AFL-CIO To Push Even Harder For Health Reform, May Bend On ‘Cadillac Tax’
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka is "willing to consider a tax on high-value health insurance plans - something labor has vehemently opposed - if middle-class workers aren't hurt, The Associated Press reports. The flexibility is notable because "[l]abor leaders worry that workers would be affected even though lawmakers aimed the proposed tax at insurance plans offering the richest benefits" (Werner, 10/26).
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that "the labor federation would make Thursday, Nov. 5, a nationwide 'Day of Action' for union members to press their members of Congress to back sweeping health care legislation." Trumka said there will be "a letter-writing and phone campaign at thousands of work sites, where union members will contact lawmakers in Washington to urge them to support a 'public option' - creation of a new government-run health plan that would compete with private insurers" (Greenhouse, 10/26).
So far, the AFL-CIO's members have sent 42,000 letters and emissaries from 27 states to sway lawmakers, according to The Hill. Senate Majority Leader Harry "Reid has not given labor unions everything. But he has done enough to keep them from turning completely against the bill: including a version of the government-run health insurance program; raising the taxable level on high-cost insurance plans; and increasing the penalty for those companies that fail to provide health insurance to employees. ... The AFL-CIO, which has 11.5 million members, has delivered 42,000 handwritten letters to Capitol Hill and dispatched labor representatives from 27 states to hold 100 meetings with lawmakers" (Bolton, 10/26).