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Union: Obamacare will slash wages by up to $5 an hour
BY: Paul Bedard March 9, 2014 | 11:15 am | Modified: March 9, 2014 at 11:15 am
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Donald Taylor, head of Unite Here, has been critical of Obamacare.
HEALTH CARE LABOR OBAMACARE WASHINGTON SECRETS
A national union that represents 300,000 low-wage hospitality workers charges in a new report that Obamacare will slam wages, cut hours, limit access to health insurance and worsen the very “income equality” President Obama says he is campaigning to fix.
Unite Here warned that due to Obamacare's much higher costs for health insurance than what union workers currently pay, the result will be a pay cut of up to $5 an hour. "If employers follow the incentives in the law, they will push families onto the exchanges to buy coverage. This will force low-wage service industry employees to spend $2.00, $3.00 or even $5.00 an hour of their pay to buy similar coverage," said the union in a new report.
“Only in Washington could asking the bottom of the middle class to finance health care for the poorest families be seen as reducing inequality,” said the report from Unite Here. “Without smart fixes, the ACA threatens the middle class with higher premiums, loss of hours, and a shift to part-time work and less comprehensive coverage,” said the report, titled, “The Irony of Obamacare: Making Inequality Worse.”
Based on government and private reports, polling and statements from administration officials, the report, to be sent to pro-union members in Congress, charges that low-wage workers are taking the hit under Obamacare, while wealthy insurance companies fatten up on government subsidies.
Union head Donald "D." Taylor, in a note also being sent to Congress, demands changes and admits to being reluctant to bash a president his union supported.
“Believe me; I enter this entire debate about the consequences of the ACA with a deep reluctance,” he wrote. “Unite Here was the first union to endorse then-Senator Obama. We support the addition of health care to millions of Americans. Yet facts are facts, and Obamacare will cost our members the equivalent of a significant pay cut to keep their hard-won benefits.”
Taylor and other union leaders have criticized Obamacare before. His union's report was uploaded by Ralston Reports.
Unite Here's document charges that the administration is putting union health care into a "death spiral." It endorsed criticism that employers will move workers to part-time status to avoid the requirement that those working 30 hours or more a week be provided health insurance -- or else the company pays a penalty. And it says the Affordable Care Act will shift workers from union insurance to the more expensive Obamacare health exchanges, costing them up to half of their pay to cover premiums.
“The information addresses the very unfortunate irony of Obamacare,” Taylor said in his letter about the report. “Namely, that it will inevitably lead to the destruction of the health care plans we were promised we could keep. And, as a result, it will lead to greater income inequality for the very segment of the population Obamacare should want to help most.”
Taylor also suggested that Democrats in Washington are telling unions to stop griping about the impact of Obamacare on their members. He quoted a Senate aide saying, “Labor needs to regress to the mean.” Said Taylor: “In other words, roll back what you have and take one for the team. Ironic, given that Congress and the president carved out an exemption for staffers on the ACA. We cannot sit idly by as the politicians carve up our health plans while they carve out exceptions for themselves and every special interest feeding at the trough in Washington.”
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer