USW Members, Retirees to Altmire: Sitting In Until You Stand Up for Us

Sunday, March 21, 2010 General News
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ALIQUIPPA, Pa., March 20 Dozens of local UnitedSteelworkers (USW) members and retirees are sitting in the Aliquippa office ofPennsylvania Rep. Jason Altmire today to urge the Congressman to change hisvote for health insurance reform.

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The working men and women and retirees represent the voters in Altmire'sdistrict and across the nation who desperately want and need health insurancereform to pass so that our economy can get back in track. Reform will cutcosts, save jobs, help our seniors and provide coverage for tens of millionsof uninsured - many of them hard-working folks who despite having jobs cannotafford insurance.

"We busted our humps working for Jason Altmire and many other politicianswho time and time again promise us that they'll work for us and workingfamilies across America. We are tired of the broken promises. We helpedCongressman Altmire win this seat because he vowed he would vote for healthinsurance reform. We're here today urging him to keep that promise," said RickGaliano, president of USW Local 9305 in Beaver Falls, Pa.

"Our communities, our members and our retirees need real health insurancereform. We all know no bill is perfect but this is a historic first step thatwe must take. Too many people are suffering, even dying because they don'thave health insurance," said Mike Sabat, also of USW Local 9305. "We stood upfor Jason Altmire when he needed us most. Now we're sitting in until he standsup for us."

Marion Prasjner, president of the Aliquippa chapter of the SteelworkersOrganization of Active Retirees, or SOAR, said seniors have endured a long,confusing, often ugly debate about health reform but ultimately understand nowis the time for change.

"We talk to retirees every day. We live in this community. We're thechurch leaders, the volunteers, the voters. We know seniors want healthinsurance reform that helps them get medicine without sacrificing food orother needs. We want Congressman Altmire to truly represent his district andvote for reform."

Bernie Hall, president of Local 8183 in Beaver County, Pa., said USWmembers and retirees will remember come election time who stood for them."This sit in symbolizes not only our passion for health insurance reform butour frustration with politicians who repeatedly choose corporate specialinterests and TV talk show hysteria over the working families who electedthem. We've simply had enough."

Andrew Harkvlich, president of USW Local 1660 in Mercer County, Pa., saidhe's talked to fellow members, friends, neighbors and others who aredisappointed with Altmire's decision. "I remember like yesterday working forcandidate Altmire and he said he would go to bat for us on health care andother issues. Today, my members and I feel betrayed," Harkvlich said.

Several religious leaders joined the sit in, offering moral support andprayer.

"We need to be urgent and vigilant in challenging Jason's decision," saidthe Rev. Don Green of McCandless, Pa. "We have a responsibility to care foreach other, especially those who are most vulnerable and in need."

The USW represents 850,000 workers in the U.S., Canada and Caribbeanemployed in the industries of metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refiningand the service sector. For more information:

CONTACT: Connie Mabin, USW, or 724-601-5282

SOURCE United Steelworkers

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