Photo: Greensboro City Workers Union Vice President Brendan Parmenter-Wynands (left) speaks during a press conference outside the Service Operations Center on Monday. (photo by Jordan Green)
A small group of Greensboro public workers gathered outside the city’s Service Operations Center on Patton Avenue on the eve of the Super Tuesday primary to express support for Medicare for All.
Additionally, they are calling for a step pay plan — a salary structure with standard progression rates established within a pay range for a job — a grievance procedure.
The workers, all members of the Greensboro City Workers Union, joined with counterparts in the North Carolina Public Service Workers Union, UE Local 150, for coordinated action with their counterparts in Charlotte, Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Goldsboro and Rocky Mount on Monday evening.
“One of the reasons why healthcare is so high [is] because is greed; it’s flat greed,” said Darryl Brooks, a field operations worker, addressing about a dozen coworkers. “Doctors want a wife, a girlfriend…. They want two houses, a boat and four cars. That’s why healthcare is so high is because of greed…. So they charge what they want. Be real about it: It’s all about the money.”
Brendan Parmenter-Wynands, vice president of the Greensboro Public Workers Union said Durham City Council, Carrboro Town Council and the Orange County Commission have adopted resolutions supporting Medicare for All. Public workers in Greensboro would like their city council to do the same.
The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America — the Greensboro City Workers’ national parent union — has endorsed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders for president, Parmenter-Wynands said. UE 150, the state union, has endorsed Erica Smith for US Senate. But speakers at the rally in Greensboro didn’t mention any candidates by name, instead focusing on the issue.
“Vote for candidates up and down the ballot who support Medicare for All,” Parmenter-Wynands urged.
Parmenter Wynands said after the press conference that city employees are not allowed to talk about politics on the job. But he said his coworkers’ preferences in the Democratic presidential primary largely mirror the range of views within the community at large.
Brooks said that with candidates talking about Medicare for All, there’s a renewed opportunity to push Congress to make it a reality.
“We have a chance, yes,” he said. “As we all know, we have a collapsible government; it’s not just one voice. But the president can be that one voice saying, ‘Let’s reignite it,’ because it’s been doused. We need to reignite it.”