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ACA Agonistes
Unions Battle New Costs, Feel Betrayed by the ACA

The ACA is driving a new wedge between unions and management nationwide, as each fights to shift the costs of the new health care mandates onto the other. The mandates at issue include everything from regulations requiring more coverage for dependents to a hefty new tax on generous health care plans. The latter could add as much as $15 million a year to some union plans. A piece in the WSJ reports on the increasingly heated fights over these new costs:

In Philadelphia, disagreement over how much workers should contribute to such health-plan cost increases has stalled talks between the region’s transit system and its main union representing 5,000 workers as they try to renegotiate a contract that expired in March.

Roughly 2,000 housekeepers, waiters and others at nine of 10 downtown Las Vegas casinos voted this month to go on strike June 1 if they don’t reach agreements on a series of issues, the thorniest of which involve new ACA-related cost increases, according to the union.

Flight attendants at Alaska Airlines voted down a tentative contract agreement with management in February, in part because it didn’t provide enough protection against a possible surge in ACA-related costs, union members said. They are still without a new contract.

Even though the battle is between management and labor, neither side is likely to look kindly on the law that makes these negotiations necessary in the first place. As unions try to get companies to pick up the tab, their leaders continue to express bitterness towards Obamacare. One labor lawyer told the WSJ: “When we first supported the calls for health-care reform, we thought it was going to bring costs down.”

Unions aren’t the only ones disappointed by the reality of Obamacare; the law continues to perform dismally in the latest public opinion polls. When all the dust is settled and the rollout is farther behind us, cost issues will continue to haunt the ACA. That promises to anger not only the American public, but also labor, one of Democrats’ core constituencies.

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  • Boritz

    As TAI has pointed out, a majority of people don’t want to go back to the pre-ACA status quo (no repeal) so you have to assume these battles are welcome and less frightening than what these groups had previously.

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