Ohio Conservative Review: Labor Gives ObamaCare Grim Prognosis
By Eli Miller
Since we just celebrated Labor Day, it seems appropriate to share a position on which Americans for Prosperity Ohio and the labor unions agree: ObamaCare is bad for workers.
As James P. Hoffa, head of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, stated in a letter to Democratic leaders in Congress, Obamacare “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.”
Mr. Hoffa and the letter’s other two signatories, D. Taylor, President of UNITE-HERE, and Joseph Hansen, International President of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), are correct in their assertion that the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as ObamaCare, has become the cause rather than the cure for many of our economic maladies. From delays to disappointments, interruptions to exemptions, the implementation of ObamaCare has proven to be the “train wreck” that one of the law’s authors, Senator Max Baucus, cautioned the country about.
Mr. Hoffa is not the only member of big labor to issue concerns over the big problems surrounding the implementation of ObamaCare.
According to an article in The Hill, the UFCW — a 1.3 million-member labor group that twice endorsed President Obama — is very worried about how the reform law will affect its members’ healthcare plans. In addition, the president of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers released a statement calling “for repeal or complete reform of the Affordable Care Act.”
ObamaCare isn’t faring much better with the general public. According to a poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International, just 36 percent of those surveyed say the law will “make things better” for the middle class, while 49 percent say they expect it will “make things worse.”
Mr. Hoffa’s letter goes on to warn that the implementation of ObamaCare will create “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.” He is correct on these points as well. In fact, numerous companies as well as state and local governments have already begun scaling back employee hours to preempt the employer mandate that has been delayed until 2015. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 77% of the 1 million jobs created in 2013 have been part-time positions.
As noted in a Washington Post story, Jamie T. Richardson, vice president of White Castle System (the Columbus-based burger chain), recently testified before a Congressional hearing that “complying with the 30-hour rule would mean a 35 percent increase in the company’s health-care costs.” He added, “White Castle would probably adopt a policy ensuring that new hires work no more than 25 hours a week if the mandate goes forward as expected in 2015.”
The diagnosis is in: ObamaCare is not making health care more affordable. ObamaCare is not making health care more accessible. What ObamaCare is doing is making unlikely allies like Americans for Prosperity Ohio and our nation’s labor unions band together in defiance of this massive and onerous healthcare takeover.