Washington DC’s Farragut Square turned into Sherwood Forest this weekend as 2,000 Robin Hoods rallied for a Wall Street Tax to pay for healthcare, medical research, and education.
Fifteen MNA members joined union nurses from Massachusetts, DC, and across the country to demand President Obama and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to implement the “Robin Hood Tax,” a transaction fee on stock trading that could generate $260 billion for the needs of the middle class.
“We have seen the devastation of our patients at the bedside,” said Bernadine (Bunny) Engeldorf, RN, Vice-President of MNA, “we discharge our patients to the streets because some people are picking between healthcare and paying the mortgage.”
“As nurses we can be advocates for patients because we see first-hand how the economy has affected our patients,” said Katie Skipton, RN, from Bemidji.
Buses full tourists in DC for the cherry blossom season saw nurses put on a flash mob as they rallied for an hour with other unions and more than 140 organizations, including ATU and Public Service International. Then they marched from the square to the White House to the US Treasury Building carrying giant puppets of wealthy Wall Street bankers. Nurses were also trying to get the attention of G-20 finance ministers and dovetail on the introduction of the “Inclusive Prosperity Act,” HR 1579, which was introduced by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN).
“If you can’t be strong enough to go to work, it affects your mental health,” Engeldorf, a mental health nurse, said, “we’ve had people actively suicidal because they can’t get a job.”
“We do our best to get patients healthy and get them home,” Kipton said, “but once they leave the hospital no amount of care or education will help them keep their house.”
Besides the rally, Minnesota MNA members met with the staffs of Minnesota Congressional members Betty McCollum, Colin Peterson, Keith Ellison, and Rick Nolan.