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Change to Win Members Address DNC Platform Drafting Committee
Date:8/2/2008

CLEVELAND, Aug. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Change to Win leader and vice-president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Geralyn Lutty, along with two members from Change to Win unions, joined state and national experts and grassroots Americans in Cleveland, Ohio this weekend for the Democratic Party's Platform Drafting Committee meeting to assist in defining and drafting the Party's national platform.

During Friday's hearing, Lutty stressed the importance of implementing sound economic policies that will help build a new American Dream for America's workers.

"America's workers face an economic squeeze with rising prices, fewer jobs and a financial crisis. Unrestrained, unregulated and greed-driven economics have produced the crisis we face today. There is too much power and too much wealth in too few hands. We need to implement policies that bring balance, fairness and equality to the economy and the workplace."

Change to Win union members Linda Graham and Ken Brown were featured speakers for the "Listening to America Session" roundtable discussion with committee members this morning, sharing their struggles in the current economic and health care crises.

Linda Graham, a Pittsburgh native, health care worker, and member of Pennsylvania's largest union of health care workers, SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, works at the Central Blood Bank in Pittsburgh. Her father, a veteran, does not have access to high quality health care coverage, even though he has access to the VA hospital.

"I took my father to the hospital with a swollen leg. I could tell that he was retaining fluid, but the hospital dismissed him saying, it could be gout but they weren't sure. Just a few days later he had a heart attack," said Graham. "My dad almost died because he didn't receive the health care he needed. He served and protected our nation. But now our healthcare system is failing him -- and he's not alone."

Ken Brown has worked in the Case Farm poultry plant in Winesburg, Ohio for more than 20 years, and in that time his pay has increased by only 35 cents in total. After facing years of poor pay, dangerous work conditions, and complete disregard for the most basic of worker rights, Brown and his colleagues decided to try and organize their workplace. They signed cards and an election was held, in which the vast majority of workers voted for the union. The United Food and Commercial Workers, Local 880, has been in negotiations with Case Farms since June of 2007, but the company has refused to take them seriously and they still have yet to reach a real first contract agreement.

"Companies can just do whatever they want, stalling or waiting it out and threatening employees, so that they don't really get a union even though everybody wants one," said Brown. "And the way it is now, there's no real punishment for doing that. It's not fair."

Brown says that lawmakers need to know that stories like his aren't uncommon. "You hear about companies doing this kind of stuff all the time. We need better policies from Washington that make it easier for workers to join a union, without the company interfering."

About Change to Win

Change to Win is a partnership of seven unions and six million members founded in 2005 to organize workers of the new American economy. Change to Win is committed to restoring the American Dream so that all workers have a paycheck that can support a family, affordable health care, a secure and dignified retirement, and the opportunity for the next generation to be better off. The seven affiliated unions are: Service Employees International Union, UNITE HERE, United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Laborers' International Union of North America, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America and United Farm Workers of America.

http://www.changetowin.org


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SOURCE Change to Win
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