Labor unions ready to go on record as calling for changes to ObamaCare

LOS ANGELES — The AFL-CIO is poised to approve a resolution harshly critical of ObamaCare, union officials say.

Several leaders in the labor told The Hill that a resolution that contains strong language about flaws in the Affordable Care Act was moved out of the AFL-CIO Executive Council during an early Wednesday morning meeting.

That sets up a vote on the convention for later on Wednesday and, if passed, will put the nation’s largest labor federation and one of Obama’s biggest supporters on record as calling for changes to ObamaCare.


Sean McGarvey, president of the Building and Constructions Trades Department, told The Hill that the resolution “was just unanimously approved in the executive council meeting.”

“It salutes the positive attributes of the Affordable [Care] Act and the great work it has done and the support we have given to it. But it also points out some deficiencies in the act as it exists that are going to be detrimental to existing employer coverage in healthcare,” McGarvey said.

The Building Trades had introduced the resolution — a draft copy that The Hill reported on Tuesday — to be considered at this labor convention.

Several unions are worried about how ObamaCare will impact their members’ health plans.

McGarvey said the executive council amended the resolution, but only slightly.

“Just some minor changes, we made a couple of amendments in the executive council meeting,” McGarvey said. “Nothing was taken out.”


Union leaders said there was healthy debate about the resolution at the executive council meeting. There “were strongly expressed views that we needed a formal statement and resolution at this convention,” said Harold Schaitberger, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborer’s International Union of North America, said the measure is about making “sure our members don’t lose their health insurance over this and ensure that what the president said, which is, ‘if you like you health insurance, you can keep it.’ That’s really what the end of the day what we are trying to do here.”

O’Sullivan, who said he was undecided on Tuesday on whether he would support the resolution, plans to black the measure now. The union leader will still speak about it from the floor when the measure is debated.

“I’m going to support the resolution. I’m going to say that it doesn’t go far enough. That our sole intention is fix it, fix it, fix it but if it isn’t fixed, our logical conclusion would be that we repeal it,” O’Sullivan said.

Union officials said the resolution will be debated and subject to a vote on the convention floor later on Wednesday.