Health, labor reform meetings hitting the Hi-Line
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Tim Leeds Havre Daily News [email protected]
Montana Change that Works is coming back to the Havre area during a 22-community tour in an ambulance that brings another issue along with health care reform to the area for discussion. Meetings will be held in Big Sandy, Chester and Havre next week to collect comments and ideas and organize grassroots support for the health care reform now working through Congress and for a pro-union bill working through Congress. The grassroots movement, organized by t h e S e r v i c e Emp l oye e s Un i o n International, has been in the area before pushing for support of the health care overhaul. A pancake breakfast meeting was held in Chester May 13, and a meeting in Havre tied in by videoconference with 11 other meetings around the state was held June 29. The group has been holding meetings throughout the state to push for the reform, and the meetings next week are part of the tour it is calling the Emergency Drive for Montana's Middle Class. Starting in Great Falls on Sunday during the state fair, with volunteers driving around the state in an ambulance to bring their message to the public. The prior Hi-Line meetings did not include discussing labor issues, a focus in next week's meetings. The Employee Free Choice Act now working through both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate is intended to make it easier for workers to unionize. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., in the Senate and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., including implementing stiffer penalties for what are defined as unfair labor practices such as threatening or trying to intimidate workers trying to form a union. After the event in Great Falls, which will include free health-care screenings by nurses, the group will drive the ambulance to Conrad to hold a letterwriting campaign, then to Big Sandy where it will hold an ice cream social from 5 to 7 p.m. Next Wednesday the group will drive to Chester, and plans to record stories about health care to give to the Montana members of Congress, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. It next will drive to Havre to hold an ice cream social at Pepin Park on 7th Avenue and 4th Street from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The group will continue on to Malta, Glasgow and Poplar the next day, and continue with daily stops for more than a week, ending in Kalispell and Libby on Aug. 7. On the Net: Mtchangethatworks.org.