VT UNION NURSES HOLD STATEHOUSE PRESS CONFERENCE:On Relief Effort in Haiti and Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign in Vermont

**NOTE: INCLUDING VT NURSES CALLING IN TO REPORT FROM HAITI**

WHAT: Press Conference: Live Report from Nurses Haiti Relief Effort and Vermont nurses and health professionals stand up on for Healthcare Is A Human Right.

WHEN: 12noon, Friday, January 29th

WHERE: Cedar Creek Room, Statehouse, Montpelier

DETAILS: Vermont union nurses and other healthcare professionals have scheduled this press conference to support the efforts of the Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign. Last week, the first of several delegations of Vermont union nurses and health professionals went to Haiti to assist the disaster relief effort. One of the leaders of the delegation is Mari Cordes, RN who lives in Lincoln, VT and is a leader of the nurses union at Fletcher Allen Health Care and Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign (HCHR). She recently facilitated a HCHR Forum in Vergennes and one week before she departed for Haiti she testified at the Statehouse calling for Vermont to lead the way in providing healthcare for all. In a recent report from Haiti she said: "I pray that we can learn how to care for all of our brothers and sisters without waiting for disaster."

BACKGROUND: In 2008, the Vermont Workers' Center launched the Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign and on May 1, 2009 organized a "Healthcare Is A Human Right" Rally at the Statehouse which drew over twelve hundred participants and was the largest weekday rally in the state's capitol history. After the rally, the campaign began collecting thousands of postcards signed by Vermonters across the state supporting Healthcare Is A Human Right and calling for action in the Legislature in 2010. In September a series of ten People’s Forums on Healthcare across the state with 77 state legislators and more than 800 people participating. They were held in Montpelier, Bennington, Brattleboro, Burlington, Rutland, Danville, St. Albans, Colchester, Morrisville and Vergennes. At the December 1st People's Forum in Colchester, Sen. Doug Racine the Chair of the Vermont Senate Health & Welfare Committee, announced that joint hearings on single payer bills H.100 and S.88 will begin on January 12. On January 6th over 200 hundred people attended an event to deliver over 4000 postcards to Sen. Racine, Senate President Peter Shumlin, Speaker Shap Smith and House Committee on Healthcare Chair, Rep. Steve Maier. Over 350 Vermonters filled into the the Statehouse for the January 12 Hearing, with an overwhleming majority calling for Vermont to fix the broken healthcare system. Vermont's Senator Bernie Sanders said at the event "We have an historic opportunity, not only for the people of this state but for the people of America, of leading this country forward in terms of a comprehensive, cost effective universal healthcare system, and if Vermont goes forward, other states will follow."

MORE INFO: Contact james@workerscenter.org or (802) 272-0882

- "VTers Report Challenges, Rewards at Working at Haiti Border" WCAX, http://www.wcax.com/global/video.asp?clipId=4486316&autostart=true

- "A Call for Health Reform" Jan 13, Times Argus, http://www.timesargus.com/article/20100113/NEWS/100119988

- "Hundreds Attend Statehouse Health Care Hearing" Jan 12, Seven Days, http://7d.blogs.com/blurt/2010/01/hundreds-attend-statehouse-health-care...

- "Public hearing on health care promises to turn personal" Jan 10, Rutland Herald & Times Argus http://www.rutlandherald.com/article/20100110/NEWS/100119998 (great photo)

- "Flurry of Activity in First Day of Session", VT Press Bureau, http://www.timesargus.com/article/20100107/NEWS02/1070348/1003/NEWS02

- "Workers Lobby for Single Payer Health Care" VT Public Radio, http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/86826/

- "Health Care Rally Held at Vermont Statehouse" http://www.wptz.com/news/22165408/detail.html

- "Group heads to Montpelier to push for healthcare reform" http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?S=11776082

- "VT. health reform tops January Agenda" VT Press Bureau http://www.timesargus.com/article/RH/20091214/NEWS03/912140360

- "To Your Health" 12/22/09 Seven Days column by Shay Totten http://www.7dvt.com/2009your-health

- Dec 10: Human Rights Day Report with Nurses & Sen. Racine: http://www.workerscenter.org/node/190

- Sen. Racine Announces Hearings on S.88/H.100: http://www.workerscenter.org/node/185

- Rutland Herald Editorial endorses HCHR Campaign: http://www.workerscenter.org/node/138

- Musicians launch benefit CD for HCHR Campaign: http://vermontcareforall.org/

- VPR's All Things Considered with Scott Ainslie, musician and HCHR leader. Link to listen http://www.vpr.net/flash/audio_player/audio_player.php?id=29863

- Dec 5: The Vermont NEA, the State's Largest Union Gets Behind HCHR Campaign http://www.workerscenter.org/node/189

- Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign: www.workerscenter.org/healthcare

- Summary of bills S.88/H.100: http://www.workerscenter.org/node/168

- Burlington Free Press My Turn "Vermont Must Lead The Way" http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20091202/OPINION02/912020315/...

- Vermont Public Radio Report on HCHR: http://www.workerscenter.org/node/134