The Change to Win labor federation has unsurprisingly backed the health care bill, even with the increased excise tax on middle class health care plans. (The change to the tax ended up including more people in the tax each year by attaching it to, rather than slightly above, inflation.)
Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO’s Executive Committee is still discussing its support for the bill with the increased tax. Ben Smith:
While the AFL-CIO deliberates, the Change to Win federation, which includes SEIU and the Teamsters, isn’t nit-picking on the excise tax.
The group’s Anna Burger says in a statement:
This is it. This is the moment of truth for every Member of Congress.
It is time for Congress members to decide on which side of history will they stand. They must choose between working families struggling to get by and an insurance industry that puts profits before the people they are supposed to serve.
For generations, this country has known the need for reform. For the past year, we have as a nation debated and fought for real health insurance reform. Now, it’s time for Congress to deliver.
SEIU, the Teamsters, and the rest of the Change to Win coalition aren’t nitpicking the increased excise tax, because they’ve never been concerned about it. The workers represented by those unions are predominantly lower wage earners with less generous health care packages that won’t be affected by the tax. The excise tax was always designed to hit the unions like AFSCME, CWA, and others in the AFL-CIO, who have workers with bigger, more expensive health care plans (negotiated in exchange for foregone wage hikes).
So in short, big whoop about Change to Win. The AFL-CIO is where to watch. Of course, they’ll almost inevitably support the bill; the trick is what did Trumka negotiate for at the White House last night?