The 33rd Constitutional Convention of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union has gone on record urging Congress to enact HR 676, a bill introduced by Reps. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) to implement a single-payer health care system in the U.S. The ILWU, whose convention met the third week in May, represents all dockworkers in West Coast ports from San Diego to Vancouver.

Several other international union conventions this summer are slated to consider the legislation in response to resolutions from their local union bodies. Included in this list are the United Auto Workers, National Association of Letter Carriers, Plumbers and Teamsters.

Supporters emphasize that HR 676 would cover every person in the U. S. for all necessary medical care including prescription drugs, hospitalization, dental, mental health, home health, physical therapy, substance abuse treatment, vision care and long-term care. HR 676 ends deductibles and co-payments. HR 676 would save billions annually by eliminating the high overhead and profits of the private health insurance industry and HMOs.

In West Mifflin, Pa., UAW Local 544, which represents workers at the General Motors Fisher Body plant, has endorsed the Conyers legislation. Further west, in Michigan, the state convention of the American Postal Workers Union adopted a similar resolution. One state over, in Indiana, three groups of steelworkers have endorsed the legislation including USW Sub-District 4 of District 7, SOAR Chapter 30-18 in Plymouth, and USW Local 12775 in Portage.

Seventy-one members of Congress have now signed on to the bill.

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