According to their official web site, delegates to the AFL-CIO Convention last week [September 11] passed a resolution expressing support for the goals of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but also addressing a number of issues about the ACA’s implementation, including the way the ACA treats multi-employer health care plans. The resolution reiterates that the labor movement’s ultimate health care goal is health care for everyone under a single-payer [communist] model.
The resolution calls for preservation of high-quality coverage under multi-employer plans. It also calls for greater employer responsibility, especially in regards to part-time workers. Sean McGarvey, president of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD), said the resolution, “Points out the key facts that must be addressed by the administration and if needed, by Congress.”
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called the issues raised by the resolution ones of “fundamental fairness,” including if low- and moderate-income union members and their collectively bargained health care plans will be able to benefit from the same premium support that big insurance companies will receive and if they will have to pay fees to subsidize big insurance companies. There also are concerns that smaller employers will be able to get away with taking health care away from workers while paying no penalty.
Fox News reports that some individual unions have complained about the law’s impact for months, but the resolution marks the first time the nation’s largest labor federation has gone on record embracing that view. Unions were among the most enthusiastic backers of the law when it passed in 2010.
A labor official told The Associated Press that White House officials had been calling labor leaders for days to urge them not to voice their concerns in the form of a resolution. The official, who wasn’t authorized to discuss the conversations publicly and requested anonymity, said many union leaders insisted that they wanted to highlight their concerns.
Asked about any efforts to discourage unions from passing the resolution, the White House said in a statement Wednesday night that officials “are in regular contact with a variety of stakeholders, including unions, as part of our efforts to ensure smooth implementation and to improve the law.”
The AFL-CIO, one of the president’s major boosters, approved the resolution just as the administration began rolling out a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign to encourage Americans to sign up for health care exchanges starting Oct. 1.
Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Firefighters, said the intent of the resolution is to “point out the criticisms without being overly caustic.”
“There have to be some changes made in the area that are giving a number of our unions great concern,” said Schaitberger, who chaired the committee that hammered out the resolution’s language.