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Obama's Effort To Prevent AFL-CIO Resolution To Repeal Obamacare

September 16, 2013

By Avik Roy

On Saturday, I wrote about the White House’s decision to reject labor unions’ demands to alter Obamacare such that certain union members with health benefits could qualify for subsidies intended for the uninsured. One of the most interesting aspects of this story is what happened behind the scenes. Some unions were agitating for the AFL-CIO to pass a resolution calling for the repeal of Obamacare. President Obama personally intervened to prevent that from happening. At the end of the week, once the AFL-CIO’s quadrennial convention was over, the Obama administration announced that it wouldn’t heed labor’s concerns. Politically speaking, the President won, and the unions lost. But if you read the resolution that the AFL-CIO passed, it’s clear that unions are far from done complaining about Obamacare.

Obama worked hard to avoid an embarrassing rebuke

Several labor leaders have been angered by the fact that Obamacare will likely spell the end of multi-employer health plans called Taft-Hartley plans, which are a linchpin of labor’s efforts to unionize small businesses like restaurants, construction, and retail. “I guarantee you by your next convention four years from now, you won’t meet a quarter of this room,” said Joseph Nigro, president of the Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union. “We won’t be here.”

Terence O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, said, “If the Affordable Care Act is not fixed, and it destroys the health and welfare funds that we have fought for and stand for, then I believe it needs to be repealed.” It was these increasing calls for Obamacare’s repeal from Democrats’ staunchest allies that spooked the White House, on the eve of the AFL-CIO’s quadrennial convention in Los Angeles.

Kevin Bogardus of The Hill got the inside dope on the President’s maneuverings. The timing was critical. Wednesday was the last day of the AFL-CIO convention, and the President could evade a politically embarrassing debacle by simply stalling the rumored resolution. “The measure has been the subject of intense internal debate among AFL-CIO members, with many pushing for a strong rebuke of the law,” Bogardus reported.

The President’s team swung into action. “White House officials have been calling union leaders about a resolution critical of Obamacare that is set to pass on Wednesday at the AFL-CIO convention,” he reported last week. “Union leaders have been tight-lipped about the calls coming from Washington, but at least one labor official said he understands that the Obama administration has been watching the resolution’s progress and expressing a desire that it not move forward.”

Original Source:



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