Krauthammer: Unions are in a state of “desperation and disappointment” over ObamaCare

posted at 9:21 pm on July 17, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Mary Katharine just posted what went down in the House earlier this evening, with almost a few dozen Democrats voting in favor of codifying the White House’s otherwise unilaterally-imposed delay of the employer mandate into law, and a full 22 Dems voting for a similar delay for the individual mandate as well — and while a majority of Americans want the individual mandate delayed, it’s easy to spot where some more of that conflicting pressure might be coming from. One of Democrats’ most traditionally loyal and vociferous factions of support, Big Labor is most upset about the law they for which they very proactively helped to shore up support and make sure stayed in place.

The usually solid benefits and health care options, for instance, are traditionally some of the biggest attractions for even being in a union in the first place; but with ObamaCare mucking up their multi-employer health plan system and with employers moving to part-time employees right and left, unions are now in an outraged and yet entirely predictable panic:

The first union grievance is that the employer mandate is leading business to hold worker hours below 30 hours a week to comply with the Administration’s regulatory definition. Despite the one-year suspension of the mandate, many businesses that must provide insurance or pay a penalty are shifting to part-time labor, and the union chiefs explain that “fewer hours means less pay while also losing our current health benefits.” Nice to know Mr. Hoffa is reading these columns.

The unions are also aggrieved because they have failed to gain special subsidies for the multi-employer health insurance plans allowed under the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947. The White House had no legal authority to grant such a request, so refusing to do so for a major political patron showed unusual restraint. …

What Mr. Hoffa and the other union reps don’t mention amid their cold sweats is that less employer-provided insurance means less of a role for unions as middle men in contract negotiations. Then again, all of the harm they are now discovering was obvious during the ObamaCare debate. It’s another reminder that Big Labor now exists mainly for the benefit of unions and their leaders, rather than the workers they supposedly represent.

Oh, how the tables have turned! Via RCP:

It is true, they supported the bill, they supported the administration, they helped elect it, had the boots on the ground and they were swindled, but it isn’t as if they weren’t warned. People who looked at the bill said the way it is constructed, there’s this huge incentive for any business, small business, to drop the number of employees under 50, the firms are now known as the 49ers, so people get fired as a way to get under the requirement of employer mandate.

It also means that a lot of full time employees are going to lose at least ten hours of work, they have to get under 30 hours. So, if you’re a full-time worker now, you’re not going to be able to support a family on part time income. But the worst is as you indicated, that they’re going to lose their members. The glory of the union movement is that beginning in the second World War when there were wage and price controls, companies competed against each other by including health care in the package. That was the beginning of that. And that’s one of the great achievements of unions.

Now what they’re seeing is workers are looking at the exchanges and seeing, ‘I can drop out of the employer plan, I get a huge subsidy, I come out ahead, and don’t have to be a member of the union.’ So this is a disaster for the unions and that’s why you have this letter of desperation and disappointment.


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