Vision: Health Care for All

Volume CV, No. 12December, 2005

Alan Cage

On Oct. 22, Local 802 hosted a networking meeting, cosponsored by Rock and Rap Confidential, for groups and individuals interested in exploring how musicians and artists can play a role in addressing the current health care crisis in the U.S.

Joe Delia, assistant to the president, told Allegro that “hosting an event like this stems from Local 802’s commitment to not only be part of the labor movement, but to be part of a broader social movement as well.”

Representatives from the Jazz Foundation of America, the AFLCIO, Physicians for a National Health Program, the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, Acts of Art, the University of the Poor — as well as Local 802 members — participated in a spirited discussion, sharing ideas and experiences. Author Luis J. Rodriguez passionately related his experiences as a community activist and writer to the struggle that musicians and other artists face in obtaining healthcare.

Lee Ballinger of the Rock and Rap Confidential said of the event, “This was an opportunity to bring different forces together in an attempt to explore ways in which we can begin to address this issue together.” He stressed the need to continue working on short-term as well as longterm goals. “You can’t separate people’s immediate need for health care from the long-term goal of universal health coverage,” said Ballinger.

Both Local 802 and Rock and Rap Confidential expressed the hope that this event would serve as a springboard for future work and collaborations between the groups and individuals who participated. Access to adequate health care is a crucial issue not only for our union and its members but also for working people as a whole.