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PHOTO: ADAPT on the march to the 3 unions

PHOTO: ADAPT threads through traffic in Washington DC

PHOTO: Shona Eakin and Bob Kafka lead the way to the AFSCME

PHOTO: ADAPT packs the lobby of AFSCME

PHOTO: Spitfire blocks an elevator

PHOTO: A frustraited AFSCME worker by the union seal

PHOTO: AFSCME closed for business

PHOTO: Kim Capps

PHOTO: Metro Police cars line the street in front of AFSCME

PHOTO: President Gerald McEntee

PHOTO: ADAPT reunites at Lafayette Park

PHOTO: Bob Kafka and Barbara Toomer lead the long march to HUD

PHOTO: ADAPT marches past the Capitol

PHOTO: HUD raises parking barricades tht say STOP as ADAPT passes

PHOTO: Spirithawlk with a Mel Martinez mask

PHOTO: Tom Cagel in a Mel Martinez mask

PHOTO: Two Mel Martinez look-alikes

PHOTO: The crowd with Mel Martinez masks 1

PHOTO: The crowd with Mel Martinez masks 2

ADAPT Wins Union Support for MiCASSA

Three influential unions will meet with ADAPT

By Tim Wheat

PHOTO: The lobby of AFSCME behind a bust of ML King

The lobby of AFSCME behind a bust of ML King

(WASHINGTON DC) ADAPT split into three groups to win support for MiCASSA from three influential unions. Backing from the working membership of unions is considered to be a significant step to get legislation passed by the Congress and signed into law.

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Office in northwest Washington DC was rushed by approximately 35 ADAPT advocates who packed the small lobby and quickly caused the building management to shut down the elevators. Although President of the Union Andrew L. Stern was out of the country, Eric Von Smetterling and the ADAPT team negotiated a meeting with him to discuss MiCASSA and other issues of concern to ADAPT.

At the same time, not far across town, the offices of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) were assailed in the same manner. 

“We went right in the building and filled the lobby,” said Linda Anthony of Pennsylvania. “The security guards were chasing us around telling us that ‘you cannot go in there.’ The union people, who are professional organizers, told us that they had never seen such excellent organizing.”

The President of the AFL-CIO, like the President of the SEIU, was out of the country; however, ADAPT was able to schedule a meeting with President John J. Sweeney in the next two months. In their letter committing President Sweeney and the union to a meeting with ADAPT, William Samuel the Director of the Department of Legislation, stated that the “AFL-CIO supports the effort to move care for people with disabilities into the communities …”

At the office of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) over one hundred advocates rushed past the front desk and blocked the elevators and filled the lobby. ADAPT demanded that the union support MiCASSA and that President of AFCME, Gerald W. McEntee, who was in the building, meet with ADAPT.

The security at the building was overwhelmed and the Metro Police crowded the lobby, mixed in with building security and ADAPT advocates. ADAPT members chanted and sang songs as trapped AFSCME workers watched from windows above the lobby.

After 40 minutes McEntee agreed to meet. The AFSCME officials started the meeting with a jovial attitude. Shona Eakin of Erie ADAPT, however, changed the tone of the meeting and set it to a serious path.

“This is no laughing matter,” said Shona, “we are talking about people’s lives here.”

The AFSCME officials had drafted a letter committing the union to meet with ADAPT, but President McEntee realized that this first draft would not be accepted by skilled negotiators, like ADAPT, and immediately sent it back for revision. Gerald McEntee read the final draft of the letter to the entire ADAPT contingent through a megaphone. He told the crowed lobby that they had not had this much excitement in their office and were happy for the visit.

“They do not want us coming back,” said Mike Oxford an organizer for ADAPT. “It would be a public relations nightmare to have one of the largest and oldest unions in the country arresting protestors.”

At 2:30 the three ADAPT units reunited in Lafayette Park for lunch. The advocates regrouped and lined up for a long march toward the U.S. Capitol and across the Mall to the offices of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

ADAPT has a long history with HUD, and wanted to stop and remind Secretary Mel Martinez that a nursing home bed was not a home. More than 400 advocates crowded around the front door at closing time most with false faces of Secretary Martinez.

Housing is a critical need for persons with disabilities who are often stranded in inappropriate living situations and backrooms. There needs to be homes for nursing home inmates to move into for MiCASSA, as well as homes for persons who are improperly housed now.


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ADAPT in Seattle, July 2004 and the skyline of the city.

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