1. #1

    Public Unions oppose single payer universal healthcare

    BUST THE UNIONS!!

    Public-sector unions are gearing up to fight legislation that would establish New York State as the health insurance provider for all residents, worried the sweeping bill would curtail their benefits and negotiating power.

    New York City labor leaders gathered in the Lower Manhattan offices of District Council 37 Monday to relay their concerns about the bill to its sponsors, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and state Sen. Gustavo Rivera, several sources familiar with the meeting told POLITICO. The conflict puts unions at odds with an issue popular in the liberal wing of the Democratic party.

    The lawmakers say they are now revising the legislation to address the unions' concerns, namely that the city’s insurance options for its 380,000-employee workforce would not be reduced. City government offers some plans that cover virtually all employee costs, but the Albany bill has a provision that would charge workers a portion of the state tax used to pay for the $311 billion initiative.

    Labor leaders also worry the bill would invalidate their collective bargaining leverage around health plans, thereby nixing the city’s roughly $1,500-per-employee contribution to individual union funds. Those accounts cover a variety of expenses, including prescription drugs, hearing aids and glasses.

    “Each union sets up its own welfare fund plan and it’s funded through the contributions, and if you don’t have the contributions, you don’t have the welfare fund,” Greg Floyd, president of Teamsters Local 237, said on Wednesday.

    He was present at the meeting, which he estimated 150 people attended.

    Gottfried said he and Rivera reached out to the Municipal Labor Committee, an umbrella group representing city unions, to collaborate on the bill.

    “As Gustavo and I keep telling them, this is what our parents raised us to do. We were not raised to screw city workers. Or any workers,” Gottfried said.

    The new legislation would ensure employers continue their current rates of coverage, he said. The bill would also end up providing more than city workers currently receive, he added: “More services covered, more prescription drugs covered and when the bill is reintroduced in 2019, it will be broadened even more."

    “There will be no deductibles or co-pays, there will be no restrictive network and no out-of-network charges,” Gottfried added.

    And any savings the city incurs — which he estimates would total $10 billion a year in reduced Medicaid expenses and payroll taxes — would replenish a fund partially controlled by unions under the proposal.

    The bill has passed the Assembly for four consecutive years, but has languished in the GOP-controlled Senate. With Democrats taking control of the chamber in January and health care a top voting issue across the country, he and Rivera believe the measure stands a better chance.

    It will still be a challenge to convince Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take on such a costly initiative, which would require federal funding and a state tax increase. The state would have to raise $139 billion in new tax revenue each year to pay for the plan, according to a RAND Corporation report released this year.

    “It’s a conversation we have yet to have in the Senate,” Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, the newly-appointed leader of the legislative body, said in a radio interview Wednesday. “I can certainly commit to having it heard, having it talked about.”

    Harry Nespoli, head of the Municipal Labor Committee, did not respond to a request for comment.

    Bill Hammond of the fiscally conservative Empire Center for Public Policy predicted an uphill battle, saying it's "really complicated" and "really expensive" and would "potentially compromise the state's economy."

    “It would become a health plan with a state government attached," he added.
    https://www.politico.com/states/new-...-albany-717096
    Last edited by Simplemente Feliz; 2019-01-11 at 09:43 PM.
    Your problem is that you’re more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right.

  2. #2
    Of course unions are, it's actually not in their interests to have universal single payer health care. They can negotiate for better coverage via collective bargaining that benefits their members over non-union employees. They should be pushing back because it's their job to specifically protect the interests of their members only, and nobody else.

    But I guess we can freak out and whine about neoliberals more too.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edge- View Post
    Of course unions are, it's actually not in their interests to have universal single payer health care. They can negotiate for better coverage via collective bargaining that benefits their members over non-union employees. They should be pushing back because it's their job to specifically protect the interests of their members only, and nobody else.

    But I guess we can freak out and whine about neoliberals more too.
    Couldn't have said this better myself. Healthcare is one of the biggest things next to wages that a union uses during collective bargaining (as noted in the article). Taking away a bargaining chip and granting more power to the employer is something that a single payer system would do so its no surprise the leaders of the unions would scoff at it.
    "It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not a weakness, that is life."
    - Jean-Luc Picard
    “You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.”
    ― Malcolm X, By Any Means Necessary

  4. #4
    Yeah, given how unions have essentially been legislatively neutered over the years they have a big interest in keeping the few tools/chips they have left to bargain in their pocket.

    I'm a big pro-union guy, acknowledging that unions are far from perfect and there are some very corrupt unions that don't work for their members. But this isn't something I'll support unions on. Instead, I'll support legislation that rolls back anti-union protections for corporations and gives workers stronger collective bargaining rights so that they can continue to serve a useful and effective purpose for their members and hopefully have union membership return to what it once was when it was commonplace rather than the exception.

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