Why SEIU is getting behind Healthcare Rising Arizona
Sean Wherley is a spokesperson for SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, one of the largest unions of hospital workers in the western United States, with more than 95,000 members.
SEIU-UHW’s goals are to help people in Arizona build Healthcare Rising Arizona to advocate for better and more affordable healthcare in the state and pass the ballot initiative. We see Healthcare Rising Arizona as a unique organization of patients, consumers and workers, and our goal is to collect all of the signatures through a volunteer effort.
This effort is a continuation of the work we did in 2016 to raise the minimum wage and provide paid sick leave to Arizona workers through The Fairness Project. SEIU-UHW sees its mission as helping working people and their families improve their lives and standards of living. We believe we cannot be successful if all we care about is our narrow interests, and so we work in the broader public interest as well and have been doing so for nearly a decade.
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It’s why we created and fund The Fairness Project, an independent 501(c)(4) that has helped run numerous ballot initiatives across the country to expand Medicaid (Utah, Idaho, Nebraska, Maine); raise the minimum wage (Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Washington, Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, Missouri and Arkansas); provide workers with paid sick leave (Arizona, Michigan, Washington, and San Antonio); and rein in payday lending (Colorado).
This election cycle we are working to expand Medicaid in Missouri and Oklahoma; looking at raising the minimum wage in a number of states; and are giving in-kind help to the car title initiative in Arizona. We also were the prime movers behind a lawsuit against the state of California claiming that the state is violating the civil rights of Latinos by systematically underfunding Medicaid (called Medi-Cal in California), and we are working with Governors State University to create programs to train the healthcare workforce of the future to fill expected shortages of licensed and accredited workers.