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Remarks by AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka, USW Health Care 'Thank You' Rally, Washington, DC

Richard Trumka • May 6, 2010

Brothers and sisters, it's great to see the mighty Steelworkers here today.  Let's hear it for the United Steelworkers of America.  I want to thank our Steelworker warriors for organizing this rally, and for the role you played in bringing us health care reform for the first time in the history of our country.  

All of you here today are warriors --- and I'm sure the distinguished members of Congress here join me in thanking all of you for standing up for them.  And we are honored that Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Hoyer, Senator Durbin and so many great leaders in Congress are with us this morning.  

Together, we made history. We made this country a better place for our children and their children. We took a giant leap forward in our 60-year fight for health care for all.  

These elected leaders are our heroes – every one of them -- and today we're here to give them a big shout-out for delivering national health care reform, for standing up to the big insurance companies, for standing up for working families, and standing up for America.  

There's one person who played a seriously remarkable role. And I can't stand up here without singling her out.  She gives new meaning to the phrase "iron will."  I have never seen a more thoughtful, more determined, more effective fighter than Speaker Nancy Pelosi!   

This was not an easy battle for any of our elected officials --- there were no easy votes. The insurance industry spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to kill us, and to slander and defame the members of Congress who had the courage to do the right thing.  

But our Democratic heroes had the courage to tell insurance companies no more. No more refusing to cover our children. No more denying coverage for pre-existing conditions. No more cutting people off when they get sick. No more second-guessing our doctors, and no more telling people you can go ahead and die.  

No more.  

Thanks to your hard work, and to the members of Congress who were unflinching in their leadership -- we shouted loud and clear: Yes, we can cover 32 million uninsured Americans; yes, we can control costs and stop killing jobs; yes, we can pull seniors out of the "donut hole"; and yes, we can make this a country where working families don't have to choose between medical care and putting food on the table; between paying their health care premiums and paying their mortgages.  

Say it with me: Yes we can.  

Brothers and sisters, we're proud of the job our supporters in Congress have done, not only in the fight for health care, but in our continuing crusades for economic recovery, new jobs, Wall Street reform and immigration reform. They've led us through the lies and distortions, the name-calling, and the Republican attempts to shut down our legislative process. We thank them for supporting us, and we want them to know it's payback time.  

You supported us, now it's our turn. You were with us in January, and February, and March, and April, and we'll be with you in November!  

We will work harder, and we will fight smarter, and we will win.  

Yes we will.

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