It seems big labor is getting nervous about anticipated disastrous effects on the healthcare benefits of union membership by Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. So nervous are they in fact that James P. Hoffa and organized labor comrades Joseph Hansen and Don Taylor addressed their concerns in personal letter form to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, a clear break from the more conventional late night exchange of cash and instructions so common between labor kingpins and Democrat politicians.
“We can no longer stand silent in the face of elements of the Affordable Care Act that will destroy the very health and wellbeing of our members,” wrote the 3 union bosses to leaders of the political party to which organized labor donated some $800 million in 2008 and $700 million two years later. “Congress wrote this law; we voted for you. We have a problem; you need to fix it.” Though Hoffa didn’t specifically include “When we buy politicians, we expect ‘em to STAY bought,” the implication was clear enough.
Four years ago, there were no more vocal or committed supporters of Obama’s signature healthcare plan than organized labor. But now, Hoffa and the others are whining that “…the ACA will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.” Yet none of the damaging contents of the Affordable Care Act have changed during the past 4 years. So why is labor suddenly in a panic?
The ObamaCare employer mandate requiring that employers of over 50 full time (40 hour/week) workers provide healthcare or pay a stiff penalty is being met with a sudden influx of part time employees. In fact, part time hires are outpacing full time in 2013 by over 4-1, a complete reversal of employment figures for 2012. This destruction of the 40 hour week complained of by Hoffa means fewer dollars for employees and a black eye for unions paid to protect their interests.
But of greatest concern to labor bosses are the multi-employer or Taft Hartley health plans currently carried by some 22 million union members. Unions pride themselves on their ability to provide these Cadillac health plans to members at reasonable prices. (Employers of course pay the bulk of the tab.)
However, as ObamaCare requirements are certain to drive premium prices sky high, employers will counter by dropping the plans when unions contracts expire, placing members in the individual, ObamaCare exchange market. Once placed in the ObamaCare market without insurance, employees will qualify for subsidies.
BUT, why join a union or maintain membership if one of the principle reasons–the long-term availability of first rate healthcare at very reasonable prices–no longer exists?! One of the biggest draws for joining a union is being taken away from big labor, and they do NOT like it!
So Hoffa and other labor bosses now want to have their cake and eat it too–they are demanding that members be permitted to keep their Cadillac plans AND that the premiums be subsidized with tax dollars, a nice, multi-billion dollar concession to union members that ObamaCare does not make available to anyone! Again, none of the provisions of the employer mandate have changed since labor fought tooth and nail for the passage of ObamaCare. But then, what union boss would have dreamed that he and his membership would be treated like commoners when ObamaCare actually came due for implementation? After all, Democrats are still in charge, Democrats so handsomely bought and paid for election after election.
The quandary in which union bosses find themselves today was summed up 35 years ago in the movie “Animal House” when Otter told Flounder: “Hey, you “f*****” up. You trusted us!” What a joy to watch Hoffa and the rest suddenly realize they’ve been suckered by folks who have been residing for so long in their own back pocket.