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Weiner honors healthcare worker; victim of strike

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Representative Anthony D. Weiner honored Audrey Smith-Campbell, a Bronx nurse for the Kingsbridge Heights Rehabilitation Center who died after she couldn’t afford the medicine for her severe asthma. Campbell no longer had health care after the rehabilitation center unilaterally decided to stop making payments to the employee health care fund. Weiner told her story on the floor of the House of Representatives, saying “she should be honored for the way she lived – and we should all be ashamed for the reasons she died.” Weiner’s full statement is below:

 “Several months ago the Kingsbridge Heights Rehabilitation Center in the West Bronx unilaterally decided to stop making payments to the health care fund for its employees.  Before some of my colleagues ‘tisk tisk, well that’s just the free market at work’  – this center has made $5.2 million in profits last year and its CAO, Helen Sieger, made $700,000 in salary – all of it paid for by Medicaid funds, our tax dollars.

 “Audrey Smith-Campbell and 220 of her colleagues decided they weren’t going to take it; they were going to go on strike.  Audrey Smith-Campbell was not a union activist or an ideologue.  She was for thirty years a certified nurse assistant, caring for our parents and our grandparents, giving them dignity in their most vulnerable moments.  She knew she wasn’t ever going to get paid what she was worth but she wanted to be paid at least enough to live on.

 “Audrey Smith-Campbell is dead.  She died after having a severe asthma attack because she couldn’t afford to pay for her medication when she was on strike.  She should be honored for the way she lived – and we should all be ashamed for the reasons she died.”

Updated 5:29 pm, October 21, 2011
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