Labor Pains: Because Being in a Union can be Painful

CUF Takes CNBC Talking Unions and the ACA

We noted recently that big unions are beginning to realize they made a mistake in encouraging their political clients to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, in 2010. With the AFL-CIO Convention passing a resolution to formally criticize the law for putting unions’ multiemployer plans (called Taft-Hartley trusts after the law that governs them) at a disadvantage, we headed down to CNBC to explain the pickle unions have made for themselves.

Our Executive Director told Closing Bell that the ACA is written in such a way as to encourage employers to punt employees from Taft-Hartley plans to the new government-run exchange system. Additionally, union members in these plans are not able to receive government subsidies to buy health insurance.

Meanwhile our Managing Director told Larry Kudlow that unions have been “their own worst enemy,” backing initiatives that dilute the benefits they can offer workers. He also noted that unions’ political partisanship won’t help them convince the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to do them a favor on this issue.

This raises the question: Why pay union dues anymore? It’s a question that a large portion of the workforce has asked over the past years, as the alleged union/nonunion “pay gap” closes and unions’ benefit packages get nationalized. The result: Union membership has collapsed to its lowest levels in memory and Big Labor has to hide behind “worker center” front groups.

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