Labor vs. Obama: AFL-CIO approves resolution denouncing #Obamacare

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Fox News has the latest developments on the war between Big Labor and our celebrity President on the contentious issue of Obamacare:

The AFL-CIO approved a resolution saying that President Obama’s health care reform law will drive up the costs of union-sponsored health plans to the point that workers and employers are forced to abandon them.

In a strongly-worded resolution released Wednesday, the federation said that labor unions still support the Affordable Care Act’s overall goals of reducing health costs and bringing coverage to all Americans, but added that the law is being implemented in a way that is “highly disruptive” to union health care plans.

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.”

Er, no. Translation: WH officials are in “regular contact” with big money donors like Big Labor in order to try and sooth their fears and keep them on their side in advance of the 2014 elections.  Of course, unionistas will still mostly stick with Democrats next year as they know ultimately who butters their bread, but it could be that the sustained fighting among themselves – and the White House – on this issue could peel off just enough votes to make political life a little more difficult for Democrats in states where the union vote means everything.

Stay tuned ….

ObamaCare

Obamacare: Bad for your wallet, your health … and just maybe your political career if you’re a Big Labor Democrat.

Unions to big labor: Stop adding non-labor ‘progressive’ groups to the mix

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The Hill reports:

LOS ANGELES — Resistance is growing among some unions against the AFL-CIO’s push to strengthen its bonds with liberal groups outside of labor.

Union leaders told The Hill that they have questions on how the nation’s largest federation plans to include environmental and civil society organizations under the AFL-CIO banner. Labor has sometimes clashed with groups — even if the two factions both often align with Democrats — as unions have looked to defend their members’ interests.

Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), said he sees “great value” in labor finding different groups to align with politically. But the federation needs to stick to representing workers rather than become a social movement itself, according to the union chief.

“However, to say that we are going to grow this labor movement by some kind of formal partnership, membership, status, place in this federation, I am against. This is the American Federation of Labor. We are supposed to be representing workers and workers’ interests,” Schaitberger said. “We are not going to be the American Federation of Progressive and Liberal Organizations.”

Others in labor, especially in the building and construction sectors, have aggressively pushed back against the proposal. Those unions have clashed repeatedly with environmental groups over building the Keystone XL pipeline.

“Does that mean we are going to turn energy policy of the AFL-CIO over to the Sierra Club? I have concern about that, as well as I should,” said Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA).

Heh. This comes on tops months of reports of strong disagreement among various union groups with big labor on the issue of ObamaCare — the full implementation of which some unions now publicly oppose.

Soooo, the union infighting continues. Pass the popcorn! ;)

Anti-union

Unions at war with each other? More, please!

Labor unions at war w/ Obama – & each other – on #Obamacare

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The Hill reports on the increasing frustration some labor unions feel towards the President over his signature law Obamacare:

Unions are frustrated the Obama administration hasn’t responded to their calls for changes to ObamaCare.

Labor has watched with growing annoyance as the White House has backed ObamaCare changes in response to concerns from business groups, religious organizations and even lawmakers and their staffs.

They say they don’t understand why their concerns so far have fallen of deaf ears.

“We are disappointed that the non-profit health plans offered by unions have not been given the same consideration as the Catholic Church, big business and Capitol Hill staffers,” Unite Here President D. Taylor told The Hill.

It’s an issue that Obama may have to face when he speaks to the AFL-CIO convention a week after Labor Day.

Most unions backed ObamaCare’s passage, but labor argues provisions in the law could cut employee hours, unfairly tax their plans and force workers off their union health plans into the law’s potentially more costly insurance exchanges.

The key issue are union members who are among the roughly 20 million people who use non-profit multi-employer “Taft-Hartley” health plans.

Unions want the administration to change ObamaCare so that those plans are treated as qualified health plans that can earn tax subsidies. Under the administration’s interpretation of the law, the multi-employer plans are not eligible for the subsidies.

Without those subsidies, employers may have the incentive to drop the plans and force workers onto the insurance exchanges.

