As we wind our way to the Affordable Care Act being increasingly more effective some of the early supporters of President Obama and “ObamaCare”, as the ACA has been called, have become very vocal opponents. Many unions are unhappy and even a few have called for its repeal.
Writer Michael P. Tremoglie, in his article Is Obamacare Stealing Your Benefits?, tells that some very big unions, the Teamsters, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) and UNITE-HERE, a union representing textile workers, hotel and restaurant employees, were all initially in favor of the ACA. This was despite warnings that the act had some major flaws. Tremoglie now reports that these same unions are quite unhappy and the three union presidents have sent a letter to Harry Reid and Nancy Peolosi imploring them to “enact an equitable fix.” They feel that they are not getting the same consideration as businesses, for which the employer mandate was delayed until Jan. 1, 2015.
There are several things the unions are unhappy with. These include:
- Businesses are cutting hours of many workers so they are no longer considered fulltime and thus not eligible for insurance coverage and are losing pay.
- Some unions provide their own benefit packages that are pretty “plush.” These will be taxed as “Cadillac” plans further into the ACA. They noted in their letter that the President had promised that “if you liked your insurance you could keep your insurance.” They have complained that this will not be allowed to occur.
- The Obama administration is interpreting the ACA so that union members will be treated differently “and not be eligible for subsidies afforded other citizens.” They feel that many members will be shut out of having coverage.
- Multi-employer health plans issues are not being addressed as promised.
Their letter said “Time is running out: Congress wrote this law; we voted for you. We have a problem; you need to fix it. The unintended consequences of the ACA are severe.”
The United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers International has even gone so far as to call for the repeal of the ACA. They said they are tired of waiting for promised fixes. Tremoglie reports that the union president, Kinsey Robinson, has said “for decades, our multi-employer health and welfare plans have provided the necessary medical coverage for our members and their families to protect them in times of illness and medical needs.” He feels the successful collaboration between labor and management is now in danger of falling apart due to the ACA. He said he will not sit and “idly watch as the ACA destroys those protections.”
Eroding base of support
The president may not be all that concerned that the unions are unhappy. After all he has already gotten the support he needed from them to get his signature piece of legislation passed. But other Democrat politician might be concerned about their chances of support in their re-election efforts if something is not done.
So how do you like that as an example of Labor-Management agreement? Neither group likes the Affordable Care Act!
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