A Call For Solidarity Among Health Care and Public Health Workers For The Sake Of Equitable, Universal Care

We are health workers from a variety of disciplines and settings who write at a critical political moment. Healthcare and public health in this country are too fragmented to be truly called a system. Health workers have been charged with patching it together, some of us at great personal cost; but we deserve what all workers deserve. We call for all healthcare and public health worker organizations to work together in solidarity, supporting their colleagues, acting against the hierarchy that still constrains our professions. But what is more: we emphasize this solidarity as a step toward changing the status quo, breaking the grip of rapacious capitalism that substitutes nihilistic individualism for societal care.

We call for all healthcare organizations, including hospitals, medical and public health schools, health departments, public health organizations, non-governmental organizations, governments, employers, professional associations, and unions, to sign on to these principles. Furthermore, we invite all who agree with these principles to join in a transdisciplinary movement to help make them happen. We understand that asking such organizations to act according to these principles is to act against their current self-interest. In that case, let these principles be a goal that decommodification of care, coupled with community control, can help achieve.

  1. All health workers have the right to organize to negotiate for their own working conditions and to strike over unsafe conditions. This includes workers hired by subcontractors of larger entities. Health workers should practice solidarity with other workers by joining their organizing activities and invite them to support health-related demands.
  2. Health-oriented professional schools including schools of public health should not charge tuition.
  3. Healthcare entities including hospitals, schools of public health and academic medical centers should pay the full measure of local, state and Federal taxes, as businesses that profit from an extractive system of private health insurance, to support systems that provide housing and food, together with other elements necessary to life.
  4. All health workers, professional societies, unions and healthcare organizations should advocate and agitate for universal healthcare.
  5. All health science education should teach the social, political, and structural determinants of health, such as housing and employment, and the racist past and present of medicine.
  6. Healthcare training programs must prioritize diversity.
  7. We recognize that to enact these principles, we must counteract capitalism, which transforms life, health and healthcare into a commodity available only to the wealthy.

In solidarity,

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