AFL-CIO Unity Rally

08/28/09 Pamela Sullins
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An estimated one hundred people came together on the sidewalks in front of the Blue Cross & Blue Shield offices in South Tampa Thursday evening. Many displayed signs that read “insurance profits are bad for my health” and “healthcare can’t wait”. The event, deemed as a Unity Rally, was sponsored by the West Central Florida Federation of Labor.

Aaron Carmella of the AFL-CIO was one of the rally’s organizers. He said, “Much of the media has been about protests and town hall meetings….not an opportunity for groups to stand behind the issue…..We wanted to give our members an opportunity to do that”

George Guthrie shared that his attendance at the rally was not just about his support of health reform: “I can lobby my elected officials, I cannot lobby a big insurance company.”

While there had been information circulating on the internet that Representative Kathy Castor would be attending the rally, organizers stated that while she had been invited, there were had not been formal plans for her to attend.

Jim Donnor, a member of the Tampa 9-12 group, attended the rally hoping to talk with Castor. “Kathy Castor was supposed to be here,…she cancelled….healthcare is not a right….not in my country”

82 year old Charlie Delp hoped to stimulate some thought and discussion by participating in the rally. “Good health should be a right”

While there were differing opinions, there was some common ground to be found.

Another rally is planned tomorrow at 2pm in Orlando. Buses will be departing at 9am from Tampa and Pinellas Park for residents who would like to attend. More information can be obtained by calling the program organizer, Jessica Pemble at 813-943-3477.

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