Unions Still Trying to Come to Terms with Obamacare

National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. (Getty Images)

As we inch closer to the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), union leaders around the country are frantically looking for a way to avoid having to comply with the massive new law.

Teamsters chief James Hoffa, UFCW chief Joseph Hansen, and UNITE-HERE chief Donald Taylor last week penned a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Democratic Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) begging Congress to change the law before it shatters “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.”

The letter continues:

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. Perverse incentives are already creating nightmare scenarios:

First, the law creates an incentive for employers to keep employees’ work hours below 30 hours a week. Numerous employers have begun to cut workers’ hours to avoid this obligation, and many of them are doing so openly. The impact is two-fold: fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits.

Second, millions of Americans are covered by non-profit health insurance plans like the ones in which most of our members participate. These non-profit plans are governed jointly by unions and companies under the Taft-Hartley Act. Our health plans have been built over decades by working men and women. Under the ACA as interpreted by the Administration, our employees will treated differently and not be eligible for subsidies afforded other citizens. As such, many employees will be relegated to second-class status and shut out of the help the law offers to for-profit insurance plans.

The letter and its frantic tone are a little confusing considering it wasn’t too long ago that unions actively supported President Barack Obama’s landmark health care overhaul.

Perhaps union bosses should have paid more attention to the bill when it was being passed. Perhaps they, like many Americans, should have demanded that it be read before being signed into law.

Meanwhile, Sen. Reid continues to praise the bill, saying at one point last week that it has been “wonderful for America.”

You can read the full letter here.

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(H/T: Sean Hackbarth). Featured image Getty Images.

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