You mean union workers might have to face some of the same issues we rank and file folks have already been facing as a result of the forced passage of this deeply unpopular law? GASP! Oh, and to union leaders who don’t understand why President Obama has been ignoring your complaints about Obamacare, guess what? He doesn’t care. He doesn’t need your votes anymore.  Understand now? Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

This issue has become such a big deal with labor unions that at least one of them is breaking ties with the AFL-CIO:

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union has cut ties with the AFL-CIO, citing in part the private-sector union’s support for ObamaCare and immigration reform.

In an August 29 letter to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, leaders of the 40,000-member union said they have become “increasingly frustrated” with the federation’s policy positions on such matters as immigration and health care reform.

“We feel the federation has done a great disservice to the labor movement and all working people,” wrote Robert McEllrath, president of the San Francisco-based ILWU.

McEllrath said his union supports the single-payer, nationalized healthcare policy while the AFL-CIO backs Obama’s tax on its so-called “Cadillac” healthcare plan, according to Breitbart.com, which first reported the story.

“President Obama ran on a platform that he would not tax medical plans and at the 2009 AFL-CIO Convention, you stated that labor would not stand for a tax on our benefits,” the letter states.

Democrats and labor unions (but I repeat myself) are engaged in heavy, sustained infighting over Obamacare? Pass the popcorn! ;)

ObamaCare

ObamaCare: Bad for your wallet … and your health.

Man-of-the-people President to celebrate Labor his way

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**Posted by Phineas

Because nothing says “fighting for the middle class” more than headlining a fundraiser where a single plate costs more than many people make in a year:

President Obama will travel to Los Angeles on Sept. 9 to recognize organized labor.

Obama will appear at the AFL-CIO convention, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Thursday.

That night the president will also appear at a $32,400 per plate Hollywood fundraiser held at the home of Marta Kauffman, the co-creator of the sitcom “Friends,” according to an invitation obtained by the Sunlight Foundation.

The White House is billing the appearance at the labor convention as the latest in the president’s summer-long middle class economic tour, according to the Los Angeles Times.

I bet the servers at this shindig will feel real honored by all the attention, as they’re passing out plates of surf-and-turf to Hollywood stars, Democratic pols, and union bosses.

The Democratic Party has come a long way since Jackson’s day.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

There’s being a jerk, and then there’s being a swine. This is swinish.

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**Posted by Phineas

Picketing a child’s funeral? Does no one in the Teamsters have any sense of decency?

Don’t bother; I already know the answer:

SCI Illinois Services, Inc., one of the nation’s largest funeral home chains, asked a district court to intervene after striking funeral directors and drivers with Teamsters Local 727 allegedly harassed grieving families.

“We are grateful that the court agreed to issue this temporary restraining order, and we are hopeful that it will help protect grieving families who are experiencing the most difficult times of their lives,” Larry Michael, managing director for SCI Illinois Services, Inc., said in a release. “While we recognize and respect the Teamsters’ right to lawfully picket, we have been shocked and saddened by their attempts to make grieving families the target of the cruel and outrageous attacks.”

The company testified in its filing that union members blocked grieving family members from leaving its parking lot, used bullhorns to shout obscenities at workers and mourners, and unleashed a German Shepard on a dead woman’s daughter and husband.

The funeral home was eventually forced to call the police when picketers allegedly disrupted a child’s funeral with laughter. The officer asked the Teamsters to leave, but protesters returned when he drove away.

“We will be here for the visitation; we will be here for your funeral,” Teamster driver Lester Plewa allegedly shouted into a bullhorn as a funeral director met with a dying man planning his arrangements with family members.

They pull crap like this, and then they wonder why they have a reputation for being thugs and leg-breakers.

Disgusting.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

My heart bleeds for Big Labor. Really, it does.

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**Posted by Phineas

It’s just that you can’t see that through all my laughing and pointing:

Like millions of other Americans, our members are front-line workers in the American economy. We have been strong supporters of the notion that all Americans should have access to quality, affordable health care. We have also been strong supporters of you. In campaign after campaign we have put boots on the ground, gone door-to-door to get out the vote, run phone banks and raised money to secure this vision.

