly switchboard number is 1-888-801-4426. If you don't know the names of our legislators, go to:
    http://www.elections.state.il.us/DistrictLocator/AddressSearch.aspx

    The Illinois Single-Payer Coalition has announced that legislation for a universal health insurance plan has been introduced into the state legislature by the Chair of the Illinois House Health Access Committee, Representative Mary Flowers: HB 311, the Health Care for All Illinois Act. A PDF format copy of the text of the bill is at http://www.pnhp.org/ilcoalition/hcaiact.pdf.

    The Campaign for Better Health Care has a number of talking points on their web site, but you could just as easily tell your legislator to support HB 311.

    The Illinois Single-Payer Coalition is also asking people to sign petitions in favor of HB 311. You can do this by going to:
    http://www.pnhp.org/ilpetition.php

    Victory at H2O+
    In New Ground 110.3 we reported the efforts of the San Lucas Workers Center on behalf of long-term day laborers who had been fired by the H2O+ company, apparently for their organizing efforts. The San Lucas Workers Center reports that:

    "The unjustly fired day labor agency workers RETURNED to work at H2O+ this week with a raise, holiday pay and vacation pay. The workers returned through an agency that signed San Lucas Workers Center's Code of Conduct
    "This victory for day laborers is part of San Lucas Worker Center's Corporate Accountability Project. San Lucas is holding companies accountable for the treatment of day laborers and educating companies to use only day labor agencies that have signed a Community Code of Conduct."

    More information can be found at:
    http://www.sanlucasworkers.com/slwc-030107.html

    Troops Out Now!
    The March 20th demonstration against the Iraq occupation is but a dozen days away. This is a demonstration you should not miss. So here's the itinerary. Assemble at 6 PM at 24 W. Walton Street. Walton is 930 North, thus just a bit north of the Chicago stop on the CTA Red Line on State Street. At 7:30 PM march down Michigan Avenue to Daley Plaza. Daley Plaza, of course, is at Dearborn and Washington. For more information, go to:
    http://www.m20coalition.net/

    For those in the western suburbs for whom a Tuesday evening downtown Chicago march and rally is impractical, there will be a "West Suburban Regional Peace Rally, March and Vigil" on Saturday, March 17, from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM. The event starts at 2:30 PM with a rally at Old Town Park in Bloomingdale (1 block West and South of Lake Street and Bloomingdale Road). At 3:30 PM, participants will march 4 blocks south to hold a vigil outsid of Congressman Roskam's office at the southwest corner of Bloomingdale Road and Schick Road in Bloomingdale. The organizers state:

    "We'll hold standing vigil along the sidewalks at Peter Roskam's office, presenting our peace message (and Honk for Peace message) to heavy auto traffic passing by. The visual and audible call for peace will be clear and unmistakable for all to hear."

    Latin American Solidarity Conference
    Latin America Solidarity Conference IV: Alternatives to Empire will be held in Chicago on April 13 ­ 15. This is the 4th national Latin America Solidarity Coalition conference. US grassroots solidarity activists will be joined by activists and organizers from Latin America and the Caribbean to plan, evaluate and celebrate the growing US Latin America solidarity movement. For more information, go to:
    http://www.lasolidarity.org/

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Upcoming Events of Interest

    Events listed here are not necessarily endorsed by Chicago DSA but should be of interest to DSA members, friends and other lefties. For other events, go to http://www.chicagodsa.org/page9.html.

    Saturday, March 10, 12 Noon
    Rally for Immigrant Rights
    Federal Plaza, Dearborn and Adams, Chicago
    In the anniversary of the first mega march for immigrant rights, come to Federal Plaza to stand up for the right to work and live in this country without fear. Organized by the March 10 Movement. For information go to:
    http://chicago.indymedia.org/newswire/display/76567/index.php

    Thursday, March 15, 7 PM
    Art From the Popular Movement in Oaxaca
    Café Mestizo, 1646 W. 18th St, Chicago
    Presented by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers in collaboration with ASAR-O. Learn about the struggle of farm workers in Florida as well as the struggles in Oaxaca, Mexico. Prints will be for sale.

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    PLEASE FORWARD TO THOSE YOU THINK WOULD BE INTERESTED.

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    !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

     
     
     

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