As executive director of Service Employees International Union, New York State Council, I would like to comment on the "1,000-pound gorilla" analogy that Tom Precious used to describe Local 1199's role in the debate over extension of the Health Care Reform Act, which was just passed by the Assembly.
We strongly believe that the state's largest health-care union ought to take a strong stand when it comes to protecting the health of New Yorkers and extending insurance to the uninsured. The discussion over HCRA is not a fight to "extend" something. It is a debate about the fundamental health of our health-care system and the people who rely on it.
It is a fact that New York State has been at the forefront of many major medical breakthroughs and is a leader in the field of medical research.
The new HCRA 2000 simply keeps our teaching hospitals on the cutting edge of medical technologies and keeps residents healthier.
And just as important, HCRA 2000 also begins to address the crisis of the uninsured through an aggressive new proposal, Family Health Plus, that would provide affordable health coverage for the state's 3.2 million uninsured.
Our willingness to enter this fray is something we are proud of because the health of our hospitals and New Yorkers themselves is at stake.
So if fighting for quality and accessible health care makes us a "1,000-pound gorilla," then pass the bananas.
New York City