White House Attempts to Buy Off UFCW Support of Obamacare UFCW Monitor

White House Attempts to Buy Off UFCW Support of Obamacare

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After United Food and Commercial Workers Union sent a letter criticizing Obamacare, Obama wants to ‘fix’ the bill for the UFCW- for half a trillion dollars.

obamacare-train-wreck-ufcw

We’ve previously gone over the “trouble in paradise” for the Affordable Care Act, where previous Obamacare supporters like the UFCW are now pulling their support now that they can see what was in the bill. A piece by Avik Roy in Forbes explains why the sudden criticism of the bill might be self-serving:

Obamacare affects multi-employer health plans, also known as Taft-Hartley plans. These plans consist of employer-sponsored health insurance that is arranged between a labor union in a particular industry, such as restaurants, and small employers in that sector. Approximately 20 million workers in the United States are covered under such arrangements, including 800,000 of the 1.3 million members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union….

Unsurprisingly, the focus of the UFCW’s criticism is really just on the places where it affects their own bottom line. Since employed union members would not qualify for the subsidies, This would pose quite a strange situation for the UFCW, who may find themselves with strange bedfellows in criticizing the policy.

In fact, the union’s position on Obamacare has already created issues for the UFCW’s new partners- the AFL-CIO. The UFCW recently left their old partners, Change to Win, and rejoined the AFL-CIO after eight years of being apart. Now, the AFL-CIO is losing members due to their position on Obamacare. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, or ILWU, just pulled out 40,000 members, citing Obamacare as their chief complaint:

McEllrath expressed disappointment in Trumka for “going along to get along” and in the failure for the AFL-CIO to secure a government run single-payer healthcare system for its members.That’s right, Obamacare just isn’t liberal enough. McEllrath also ripped Trumka for his support of Obama’s 40 percent Cadillac healthcare plan tax.

That’s why it’s not surprising that the Obama administration is working to stop the bleeding. From the previously cited article:

Now, according to Rachana Dixit of InsideHealthPolicy, the administration is “working on regulations to address the issue” that people covered under Taft-Hartley plans aren’t eligible for subsidies. But it’s not an “issue” in the sense of being a glitch or a mistake; union leaders are seeking special treatment, and additional taxpayer subsidies, that other participants in employer-sponsored coverage don’t get.

Since the UFCW were such large supporters of Obama, it’s not surprising that the administration wants to do everything they can to get the union back on board. The piece goes on to explain that it’s not just the Administration, Members of congress are also on board. Nancy Pelosi is quoted as telling unions she wants to “resolve their concerns” – about as close as she may get to a mea culpa.

But there’s a very concerning element in all of this- what will this actually cost? Ultimately, to “fix” the law to support the unions, that will require subsidies. And these subsidies are going to end up costing the taxpayers even more:

If, suddenly, the 20 million people on Taft-Hartley plans were eligible for subsidies, Obamacare’s costs would skyrocket. If half of those Taft-Hartley enrollees gained $5,000 per year in tax credits along with their tax-free health benefits, we’re talking $50 billion a year in additional insurance subsidies for those individuals. That’s more than half a trillion dollars over ten years, accounting for health inflation.

So for Obamacare to be acceptable to the UFCW, it’ll take over half a trillion dollars- and that’s before more elements of the program kick in. The UFCW had previously been ecstatic about Obamacare:

The UFCW used its vast resources to push health care reform through Congress. Yet a majority of the Americans disapproved of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
The UFCW lauded the achievement “among the ranking highest in our national experience.” They may have been right with regard to the impact the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will have on the American experience. For example, it would add trillions of dollars in new government spending.

It seems the UFCW were even more right than we gave them credit for being at the time. Except the experience seems to have impacted the UFCW more negatively than they’d predicted. And now, to “fix” the problem, they’re going to add up to half a trillion more dollars to the Obamacare. Ultimately, it’ll be the taxpayers- union and non-union alike- that will be stuck with the bill.

