‘We need to be a labor movement that stands by our friends, punishes its enemies and challenges those who, well, can’t seem to decide which side they’re on,’ said Richard Trumka, currently the AFL-CIO’s secretary-treasurer when he spoke at the liberal think tank the Center for American Progress. It seems odd that Mr. Trumka and the unions would support policies that, as a practical matter, discriminate against low income union workers in medium and larger size companies.
Unions are supportive of the House health care reform bill , even though as a practical matter the bills discriminate against union workers. If you want to focus on health insurance, union workers have done very well. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, in 2003, overall, 95.4 percent of union workers had employment-based health benefits, compared with 77.8 percent of nonunion workers. Only 2.5 percent of union workers were uninsured in September 2003, compared with 15 percent of nonunion workers. So good for them. Union workers, by and large, are not passing off costs to other Americans by being uninsured. I elaborate on these points in the related blogs below
Most All Working Union Brothers and Sisters are not Eligible for Subsidies under the House and Senate Bills
The House and Senate Bills Create Pressure for Outsourcing and Reduction in Lower Wage Positions in Larger Employers
Just to be clear, those employees, even if low income, will not be eligible under the House and Senate bills for the individual affordability credit. Union leaders are fighting to have government subsidize non-union workers, but provide nothing for union workers. Is it just a brilliant piece of selflessness?
Unions support legislation that will promoting outsourcing to non-union workers. Is it just a brilliant piece of selflessness?
Now comes the Baucus bill with its excise tax on employer-sponsored high value plans. Many of these plans are union plans. There are also new taxes on health sector entities that will be passed on to union workers in private plans. More bad provisions for union workers. At some point the substantive negative impact on union workers would need to outweigh the political affiliation of their leadership. But that will only happen when the substance is understood by union workers. And Richard Trumka and the union leadership do not appear intent on educating them.