Three Union Presidents write to Senator Reid and Representative Pelosi
demanding an “equitable fix” for Obamacare
The presidents of three international unions, IBT, UFCW and UNITE-HERE,
have sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority
Leader Nancy Pelosi expressing deep concern over the impact Obamacare will
have on workers.
The full text of their letter follows.
Dear Leader Reid and Leader Pelosi:
When you and the President sought our support for the Affordable Care Act
(ACA), you pledged that if we liked the health plans we have now, we could
keep them. Sadly, that promise is under threat. Right now, unless you and
the Obama Administration enact an equitable fix, the ACA will shatter not
only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40
hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.
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.
Second, millions 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
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.
On behalf of the millions of working men and women we represent and the
families they support, we can no longer stand silent in the face of
elements of the Affordable Care Act that will destroy the very health and
well-being of our members along with millions of other hardworking
We believe that there are common-sense corrections that can be made within
the existing statute that will allow our members to continue to keep their
current health plans and benefits just as you and the President pledged.
Unless changes are made, however, that promise is hollow.
We continue to stand behind real health care reform, but the law as it
stands will hurt millions of Americans including the members of our
We are looking to you to make sure these changes are made.
James P. Hoffa
International Brotherhood of Teamsters
All Unions Committee for Single Payer Health Care–HR 676
c/o Nurses Professional Organization (NPO)
1169 Eastern Parkway, Suite 2218
Louisville, KY 40217
(502) 636 1551