Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

Labor Bosses Meeting With The President Next Week

In yet another sign of the White House’s open door policy for labor, a dozen of the major union presidents will meet with President Obama next Monday to discuss healthcare and card check.

Labor bosses will discuss with the President about what they can do to pass a healthcare bill that includes a public option but of course, not a tax on their health benefits:

Labor leaders said they hoped to talk with the president about the status of health-care legislation and what the nation’s labor unions can do to advance the administration’s efforts to assure passage of such legislation, including the enactment of a public option in which a government-run health insurance entity would compete with private insurers.

Union leaders also said they wanted to reiterate their opposition to enacting a tax on employee-provided health benefits to help finance health-care reform. Such a move that would hurt union members disproportionately because so many receive health benefits from their employers.

And of course, what wouldn’t be a trip to the White House without a chance to talk about EFCA with the President?

One top A.F.L.-C.I.O. official said the labor leaders also wanted to voice their hopes about enacting the Employee Free Choice Act, which would make it far easier for workers to unionize. …

“We just want to have some give and take about how things are going, but clearly people want to know more about what the White House thinks on various issues,” said the A.F.L.-C.I.O. official, who insisted on anonymity because the meeting has not yet been officially announced.

It will be a who’s who of labor bosses at the White House:

Union officials said those who will meet with Mr. Obama include John J. Sweeney, the president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., Andrew L. Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union and Dennis Van Roekel, president of the National Education Association, as well as the presidents of the steelworkers, communications workers, Teamsters, and food and commercial workers.

No word on whether they’ll be as vocal or boisterous as they were at last week’s UNITE HERE convention.

The labor bosses’ meeting with the President is just another sign of the Obama Administration’s open door policy with unions. SEIU President Andy Stern already visits the White House at least once a week. Whether it’s bailing out GM and Chrysler with taxpayer funds or bullying a state because the SEIU complains, this meeting is just another sign of the increasingly intertwined relationship between the White House and labor.

Categories: AFL-CIOCenter for Union FactsEFACNewsSEIUTeamstersUNITE HERE