Unions express concern about Obamacare implementation

A resolution passed at the closing of the AFL-CIO conference

By Natasha Lennard
September 12, 2013 10:18PM (UTC)
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On the final day of its annual convention, the AFL-CIO -- the nation's largest confederation of unions -- passed a resolution in support of the Affordable Care Act but expressing significant concerns about its implementation. Such resolutions are non-binding promises, but reflect a consensus reached by traditional labor. As our friend Josh Eidelson reported from the convention for the Nation:

An hour before gaveling the convention to a close, AFL-CIO delegates passed a resolution expressing support for aims and accomplishments of the Affordable Care Act and deep concerns over its implementation. The resolution urges that the Act “should be administered in a manner that preserves the high-quality health coverage multiemployer plans have provided to union families for decades and, if this is not possible, we demand the ACA be amended by Congress.” It calls for more penalties for employers who cut hours to shirk coverage, curtailing some new taxes and fees applied to union health plans, and extension of tax credits to them. The debate on the resolution stood out for the number of union presidents who personally took the floor to press their case and, more so, for the pointed comments they directed at the White House.

Noting Obama’s pledge to fix what was broken in healthcare and build on what was working, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers President Ed Hill told the hall, “The ACA as it currently stands is not meeting his promise.” “If an employer wanted to transfer money from a non-profit, successful healthcare plan to a for-profit insurance company” said Hill, “we’d be on the streets.” Paraphrasing Vice President Biden’s famous whispered comment on the ACA’s passage, Laborers International Union of North America President Terence O’Sullivan warned “it’s gonna be a big fricking deal if our members lose our health insurance.”

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email nlennard@salon.com.

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Affordable Care Act Afl-cio Healthcare Labor Labor Rights Obamacare Unions Workers