Rank-and-file healthcare workers talk about building resistance on the job and in their unions, organizing the unorganized, the fight for universal healthcare, being a socialist at the workplace, and strategies for a militant new labor movement.
BACKGROUND: For the majority of people in the US, health care is a system in crisis – a landscape marred by subpar services, unequal access, racial inequalities, millions uninsured, rising premiums and soaring debt. This trillion-dollar industry reaps massive profits for hospital execs, insurance corporations, pharmaceuticals and technology firms while patient care facilities get the chopping block and working-class communities struggle with prohibitive costs. In New York City alone, 16 hospitals have been shut down since 2003. Heightened competition, management-by-stress, technological advancements, rapacious profit-mongering, neoliberal policies, and the weakened position of labor unions have led to intolerable conditions for workers and patients.
However, healthcare workers are not taking things lying down. In recent years, nurses have been at the forefront of labor battles and audacious strike actions. The force of healthcare workers – many women, immigrant, of color, and more unionized than other sectors – supported Black Lives Matter, went on strike, fought for better staffing and universal healthcare. Those watching the recent strike wave among teachers have pointed to the strategic importance of the unrest brewing among educational and healthcare workers. Join a discussion with frontline workers who are practicing and exploring what it means to be socialist on the job, in the union, and in a brutal healthcare system.