Now this vision has come back to haunt us.

Since the ACA was enacted, we have been bringing our deep concerns to the Administration, seeking reasonable regulatory interpretations to the statute that would help prevent the destruction of non-profit health plans. As you both know first-hand, our persuasive arguments have been disregarded and met with a stone wall by the White House and the pertinent agencies. This is especially stinging because other stakeholders have repeatedly received successful interpretations for their respective grievances. Most disconcerting of course is last week’s huge accommodation for the employer community—extending the statutorily mandated “December 31, 2013” deadline for the employer mandate and penalties.

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.

That’s an excerpt from an open letter written by the heads of the Teamsters, UFCW, and UNITE-HERE unions, whining that Obamacare will hurt their members and that it’s unfair that businesses got a delay in implementation, but the loyal unionistas didn’t. Do read the whole thing and see if you can get through it without saying “We tried to warn you, you corrupt dummies!” several times.

I found it impossible.

I was going to go into a long diatribe about the unions reaping what they sowed, but Ed Morrissey (hat tip) kindly did it for me:

Maybe if they’d listened to Tea Party activists instead of shouting them down, the union leaders might have figured this out in 2009.  Opponents of the bill argued all along that the incentives presented by ObamaCare would kill employer-based coverage, either by depressing hiring or by depressing hours.  We’ve gotten both since the bill’s passage, just as critics predicted.

(…)

[RE: Obamacare’s treatment of union group medical plans] Excuse me, but this was even more obvious than the employment consequences.  Subsidies are only available to consumers in the individual insurance exchanges.  Union health plans are group plans (and partly employer coverage, as the letter points out).  They’re no more eligible for subsidies than consumers in employer plans, and they’ll get taxed just like all other “Cadillac” group plans.  This is only news to those who manned the barricades rather than reading the fine print, or really any print at all.

Ed’s right, the union bosses should resign in disgrace for selling out their membership. But, they won’t. Mob bosses never go quietly. Meanwhile, I’m going to relax and enjoy the sweet scent of schadenfreude.

PS: If you’ve forgotten why I feel a special disdain and contempt for Jimmy Hoffa, jr., the Teamsters boss, let me remind you.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

#PANIC: Unions now pushing back on #ObamaCare, w/ some calling for repeal

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It would seem like Obama’s union buds have woken up to realize that not even THEY will be able to “keep their physician” under ObamaCare.  Via The Hill (bolded emphasis added by me):

Labor unions are breaking with President Obama on ObamaCare.

Months after the president’s reelection, a variety of unions are publicly balking at how the administration plans to implement the landmark law. They warn that unless there are changes, the results could be catastrophic.

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) — a 1.3 million-member labor group that twice endorsed Obama for president — is very worried about how the reform law will affect its members’ healthcare plans.

Last month, the president of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers released a statement calling “for repeal or complete reform of the Affordable Care Act.”

UNITE HERE, a prominent hotel workers’ union, and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters are also pushing for changes.

In a new op-ed published in The Hill, UFCW President Joe Hansen homed in on the president’s speech at the 2009 AFL-CIO convention. Obama at the time said union members could keep their insurance under the law, but Hansen writes “that the president’s statement to labor in 2009 is simply not true for millions of workers.”

Republicans have long attacked Obama’s promise that “nothing in this plan will require you to change your coverage or your doctor.” But the fact that unions are now noting it as well is a clear sign that supporters of the law are growing anxious about the law’s implementation.

[…]

Hansen, who is also the head of the Change to Win labor federation, told The Hill that his members often negotiate with their employers to receive better healthcare services instead of higher wages. Those bargaining gains could be wiped away because some employers won’t have the incentive to keep their workers’ multi-employer plans without tax subsidies.

“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.

