Mark Naccarato is Political and Communications Coordinator for SEIU Local 205, a labor union committed to improving the lives of working families across Tennessee.
Mark Naccarato's Articles:
The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) has become a favorite target of the extreme right wing. As SEIU becomes a more significant force for change in this country, we are going to continue to be hit by the same extreme right-wing attack machine that is trying to block healthcare reform and regulatory reform – the change this country needs to help working families and to rebuild the middle class.
The radical right in this country wants nothing more than to make SEIU, grassroots community groups, and any individual who fights against the status quo their next casualty. They are seeking to silence the voices of those men and women who suffered the most under 8 years of extreme right-wing policies, and to smear anyone who stands up for those men and women. Right now, there are daily attacks from conservative radio and TV pundits on us for our work on healthcare, labor rights, immigration, and our working relationship with community and progressive organizations – most recently ACORN.
While Conservatives rail against their “big socialist government” boogeyman, an interesting new pattern seems to be developing that indicates that Republicans may be willing to thumb their nose at their corporate funders (and capitalism in general) in order to oppose the President who trounced them in the last election.
The evidence? Well, the latest example comes from Rush Limbaugh, the voice of the Republican Party, and his right-wing copycats as they denounce the President’s “Cash for Clunkers” program. «Read the rest of this article»
The Impact of Reform: Undeniable benefits from the “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act” in Tennessee’s 5th Congressional district
“As a small business owner who knows I need to offer quality, affordable healthcare to all my employees in order to attract the best workers and to compete with larger businesses, I support H.R. 3200 and so should Rep. Cooper,” said Chris Link of Imagination Branding, which is based in Nashville. “I want to know why Rep. Cooper is standing in the way of sensible legislation that will help small business owners like me.” In the Fifth Congressional District, 16,000 small businesses could receive tax credits to provide coverage to their employees, according to a recent report from the House of Representatives’ Energy & Commerce Committee. «Read the rest of this article»
With less than 24 hours notice, Change That Works and its coalition partners staged a massive counter-demonstration at a Tea Party in Rutherford County in front of Rep. Bart Gordon’s office, turning a Tea Party into a “Healthcare Party”.
The anti-reform “Teabaggers”, who numbered about seven people, were overwhelmed as over 60 healthcare supporters stormed the square in downtown Murfreesboro to urge Bart Gordon to support H.R. 3200. «Read the rest of this article»
With Congress debating how to reform America’s health care system, a new survey report reveals that Tennessee’s small business owners, including the self-employed, are struggling to afford healthcare coverage and have strong opinions on how health reform should be shaped. The report – “American Health Care Reform: Serious Business for Tennessee’s Small Businesses” – illustrates small business owners’ concerns and preferences for reform.
“This study provides new insight into the opinions of small business owners across Tennessee and shows their preferences for health care reform issues,” says Craig Anne Heflinger, professor of human and organizational development in Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Human Development and a coauthor of the report.
Key findings from the report include:
Another kind of change is happening in America since the Obama Administration took office – a change in how corporations and their shareholders conduct business.
On April 29, during one of the most contentious annual shareholder meetings in Bank of America’s history, shareholders called for new leadership and greater accountability as 50.3 percent voted in favor of a resolution forcing Chairman Ken Lewis to resign as Chairman of the Board. “Today, we saw a vote of no confidence in Ken Lewis who has overseen record losses in stock value and whose short-sighted business plans have put personal gain ahead of shareholders and the long-term health of the company,” said SEIU Master Trust Chairman Andy Stern. «Read the rest of this article»
With unemployment skyrocketing across the state, the health care crisis is becoming even more pronounced, especially in the rural areas of West Tennessee, where the unemployment rate has reached 27% in Perry County. For most people – especially in rural areas – losing a job means losing health insurance.
Jerry Callis, a truck driver from Trenton in Gibson County weighs in on the new realities he’s facing since he’s become unemployed: «Read the rest of this article»
While most of the healthcare activism in Tennessee seems to be happening in Nashville, Memphis, and the state’s other big and medium-sized cities, it’s important for us not to ignore the rural areas across the state. After all, it’s in Tennessee’s rural areas where the healthcare crisis is the worst.
According to a new report released by the Service Employees International Union called The Value of Reform in Tennessee, the reality of the healthcare crisis is grim in Tennessee’s rural towns. In the current recession, the rural economy is losing jobs at a faster rate than the rest of the nation, and loss of jobs can lead to loss of health coverage. These hard-working folks – unemployed through no fault of their own – are forced to either go without insurance or pay out of pocket to get it. And people who have to buy insurance on their own tend to pay more for premiums, have higher deductibles, and have fewer procedures covered. One out of five rural residents spends more than $1,000 per year out of their own pocket on health services. Overall, rural residents pay 40% out of pocket for medical needs—a significantly bigger hit than other Americans absorb. «Read the rest of this article»
As the dust settles from the political explosion that occurred recently with Senator Arlen Specter (D-PA), it is important to examine what Specter’s defection means in the fight for healthcare reform. Looking at the Republican Party’s past record on dealing with weighty issues related to public health and safety, it would be safe to predict that it won’t mean much to the Republicans.
Case in point… Kathleen Sebelius, the President’s nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services, was finally confirmed by the Senate only after being held up by Republicans for nearly two months. And it wasn’t just Sebelius who was stonewalled by the GOP. As of this writing, there are still 15 other top positions at HHS awaiting Senate confirmation, along with a director for the Center for Disease Control. You would think that an outbreak of swine flu – one which is suspected of killing 149 people and sickening some 1,600 others in Mexico and which has already killed a 2 year old child in Texas – would encourage the Party of No to say “yes” to confirming the President’s properly vetted public health officials. Right? «Read the rest of this article»
Unemployment has now reached 9.1% in Tennessee, with Perry County topping the list at 27%. Tax collections and state revenues are down, just as the need for government assistance and public services is skyrocketing. The number of people on food stamps, along with those losing their health insurance increases exponentially, while manufacturers and retailers from Memphis to Kingsport shut down their businesses – wiping out relatively good-paying jobs and whole regional economies.
Enter the Tennessee Republican Party, who declared victory upon taking the reins of leadership in the General Assembly for the first time since Reconstruction. The TNGOP, who barely eked out a win here in November, moved quickly to announce an agenda that would show all Tennesseans that the Republican Party was ready to handle the economic crisis.
Or not. «Read the rest of this article»
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