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ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Unions haven't yet figured out the Democrats want to screw them and their members

Here are excerpts from a private letter sent by James P. Hoffa of the Teamsters, Joseph Hansen of the UFCW, and D. Taylor of UNITE (but not, note well, SEIU):

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.

How's that been working out for you? Got card check yet?

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.

He's just not that into you!

[M]illions of Americans are covered by non-profit health insurance plans like the ones in which most of our members participate. These non-profit plans are governed jointly by unions and companies under the Taft-Hartley Act. Our health plans have been built over decades by working men and women. Under the ACA as interpreted by the Administration, our employees will treated differently and not be eligible for subsidies afforded other citizens. As such, many employees will be relegated to second-class status and shut out of the help the law offers to for-profit insurance plans.

That's not a bug. It's a feature.

And finally, even though non-profit plans like ours won’t receive the same subsidies as for-profit plans, they’ll be taxed to pay for those subsidies. Taken together, these restrictions will make non-profit plans like ours unsustainable, and will undermine the health-care market of viable alternatives to the big health insurance companies.

Ditto. And, oh yeah, I forgot the salutation:

Dear Leader Reid and Leader Pelosi:

BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA! It's like Obama doesn't have anything to do with this!

NOTE * Oddly, the unjons aren't getting any walking around money in the ObamaCare rollout. It's almost like the rollout is a dry run to see if the Democrats can do without the unions entirely....

UPDATE The language of the letter is full of neo-liberal corrup rhetoric. No wonder the unions are losing. They can't even think straight! "The American middle class," "employer community," "common-sense corrections." And the general "cap in hand," pleading tone. "We are looking to you to make sure these changes are made."

Average: 5 (1 vote)


Submitted by MontanaMaven on

Sad. It's why there is no effective protests and militancy. Union leadership is the problem. Needs to be bottom up like France where the average union leader is paid the same as everybody else. And leadership is rotated often. More Wobblies less AFL-CIO.

Alfa Zog's picture
Submitted by Alfa Zog on

Allo, Comrade MontanaMaven
I was surprised to learn today that there was a march from Philadelphia to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. for 6-7 days in early to late May. It went under the banner of "The Green Jobs March", and one of the co-organizers and marchers was Carl Gibson. I heard him in an interview with David Swanson on Talk Nation Radio The marchers focused on the US Chamber because, they say, it's a focal point for raising money to pay for ads and political campaigning to support big business interests. They also talked about gatherings in Madison, Wisonsin this summer. Quoting from, "This summer three national gatherings of activists will converge on Madison, Wisconsin, allowing for cross-fertilization and creative planning of future actions for peace and justice in the United States. YOU are invited." Ref. on the Web: David Swanson dot org

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

The lament: " ... many employees will be relegated to second-class status ..."

Uh, yes. Join the bucket club. And maybe read Strether's series on ObamaCare's Relentless Creation of Second Class* Citizens.

* Though I'm pretty sure it's at least Third if not Steerage at this point. And it's not just semantics. I mean, people who fly coach when they book on expedia do at least get a seat and are delivered to their destination ... same as first and business. ObamaCare is a web of leaky buckets and voids between the leaky buckets ...

Jay's picture
Submitted by Jay on

In an environment where rule of law is an afterthought, and the people with the most money flaunt even that with shameless frauds of unprecedented scope, it doesn't make sense for any special interest group--union or otherwise--to avoid looking for weaknesses and exploiting them, likewise skirting the rules. This is a zero-sum game, and union bosses who think they're "partners" with management and politicians are like kindergartners playing chess with college students. Who cheat. Pathetic.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Theater for the benefit of the union rank-and-file.

Please see excerpt from my comment to Spalshoil, from three days ago.

Splashoil, here are two ACA related links that apply to unions
Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on Wed, 07/17/2013 - 12:14pm

"Cadillac Plans."

The first link exposes their wheeling and dealing with the Democrats regarding the Cadillac Plan surtax back in 2010.

The second link shows their attempts at CYA today.

Talk about cynical . . .

Will try to come back to this comment later this weekend. Hope to "clip" a portion of an interview with Trumka which clearly shows that he is little more than a Dem Party apparatchik.

SEIU it not even part of the Kabuki Theater for a good reason--their union "boss" doesn't even make a pretense of standing up to the Administration on some issues.

Here's an interesting video of the SEIU President implying that she is okay with cutting Social Security (implementing the Chained CPI).

Notice the strongly "populist" stance she takes regarding Medicaid.

However, in regards to the Administration's signaled (and very likely) implementation of the Chained CPI, her stance is that "we (SEIU) will welcome being a part of (this decision) . . . ."

Bottom line, it appears that her views line up exactly with the Dem Leadership and the Administration.

Let's bolster Medicaid in order to prop up the PPACA. And, of course, use the MERP program to financially devastate millions of low and middle income Americans.


nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

Unions have declined to support candidates that supported them, seeking instead to suss out who the winner would likely be and throwing their support to that one so that they could later have a "place at the table". Whatever you think in view of what later came out, the last national candidate that identified himself with unions and worked for them was John Edwards. If you can earn support, he earned it. If you back someone based on demonstrated commitment to you, you'd have backed him. Instead the unions threw support to Obama, the farthest right and least union-friendly of the candidates.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

Regarding the issue that the reporter was addressing with Ms. Henry--trading "revenue increases" for "entitlement cuts"--the "Grand Bargain."