 

Wish I could say I felt sorry for these union leaders grumbling about themselves and members possibly not being able to keep their health coverage plans/physicians under ObamaCare, but I won’t.  They were warned. Over and over. In advance.  But because they gave so much $$$ to the President and Congressional Democrats, and because they’ve been catered to for decades by equally greedy left wing politicians, they thought their seemingly beholden politicos would keep their promises to them that their health coverage plans would be exempted from this law while most of the rest of us – mainly those not in the President’s back pocket – would just have to “grin and bear it.”

Suckers. Too bad they won’t learn from their mistakes, as most probably will turn around and pull the lever for Democrats again when it comes time for the next round of elections.   And then again after that. You know what they say: You can lead a horse to water, but …

Union button

(Altered) photo via mises.org.

New maker of Twinkies: Non-union workers will be used to restart plants

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Let the OUTRAGE!!!!!!! begin:

The company that bought the Twinkie, HoHo and Ding Dong brands out of bankruptcy is gearing up to reopen plants and hire workers, but it won’t be using union labor.

Hostess Brands LLC—Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management LLC’s APO -2.11% new incarnation of the baking company that liquidated in Chapter 11—is reopening four bakeries in the next eight to 10 weeks, aiming to get Twinkie-deprived consumers the classic snack cake by mid-July.

Chief Executive C. Dean Metropoulos said the company will pump $60 million in capital investments into the plants between now and September and aims to hire at least 1,500 workers. But they won’t be represented by unions, including the one whose nationwide strike sparked the 86-year-old company’s decision to shut down in November.

“We do not expect to be involved in the union going forward,” Mr. Metropoulos said in an interview Wednesday.

Hostess Brands Inc., the company that filed for bankruptcy protection in January 2012 and eventually sold off its brands and plants to several buyers, was once powered by 19,000 workers, 15,000 of whom were represented by unions. The company’s largest union, the Teamsters, had agreed to a new labor contract following a contentious bankruptcy trial. But the second-largest union, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union, launched a work stoppage after the company imposed new labor terms on the union’s members. Hostess said the strike crippled its operations, forcing it to shut down.

A Teamsters spokeswoman declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the bakers union couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday.

[…]

[…] Mr. Metropoulos and his son, Daren, the co-CEO of Pabst Brewing Co. who is also heading up the reborn Hostess’s marketing strategy, expressed confidence they would be able to find skilled, nonunion workers near the four plants, which are in areas with high unemployment.

“We’re trying to find the most qualified people in these local markets to come work for the company,” Daren Metropoulos said.

The new Hostess is firing up plants in Columbus, Ga.; Emporia, Kan.; Schiller Park, Ill.; and Indianapolis, Ind. It’s also considering whether to reopen a fifth plant it purchased, in Los Angeles. Previously, the Hostess products that Metropoulos and Apollo bought were made at 11 plants, but the elder Mr. Metropoulos said those plants were running at less than 50% capacity under the old model. The new Hostess plants will run at 85% to 90% capacity, making the business “as efficient as possible,” he said. The new company expects total capacity to be back to where it was before Hostess’s shutdown by September.

This is great news for #TeamTwinkie fans. I wish the company and its future 1,500 new non-union employees all the luck and success in the world. Can’t wait to see those Twinkie cakes back on the shelves in mid-July!

Twinkies

They’re baaaaaaaack …. ; )

Union that backed Obama calls for repeal of Obamacare

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**Posted by Phineas

Because they’re finally realizing that it’s a crappy idea horribly implemented and that, no, fairies riding unicorns won’t bring you free healthcare after all:

Organized labor was instrumental in getting the Affordable Care Act passed in 2010, but more recently has voiced concerns that the law could lead members to lose their existing health plans. The United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers is believed to be the first union to initially support the law and later call for its repeal.

“After the law was passed, I had great hope … that maybe the rough spots would be worked out and we’d have a great law,” said Kinsey Robinson, international president of the union, which represents 22,000 commercial and industrial roofers.

