Fighting for Affordable Health Care in a “House of Justice”

AFSCME Local 946 union members, who work at the nonprofit Bet Tzedek Legal Services agency near downtown Los Angeles, advocate in court on behalf of sweatshop workers and other exploited people on the margins. Bet Tzedek in Hebrew means a “House of Justice.”

But now they are fighting for a bit of justice for themselves. The staff are protesting their employer’s plans to price quality medical coverage completely out of their reach:  Employees paying $30 per month for dependent health care, for example, would be forced to pay $635 per month under the new plan.

The union members have taken to the streets twice in informational pickets over recent days and are planning additional actions to increase pressure on management to consider a compromise solution.

Union President Marc Bender, a Bet Tzedek attorney who has won countless high-profile cases on behalf of Los Angeles area sweatshop workers:

We willingly sacrifice financially each and every day because we are committed to the work we do for the neediest in our community. In fact, we have told management we are willing to decrease our wages further, just to be able to keep dependable health care for our families.

But Bet Tzedek so far is refusing to listen.

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