The Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign, a project of the Vermont Workers’ Center (VWC), aims to change what is “politically possible” in the healthcare debate through grassroots organizing and a strategic reframing of healthcare as a basic human right and the healthcare crisis as a human rights emergency. While our long-term goal is a universal, single-payer healthcare system, our focus in the immediate period is not on policy, but on educating, organizing and mobilizing the broad working class around the demand that healthcare is a human right.

Healthcare Human Rights Survey – the VWC has developed a survey which we will e using as an outreach, education and organizing tool. The survey will be used to collect data and stories about the impact of the healthcare crisis on Vermont’s working class, but more importantly, as a tool to have organizing conversations, educate those being surveyed about the human rights framework, and identify potential activists and leaders. We anticipate using this survey in a variety of settings, including workplaces, community organizations, and door-to-door canvassing.

Human Rights Hearings – as the campaign develops, we anticipate holding public Human Rights Hearings on Healthcare, to provide a place where working-class Vermonters can testify about the effects of the healthcare crisis and to publicly frame those effects as a denial of human rights.

Human Rights Report – this fall, building on the data collected on the surveys and testimony heard at the hearings, the VWC will work with other allied organizations to produce a report. The purpose of this report is to put into a readable, yet serious, written report:

  1. a human-right-based analysis of the healthcare crisis in Vermont
  2. a re-affirmation of the economic feasibility of a universal healthcare system
  3. “voices of the healthcare crisis” – to capture stories from the human rights surveys and hearings

Human Rights Conference – Marking the 60th Anniversary of the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, on Saturday, December 13th, the Workers’ Center will work with others to hold an Ella Baker Human Rights Conference at the University of Vermont (UVM). The goal of this conference will be to popularize and deepen understanding of and commitment to human rights framework and movement-building strategies among the campaign’s base and allied organizations.

Sick Day at the Legislature – on Friday, May 1st, 2009, the VWC will call on Vermonters to call in sick to work and come to the legislature to make the healthcare human rights crisis a crisis for our legislators.

Download a PDF flyer of this campaign description ]