White House Attempts to Buy Off UFCW Support of Obamacare By admin On Sep 3, 2013 All News | Rumor mill | Shady Lobbying Comments Off Tags: AFL-CIO, Change to Win, ILWU, Obamacare, taft-hartley, UFCW After United Food and Commercial Workers Union sent a letter criticizing Obamacare, Obama wants to ‘fix’ the bill for the […]






Working Against America

The UFCW used its vast resources to push health care reform through Congress.1 Yet a majority of the Americans disapproved of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 2

The UFCW lauded the achievement “among the ranking highest in our national experience.”3 They may have been right with regard to the impact the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will have on the American experience. For example, it would add trillions of dollars in new government spending.4

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will also increase Medicare’s long term liabilities by nearly $50 trillion.5 The bill created more than $560 billion in new taxes and cut Medicare by more than $520 billion. 6

The UFCW claims to protect America’s middle-class by fighting for healthcare reform. 7 However, the same healthcare reform bill the union backed created a “destructive” tax on savings and investment income that would hurt middle-class American including rank and file UFCW members. The Tax is predicted to skew incentives to work, save and create jobs. 8


1 UFCW Press Release: http://www.ufcw.org/press_room/index.cfm?pressReleaseID=490
2CNN/Opinion Research Poll
3UFCW Press Release: http://www.ufcw.org/press_room/index.cfm?pressReleaseID=490
4James C. Capretta, “The Real Budgetary Impact Of The House And Senate Bills,” Heritage Foundation Web Memo #2756, 1/14/10; “Enacting A Lie,” Investor’s Business Daily, 3/23/10
5“Enacting A Lie,” Investor’s Business Daily, 3/23/10
6U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) Op-Ed, “Fix Health Reform, Then Repeal It,” New York Times, 3/26/10
7UFCW Press Release: http://www.ufcw.org/press_room/index.cfm?pressReleaseID=490
8“ObamaCare’s Worst Tax Hike,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/17/10

The UFCW used its vast resources to push health care reform through Congress.1 Yet a majority of the Americans disapproved of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 2 The UFCW lauded the achievement “among the ranking highest in our national experience.”3 They may have been right with regard to the impact the Patient Protection […]






UFCW Worker Sues Hilda Solis – UFCW Monitor UFCW Monitor

UFCW Worker Sues Hilda Solis

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Chris Mosquera of Rockville, MD has filed a lawsuit against U.S. Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis. His complaint: the Obama administration official has overturned a transparency rule that requires unions such as his to disclose critical financial information about their activities.

In his own words from a Washington Examiner article:

Under the proposed guidelines, union officials would have to disclose how much individual compensation they receive in the form of benefits, account for any travel and entertainment expenses, and identify union income streams.

The fact is most workers want more information about how their money is being spent by union officials. Last year, a poll revealed that nearly 90 percent of union members support strong union transparency requirements.

Disclosure is a simple but effective tool for fighting corruption and encouraging accountability. If union officials know their spending habits are part of the public record, they’ll be less interested in expensive getaways and more interested in effectively managing their members’ hard-earned dues.

That’s why I filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court to stop Solis from rolling back these vital union transparency requirements. Union officials shouldn’t be allowed to operate behind closed doors when billions of dollars of employees’ hard-earned money is at stake.

The rule Mosquera speaks of introduces some very common-sense accountability requirements for union leaders. They would show more of what the union leaders are actually doing with their member’s dues money beyond merely recording expenses and revenue:

Under the current rule, unions are required to report salaries of union leaders, revenue and expenditures. A new rule, which took effect in June 2009 and was repealed in October 2009, would have expanded those requirements.

Under the now-repealed rule, union officials were required to report deferred benefits, such as union cars and tickets to sporting events, provide more information about business transactions and report detailed travel and entertainment expenses.

Meanwhile, there has been very little in the way of defense of this change. The Labor Department has not issued an explanation and declined to comment on the issue:

A spokesman for the Labor Department declined to comment about legal matters. …

[Director of Legal Information for the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation Patrick] Semmens said Solis repealed the rule because the enhanced reporting was burdensome to union leaders. The Labor Department did not provide an explanation.

This is an obvious bone the Obama administration is tossing Big Labor Unions like the UFCW in reward for their support during his campaign. They have been recently making noise about not being catered to enough– this is the administration’s attempt to help pay them back, even at the expense of transparency and openness about how union worker’s dues money is spent.

For leading the “most transparent administration in history”, the Obama administration has certainly done a lot to obfuscate knowledge and information when it comes to union organization practices. Fortunately, at least one member of the UFCW has taken things into his own hands to try and correct the matter.

