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Happy Labor Day from the Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State!

As you know the end of the summer is rapidly approaching—and that means it’s finally time to celebrate Labor Day! We hope you are all enjoying the final days of the season and that you’re able to find time to relax and recharge over the coming long weekend. We also hope you’ll find time to reflect on the holiday and why it’s as important as ever to support growing labor movements across the country. For nearly three months now, members of the Writers’ Guild of America (WGA)— including about 6,800 New Yorkers—have been on strike in response to failed negotiations with major Hollywood employers and an overall shift in the entertainment industry that has turned writing into a primarily freelance profession. Since mid-July members of the Screen Actors Guild–American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) have been on strike, protesting corporate greed and demanding fair contracts. Around 32,000 New Yorkers are in their number. Other labor actions and strikes have been breaking out this summer, including in Rochester, where nurses were on strike in August, the latest development in a long-term fight to gain safe staffing levels at Rochester General Hospital. The collective struggle of workers for respect and power in the context of their jobs is inseparable from the broader movement for social, racial, and economic justice. This Labor Day we celebrate the ways unions have impacted all of us, not only by forcing transformative changes like the end of child labor, the 40-hour work week, anti-discrimination laws, and other basic protections but also by demonstrating the world-changing power that can be unleashed when regular people stand together in solidarity to confront the structures that oppress them. In solidarity, Rev. E. West McNeill Executive Director


Learn More About Two Ongoing Union Struggles! In recognition of Labor Day, we profiled two recent union struggles: the Rochester Nurses' Strike and the ongoing WGA/SAG-AFTRA Strike. Check out our latest blogposts to learn more about why union members are striking and how you can support them in the struggle!

  • Rochester Nurses Deserve Better

  • Together, we will win!


LRC and Save Burdett Birthing Center Coalition Host Community Forum On August 14th, LRC joined community members, advocates, and politicians from across the Capital Region for a Forum to Save Burdett Birthing Center! In June, St. Peter’s Health Partners submitted a proposal to close the birthing center, citing financial losses. Closing Burdett, though, would result in the loss of critical birthing services in Rensselaer County and the Capital Region, as well as impact the community overall by putting a strain on other resources, like fire departments and hospitals. In response to the proposed closure, and because St. Peter’s Health Partners released the proposal shortly before a new law went into effect that would have mandated they conduct a health equity impact assessment, advocates held a public forum allowing community members to share their experiences at Burdett, which highlighted the critical services they provide. “I cannot tell you how much that really eased my anxiety and how good that felt as a person of color to go and see where I am going to be giving birth, this really really intimate experience,” said Zanetta Graham, who gave birth at Burdett in 2017. Chief among advocates’ concerns is how the closure would impact healthy equity and quality of life for the community. Women, LGBTQIA+ community members, racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, people with low incomes and those enrolled in Medicaid, people living with disabilities, and rural community members are among those who would be disproportionately impacted by closing Burdett. Get involved in the fight to save the Burdett Birthing Center TODAY! Faith leaders in the Capital Region can do so by signing this open letter. Other members of the community can sign this petition!


Join LRC on Monday, September 11th, for a #HealthcareJustice Film Screening! You're invited to a screening of the new film, Healing US, about the struggle for universal healthcare in the United States. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion, including the creators of the film, experts in the field, and organizers in the movement for universal healthcare. During the panel, we’ll be discussing how we’re organizing to make healthcare a human right. This year, more than 68,000 Americans will die from a lack of access to adequate healthcare. 500,000 families will file for bankruptcy because of medical expenses. These numbers only represent a fraction of the trauma that millions of people experience every day in the American for-profit healthcare industry. Yet over 70% of Americans support switching to a universal healthcare system. Healing US stands as the final case for American healthcare to be free and accessible to all. Join us on Monday, September 11, at the Holiday Inn Saratoga Springs (232 Broadway). Attendees should arrive by 6:30 pm in order to take a COVID-19 rapid test, provided on-site. The screening will begin at 7 pm. Learn more about the event and RSVP here.


Save the Date! The New York State Poor People’s Campaign’s annual People’s Assembly will take place in Stony Point, NY, from October 20th to 22nd. Please stay tuned for more details! The People's Assembly brings together activists and leaders from across New York State to build community, learn together, and plan our next steps for 2024 as we build a statewide multi-issue, multi-faith, multi-racial, intergenerational movement to fight back against the interlocking systems of poverty, systemic racism, militarism, and ecological devastation. More information about the Assembly will be released in the coming weeks, but we hope to see you there!


2023 Nonviolent Medicaid Army Week of Action

Join us during the week of September 17th as the National Nonviolent Medicaid Army mobilizes across the country to meet people’s healthcare needs by demanding an expansion of healthcare and an end to the Medicaid cutoffs currently underway. In New York, we are taking our stand in New York City on September 21 and Elmira on September 16. Elmira: People’s Clinic, Saturday Sept. 16, 10 am-4 pm, Grace Episcopal Church, 375 W Church St. New York City: Rally and speakout in front of Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, September 21, Noon, Morris Ave. between 147th and 148th Streets


Check out these upcoming LRC events! On September 24th, from 1:30-3:00pm, Rev. West McNeill will lead a workshop, Protecting and Expanding Democracy in New York, at Riverside Church. On October 26th, from 7:30-9:00pm, Rev. West McNeill will participate in a public forum, Universal Healthcare—Why the NY Health Act Matters, at Riverdale Temple, 4545 Indepence Avenue in the Bronx. Stay tuned for more information and RSVP links for both events.

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