Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA
Labor unions turn against parts of health bill
WASHINGTON — A coalition of labor unions is emerging as a leading critic of an $829 billion health care bill heading toward a Senate vote, complicating debate among Democrats over how to pay for the measure.
Unions had largely supported President Obama's effort to revamp the nation's $2.6 trillion health care system, but 27 labor groups have launched a campaign against key provisions in the bill passed this week by the Senate Finance Committee.
Unions spent $75 million on contributions to federal candidates in 2008, 92% of which went to Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Unions want Reid to include a government-run insurance program in the merged bill and remove a tax on high-priced insurance policies. Gerald McEntee, head of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), estimates half of its 1.6 million members would be affected by the tax.
McEntee said union workers have often chosen to accept lower wages in exchange for better and more costly health insurance. He said union members, who frequently organize get-out-the-vote efforts for Democrats, won't be afraid to remind politicians of that in next year's election.
"We worked for all these people. We worked for Obama," he said. "What do we get for it? We not only don't get anything for it, we get a slap in the face."
Many of the ideas favored by unions are opposed by moderate Democrats as well as Republicans and would make it difficult to attract the 60 votes needed in the Senate to end filibusters. Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., for instance, has said he will not support government-run insurance called for in other versions of the bill.
The AFL-CIO, the Air Line Pilots Association and the UAW are also part of the coalition. The effort began with newspaper advertisements this week and McEntee said it may expand into television ads and "boots on the ground in coming weeks. http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-10-14-union_N.htm?csp=34
When the unions go against the democrats, it's not good news for the democrats. Time to pay the piper for those millions in contrubutions. Will the Dems buckle under the Union pressure and demands? But of course........