One of the primary groups that helped to get Barack Obama elected to a second term were labor unions. In fact, some unions even ordered union members to attend and disrupt Romney and Ryan campaign rallies. A number of union members were bussed into some GOP rallies and even paid to protest.
Now a growing number of unions are becoming discontent and angry about some of Obama’s policies that they initially supported.
Currently, nearly 20 million union members that work in the construction, retail, transportation and several other industries on a seasonal or part time basis have health benefits provided by the Taft-Hartley plans. The unions and smaller employers share their resources to provide for continuous coverage even when the union members are between jobs. These plans often are more expensive than those offered by most employers, however the workers are guaranteed non-stop coverage during times of unemployment.
Once Obamacare is fully implemented, these plans will become even more costly to the unions. Under Obamacare, dependents will be covered up to age 26, the limits on annual and lifetime coverage will be eliminated and people with pre-existing conditions will also be covered. All of these factors will drive the union costs higher.
David Treanor, Director of Health Care Initiatives at Operating Engineers Union commented on the added costs saying:
“We’re concerned that employers will be increasingly tempted to drop coverage through our plans and let our members fend for themselves on the health exchanges.”
Bob Laszewski, a consultant for the health care industry, explained that union contracts are expensive enough. The new provisions mandated by Obamacare will drive the cost of union contracts even higher. This could spell more trouble for unions since employers will have a second choice of health coverage if they turn to the exchanges established by Obamacare. He explained:
“If the workers can get benefits that are as good through Obamacare in the exchanges, then why do you need the union? In my mind, what the unions are fearing is that workers for the first time can get very good health benefits for a subsidized cost someplace other than the employer.”
Not only are a number of unions starting to react to Obamacare, but other unions are also becoming concerned about the provisions in the immigration reform bill. I previously reported that a second union, the American Federation of Government Employees Council 119 has come out against the immigration reform bill, stating that it will cost jobs and that it damages public safety and national security.
The growing union unrest with Obama and Democrat’s policies may have an impact on the mid-elections coming up in 2014. As more unions begin to discover the costs and impacts of things like Obamacare and Immigration reform, plus the numerous scandals plaguing the Obama administration, many Republicans are growing more optimistic about the mid-elections.