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Now the Unions are Complaining About Obamacare

Gerald Lutkus

Gerald F. Lutkus

Of Counsel (Retired)

Can you imagine an issue that Speaker of the House John Boehner and the President of the UFCW agree on? Well, we may have found it and you’d be surprised what it is - Obamacare!

There’s an interesting article today in The Hill reporting on how several unions – the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, UNITE HERE, the Teamsters and the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers – are all now complaining about how the Affordable Care Act is being rolled out.

UFCW President Joe Hansen is being quoted by The Hill as criticizing the Administration because multi-employer union health and welfare funds won’t receive tax subsidies. Hansen’s point is that this contradicts what the Administration had previously said and that many UFCW locals (like other unions) agreed in contract negotiations to less lucrative wage packages or even wage freezes so that the union plans could provide better healthcare with lower (or no) employee premiums or deductibles. “You can’t have the same quality healthcare that you had before, despite what the president said,” Hansen said. “Now what’s going to happen is everybody is going to have to go to private for-profit insurance companies. We just don’t think that’s right...We just want to keep what we already have and what we bought at tremendous cost.”

Those bargaining gains, Hansen said, could be gone because employers may not have the incentive to keep their workers’ multi-employer plans without tax subsidies.

Stay tuned. This is getting interesting.


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