In a nutshell, the corporatist media and BOTH parties are VERY misleading when they discuss this topic.

Now, any tax "increases" we'll realize, have already been enacted.

And furthermore, once this "reform or overhaul" is completed, I'd wager that the marginal tax rates for the wealthy will be reduced to 28 or less (so-called Buffet Rule as a starting point for Dems is 30%).

Yeah, we're getting ready to take a "royal reaming."

And regarding that "puny" tax increase that Dems "ran on" in 2012.

Too pushed to provide links, but economist Dean Baker wrote a diary on what I'm getting ready to quote (at FDL), if anyone is interested.

He mused how striking it is that the a national conversation was conducted regarding the pathetic tax increase on "the wealthy"--according to him, on the average couple with annual income of $450,000 (as I recall), their tax increase came to only 2% of their income.

Yet, the Administration and many Dems are on board with Repubs in implementing the "Chained CPI" (in exchange for increased tax revenue), with little or no discussion.

And on average, THAT CUT to Social Security would equal 3% of beneficiaries' monthly benefit.

This "scam" is coming up again this Fall, when we take up the "budget."

And bear in mind, the so-called tax revenue that is going to be raised from now on--is out of YOUR pocket.

Yes, the working and middle class Americans are getting ready to "get hung out to dry."

Forget the silly "jet tax" that Dems try to get unsuspecting members of their base to mindlessly cheer!

{My Words: The real cuts are coming from the "mortgage interest income" expenditure, and from changing tax law so that millions of employees will now have their "employer's portion of their health care premiums" counted as THEIR income--THEREFORE RAISING THEIR INCOME TAXES, SUBSTANTIALLY!!!

Soon I'm switching over to "Tweeting," and if I can figure out "how" to actually Tweet past diaries, I'll try to post some of these here. I provided quite a number of links to other sources (as I recall) when I diaried on this topic.

These "closing of loopholes won't come out of the hide of "the wealthy" or corporations.

Please see below, from "The Financial Times":

Obama pledges corporate tax revamp

President Barack Obama has made a sweeping overhaul of the US corporate tax code a key pillar of his charm offensive towards Republicans to secure a big deficit deal, raising hopes among business groups but potentially putting the president at odds with some members of his own party.

According to participants in closed-door meetings last week between Mr Obama and congressional Republicans, the president said he was committed to a revamp of US corporate taxes that would lower the top rate from its current level of 35 per cent, which is among the highest in the developed world.

Crucially, Mr Obama reassured Republicans that he was looking to make the effort “revenue neutral” – meaning it would be fully paid for by curbing or scrapping tax breaks, but it would not seek to hit corporations with additional revenues for deficit reduction, which the liberal wing of the Democratic party would like to see.

“He said something pretty interesting, he said he is for revenue neutral corporate reform,” said one Republican congressman in the House of Representatives who met Mr Obama with other members of the party. “I’ve never seen that definitive a statement from the president on that issue, so I thought that was positive. The big question is, will it be followed up by meaningful action?”

[Financial Times is paywalled/registration protected, so no link. Sorry!]

How many ways and times can the "liberal base" be sold out?


Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

So badly. Are they figuring it out? That their own "representatives" have turned them into unterbussen and second class citizens by their pathetic (gullible? corrupt?) "partnership" with the elites and their lackeys?

It certainly would not hurt the currently struggling individuals and groups who are trying to overthrow the Kleptocracy to have the rank and file of all the US unions join ranks -- together, because we are all unterbussen and our fates rise and fall on our unity.

On the other hand, rank and file may be just like all of the lucky-to-have-jobs, disemployed and unemployed in the non-unionized sector and too anxious to hang on to whatever peanuts they still get in exchange for their dues, deluded that it's a winning strategy.

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

have been sold out, and our efforts co-opted by many Democratic Party politicians (especially leadership and Presidents), and by all the so-called "left" talking heads and opinion shapers/makers.

The same is true for all the "heads" of most of the special interest groups. Especially unions.

The SEIU President that was featured in the video the other day, replaced neoliberal, conservative SEIU President Andy Stern. It was no accident that he was the union leader selected to serve on the Bowles-Simpson Fiscal Commission.

I believe that he didn't vote in favor of the passage of the Bowles-Simpson proposal at the time. However, he wholeheartedly endorsed it later.

At one time I subscribed to numerous "left" publications. But one by one, their agenda became a version of the Pete Peterson free trade, neoliberal agenda. The only part of their agenda slightly "left"--social issues.

For cryin' out loud, Katrina vanden Heuvel and her hubby Professor Stephen F. Cohen have both been (and as far as I know, still are) members of the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations). I dropped my subscription to The Nation almost eight years ago. Same for Mother Jones (headed by corporatist Dem shill David Corn). And on, and on.

We see what happened to the OWS. Brute force put an end to it. And some of the worst offenders, aside from Mayor Bloomberg, an Independent, were Democratic Party mayors
And did the so-called "progressive community" complain? If they did, I missed it.

And what about the bill lead by Leaders of the Dem Party to "defund" ACORN? Where was the outcry about that? Again, if there was one, I missed it.

You know, during the Bush Administration, I read that expatriation from the US were on was "on the rise," big time.

Have to wonder what those statistics would show today. ;-)