Like many unions, the roofers insure members through a so-called multiemployer health insurance plan that’s jointly managed by employers and the union. Mr. Robinson says the union’s concerns about the law began to pile up in recent months after speaking with employers.

The roofers’ union’s current insurance plan caps lifetime medical bill payouts at $2 million for active members and $50,000 for retirees. Next year, the plan has to remove those caps in order to comply with the health law. Other aspects of the retiree plan must become more generous in order to meet the law’s minimum essential coverage requirements next year. All that will increase the cost of insuring members, Mr. Robinson said, and has prompted the union to weigh eliminating the retiree plan.

It also finally dawned on these geniuses that they’re going to take another big hit when the tax on “Cadillac plans” kicks in in 2018. (You might recall that this delay was something the unions asked for, figuring it would be fixed by then. Suckers.)

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry — maybe a bit of both. Unions such as Robinson’s helped elect the worst president of the modern era, then moved heaven and earth to help pass Obamacare, a measure the majority of the nation never wanted and which the Democrats had to pass by anti-constitutional means. And now that it’s turning out to be the fiasco we all predicted it would be, he wants to say “never mind.”

You know what? I’ll be happy to work with the Carpenters or any union that wants to repeal this constitutional and economic monstrosity and replace it with a sensible plan, one based on real-world economics and that respects the liberty of the individual. Hands across the aisle, and all that.

But, I reserve one right: I get to look them in the eye, laugh out loud, and, to borrow a phrase from my good friend ST,  say “Toldjah so!!”

PS: Be sure to read the linked article. The last paragraph really will leave you laughing.

via Brian Faughnan

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

The “Walker Effect”: Wisconsin PEU membership cratering?

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**Posted by Phineas

Or maybe it’s the predictable result of restoring liberty to the people and not using the force of law to extort money from them for the benefit of union bosses (1). Regardless, the reforms Governor Walker instituted and then defended against thug tactics in Wisconsin have sent the membership numbers of at least one public employee union, AFSCME, into a tailspin:

According a Labor Department filing made last week, membership at Wisconsin’s American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 40 — one of AFSCME’s four branches in the state — has gone from the 31,730 it reported in 2011, to 29,777 in 2012, to just 20,488 now. That’s a drop of more than 11,000 — about a third — in just two years. The council represents city and county employees outside of Milwaukee County and child care workers across Wisconsin.

Labor Department filings also show that Wisconsin’s AFSCME Council 48, which represents city and county workers in Milwaukee County, went from 9,043 members in 2011, to 6,046 in 2012, to just 3,498 now.

(…)

They show why the state worker unions and their liberal allies fought such a protracted, bitter battle in 2011 over Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s changes to the state’s labor laws. Under the old laws, state employees were obligated to pay dues to a union even if that worker didn’t want to belong to a union. Walker changed that to allow state workers to opt out of paying those dues. He also required unions to submit to an annual re-certification vote. Without those requirements, the unions have found it much harder to retain members.

And I’d say this is a good thing for Wisconsin, as early results from the reforms have shown. As public employee unions have grown (Disclosure: I pay dues to one — against my will), they’ve come to treat the taxpayers as cash-cows, milking them for ever-higher salaries and benefits (often far better than for comparable positions in the private sector), whether justified or even healthy for the state. They’ve fought even the mildest reforms tooth-and-claw, as witnessed during the protests and occupation of the Wisconsin state capitol in 2011. In effect, they were acting as overlords demanding tribute from a subject people and becoming enraged when the people said “no more.”

If these membership numbers are any indication, a large and probably growing swath of Wisconsin public employees don’t like how their unions operate, either, and are making their feelings known loud and clear. And this has to have the union bosses frightened as the reform movement spreads from state to state.

via Power Line.

Footnote:
(1) The dues they take in are often spent on political activities and influence buying to pursue policy goals that many of their members would object to, or even consider irrelevant to their interests. This is often done through large contributions in money and campaign work to (largely Democratic) legislators, who then reward their employers — the unions, not necessarily the voters. It is, in effect, a corrupt kickback arrangement.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)