UFCW Worker Sues Hilda Solis By admin On Aug 1, 2011 All News | Latest updates | News | Shady Lobbying Comments Off Chris Mosquera of Rockville, MD has filed a lawsuit against U.S. Labor Secretary, Hilda Solis. His complaint: the Obama administration official has overturned a transparency rule that requires unions such as his […]






UFCW President Hansen Shocked Obamacare Not As Advertised UFCW Monitor UFCW Monitor

UFCW President Hansen Shocked Obamacare Not As Advertised?

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United Food and Commercial Workers Union International President Joseph Hansen’s editorial criticized Obamacare after the UFCW got 28 waivers from the ACA.

In the fallout of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, more and more opposition to the national health care program has arisen. Even prominent Democrats who voted for the bill are now expressing their concerns that Obamacare will turn into a “train wreck.” Now voices are coming from even more surprising places- the leadership of unions who were prominent supporters of the legislation!

The UFCW, who worked incredibly hard to support the passage of Obamacare, is now expressing reservations about the bill now that we’ve passed it to know what’s in it. So why the big change of heart? Apparently, the Affordable Care Act actually hurts unions!

Many UFCW members have what are known as multi-employer or Taft-Hartley plans. According to the administration’s analysis of the Affordable Care Act, the law does not provide tax subsidies for the roughly 20 million people covered by the plans. Union officials argue that interpretation could force their members to change their insurance and accept more expensive and perhaps worse coverage in the state-run exchanges.

Hansen’s editorial explains a number of places where the Obamacare promise has not met reality, chiefly in the promise that people could keep their coverage and their doctors. All of this starts to sound like a big change of heart, until you see Hansen’s real motivation. From UFCW International President Joseph Hansen’s recent editorial:

..the ACA would block these plans from the law’s benefits (such as the subsidy for lower-income individuals and families) while subjecting them to the law’s penalties (like the $63 per insured person to subsidize Big Insurance).

This creates unstoppable incentives for employers to reduce weekly hours for workers currently on our plans and push them onto the exchanges where many will pay higher costs for poorer insurance with a more limited network of providers. In other words, they will be forced to change their coverage and quite possibly their doctor.

So as Obamacare is implemented, more workers will be forced out of the UFCW’s healthcare plans and into the healthcare exchanges. Employers will be forced to cut hours and full-time employees. This also affects the UFCW as their membership struggles to pay their dues and rising healthcare costs.

And the ultimate irony- while the UFCW was a big cheerleader of Obamacare, they were first in line to be exempted from it:

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which celebrated the passage of Obamacare as “an achievement that will rank among the highest in our national experience,” secured waivers for 28 different affiliates.

So the UFCW’s crowning achievement is now their biggest anchor. But don’t let their about-face surprise you. They’ve been playing both sides of the issue for a long time, they’re just only now seeing the consequences.

UFCW President Hansen Shocked Obamacare Not As Advertised? By admin On May 28, 2013 All News | Union Mismanagement Comments Off Tags: Affordable Care Act, Joseph Hansen, Obamacare United Food and Commercial Workers Union International President Joseph Hansen’s editorial criticized Obamacare after the UFCW got 28 waivers from the ACA. In the fallout of the […]






Are UFCW Members OK with This? – UFCW Monitor UFCW Monitor

Are UFCW Members OK with This?

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washington free beaconThe UFCW supports Planned Parenthood, the abortion provider which is under investigation for selling the body parts of aborted babies.

Are UFCW Members OK with This? By admin On Aug 11, 2015 Latest updates Comments Off The UFCW supports Planned Parenthood, the abortion provider which is under investigation for selling the body parts of aborted babies.






UFCW Local 1776 Double Standard on Lobbying Disclosure UFCW Monitor

UFCW Local 1776’s Double Standard on Lobbying Disclosure

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UFCW Local 1776 President Wendell Young IV spent 8% of his time on lobbying and political activities, but is not listed as a lobbyist.ufcw-local-1776-lobby-money

It seems the president of UFCW Local 1776, Wendell Young IV, has been lobbying but failing to register his lobbying activities:

According to U.S. Department of Labor records examined by Media Trackers, Young reported 8 percent of his time as being spent on “political activities and lobbying”…
When confronted by a Pennsylvania Independent reporter, Young replied, “Clearly I do lobby, but it’s not my primary function as president of the union.”
Young was paid $23,421 (8 percent of his $292,765 salary) for political activity and lobbying in 2013. Registration is required by the commonwealth if payment for lobbying exceeds $2,500 per quarter.

This comes despite Young’s dubious claims that “We shouldn’t be held to a different standard than everyone else.” Unfortunately, it took until now for someone to investigate this fact. Despite the fact that lobbying may not be Young’s “primary function,” he makes no bones about the fact that he does, in fact, lobby.

This is not the first time the UFCW Local 1776 has pushed the boundaries of the law to promote policy positions:

Recently, some absurd ads vilifying the prospect of selling wine in grocery stores have blanketed the state. (They claim, “It only takes a little bit of greed to kill a child.”) Those ads were paid for by the UFCW, which funded a similarly over-the-top $1 million ad campaign last year.

The UFCW crossed that legal line by calling its ads—and even payments to lobbying firms—representational activities. Liquor store clerks who’ve jumped through every hoop to prevent their money from being spent on politics are still being forced to fund union political activity.

The UFCW’s actions here are far from transparent and accountable. This willingness to avoid transparency in the matter of money into politics is also entirely hypocritical, as the UFCW Local 1776 actually took part in a “Rally against big money in politics” (emphasis added):

UFCW Local 1776 Representative Eric Thomas took part in a rally of representatives from a variety of groups and PA State Representative Mark Cohen.  The groups gathered to push back on the power of big money in elections.
Thomas said, “The time has come to change the culture here in Pennsylvania and Washington DC.  Citizens United is an assault to our country’s democracy.  Distorting the idea of freedom, Citizens United only works to serve big business and promote corporatist agenda, not your average citizen.”

With apologies to Eric Thomas, the time has come to change the culture in UFCW Local 1776. Disregarding the law is an assault to our country’s democracy. Distorting the idea of freedom, UFCW Local 1776 ignores both the law and the wishes of their membership to push their own agenda, not the best interests of the state.

UFCW Local 1776’s Double Standard on Lobbying Disclosure By admin On Jun 24, 2014 All News | Shady Lobbying Comments Off Tags: UFCW lobbying, UFCW Local 1776, Wendell Young IV UFCW Local 1776 President Wendell Young IV spent 8% of his time on lobbying and political activities, but is not listed as a lobbyist. It […]






UFCW Boycotts Grocer for Following Law on E-Verify – UFCW Monitor UFCW Monitor

UFCW Boycotts Grocer for Following Law on E-Verify

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The Justice for Mercados Campaign, a campaign led by California’s United Food and Commercial Workers, have called for a boycott of Mi Pueblo, a grocery store based in San Jose. The store’s crime: signing up for a federal program- E-Verify – to comply with immigration law:

The company said on Friday that it joined E-Verify after federal immigration officials launched an audit of its existing workers’ immigration status in August, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

The chain’s founder, Juvenal Chavez, himself a former undocumented immigrant, has briefed employees over the past week, the Los Angeles Times reported over the weekend.

While E-Verify is a voluntary program, it does offer Mi Pueblo the ability to take matters into their own hands, rather than have federal investigators audit their employees and create potential problems. Of course, by taking the action themselves rather than having the auditors take care of it (presumably at higher expense and with more stress to the situation), they brought the attention and ire of the UFCW. The union’s solution: unionize their workforce, of course!

…[T]he Justice for Mercados Campaign are led by the UFCW, which is trying to organize Mi Pueblo’s more than 3,000 workers, said union spokesman Eriberto Fernandez.

In a statement, the campaign said it is trying to determine if in fact Mi Pueblo is being audited. It says Mi Pueblo could stop any audit by informing federal officials that the company is in the midst of a labor dispute reflected by the ongoing organizing effort by the union.

The UFCW is clearly using the federal audit as an excuse to put more pressure on the local chain to unionize- all while casting overtones of discrimination and distrust on the employer.

However, this puts the UFCW in an awkward position with their own members, as they’re attacking a company for complying with federal immigration law. Federal programs like E-Verify protect workers from federal audits like the one Mi Pueblo went through, and ensure that fair employment standards are upheld for all workers.

Fair employment standards should be something the UFCW supports, not attacks opportunistically to try to get a foothold in ongoing investigations. Their boycott not only hurts workers, but shows that the UFCW does not care to uphold the law except when it’s convenient.

UFCW Boycotts Grocer for Following Law on E-Verify By admin On Oct 11, 2012 All News | Dirty tactics | Shady Lobbying Comments Off Tags: E-Verify, immigration, Justice for Mercados Campaign, Mi Pueblo, San Jose The Justice for Mercados Campaign, a campaign led by California’s United Food and Commercial Workers, have called for a boycott […]