Patterico's Pontifications


Big Labor might oppose ReidCare?

Filed under: General — Karl @ 3:43 pm

[Posted by Karl]

The SEIU skipped out on a pro-ReidCare event today, but there is likely both less and more than meets the eye at the HuffPo:

Two of the country’s largest labor groups, the SEIU and the AFL-CIO, are each holding emergency executive meetings today to discuss whether they should support the latest round of health care compromises made by Senate Democrats.

Though there’s no official word yet, early indications based on talks with various officials are that the groups will either formally oppose the legislation or, less dramatically, just not fight very hard to ensure its passage.

There is a big difference between not fighting hard and formally opposing a bill. Moreover, opposing Reid’s bill is not opposing ObamaCare in general. It may be nothing more than trying to get the tax on “Cadillac” health plans pulled from the Senate bill, or in a House-Senate conference.

That’s the “less” than meets the eye. The “more than meets the eye” is the possibility of longer-term consequences. Big Labor may try to leverage their anger into backing for card check legislation. Or they may threaten to stay home next year:

Another labor official warned that while labor leaders will likely grudgingly support the legislation, some may be bitter enough to sit out the midterm elections, dealing a blow to Democrats.

I would take that threat with a truckload of road salt, but it does raise the possibility of the “demoralized Democrats” problem becoming larger and more real than the current carping among the netroots.


16 Responses to “Big Labor might oppose ReidCare?”

  1. I am not sure how “stay[ing] home next year” — at least in terms of literally not showing up to vote — would help the SEIU and Big Labor’s agenda, but I can certainly see why they won’t want to put another $100 million or whatever the 2008 figure was into the midterm election, especially in light of the current economy. It must suck for them to come to the realization that they are merely cash and muscle in the Democrat coalition, not the policy movers and shakers that they thought they were.

    Now let’s bring on trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, just to stick it to Big Labor even further.

    JVW (0fe413)

  2. Karl,

    Just wanted to say that your postings are consistently fantastic. How much influence does the union leadership continue to hold over the rank-and-file? I think many would not only resent being told to stay home, they would go out and actively support the other side. The union leaders might see a benefit to this legislation for themselves, while the members see themselves left out in the cold. People get tired of being expected to wait for scraps.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  3. I think there may be something else entirely going on here. If the bill is doomed, it would make Big Labor look impotent to back it strongly and then watch it fail.

    That would be a tremendous blow to their credibility, and I wonder if what they’re really doing now is trying to decide if they want to take that chance.

    Steven Den Beste (99cfa1)

  4. Karl – I have no problems with Big Labor and the Democrats fighting amongst themselves. I don’t see Card Check making it through the Senate. When the Democrat party is made up of so many special interest factions, they can’t make everybody happy and it’s fun to watch the beast pull itself apart trying.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  5. I think many would not only resent being told to stay home, they would go out and actively support the other side.

    Stashiu3, I would settle for a large chunk of the labor rank-and-file demanding to be refunded the portion of their dues that goes into political organizing. But of course that would be a wake up call to the fat-cat union bosses, so I don’t expect it to happen. A man can dream though.

    JVW (0fe413)

  6. If Andy Stern’s fat – arse union thugs can get roused enough to go attack a black man offering buttons to tea party protestors, then I wouldn’t be too sure about them staying home just because they don’t feel like going to the voting booths. They know who their daddy is – and their mommy, too.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  7. This is all about the unions being able to offload their crushing health care obligations to their membership. The bottom line, for which they will be willing to die, is to have the government indemnify them for health care costs that they have no intention, nor ability, to pay. If their pension and health care obligations are not largely taken from them, they will die anyway.

    Ed from SFV (1333b1)

  8. The whole idea of health care reform started with the problem of insurance companies dropping long-term private customers the moment they got sick. All that was really required was a mandatory right of renewal clause and some kind of high risk pool.

    But no. The Dems insisted on a pathway to single-payer and once the bill stalled the rent-seekers descended in droves (e.g. mandating chiropractic coverage). Now they have a Christmas tree that no one understands and no one likes.

    The name of the game now is “avoiding the blame.” Seems like AFL-CIO is first out the gate.

    Kevin Murphy (3c3db0)

  9. “This is all about the unions being able to offload their crushing health care obligations to their membership.”

    Ed – I thought the health care obligations were on the employer books, except for limited copays and stuff, not the union books. Am I wrong?

    daleyrocks (718861)

  10. if the pension and health care plans are union administered, they are on the union books. employers pay into them, but that’s a different thing entirely than them being a company sponsored program…

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  11. I think the key point is that they are miffed about the Senate bill, post-Lieberman. They lost the public option, so at the very least, they want the excise tax out and replaced entirely by soaking the rich, as per the House bill.

    Steven Den Beste raises an interesting possibility, but we may not know Big Labor’s real game unless the bill gets held over a recess. The Tea partiers want another round with the politicians, and if Labor didn’t step up, that would look ugly.

    Karl (cc4af5)

  12. and if the union goons attack the tea party protesters, *that* will get real ugly.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  13. If you can catch the rerun of Olbermann’s “Special Moment” tonight, DO NOT MISS IT.

    It is so precious, it left me with tears in my eyes — from laughing.

    The other news today is that the House Progressives have sent word that the planned Ping Pong of the Senate bill is now off the table. Whatever the Senate produces is going to have to go to conference, and be subject to the demands of the House Progressive caucus.

    That means that IF Reid can muster 60 votes to get the thing out of the Senate, he’ll have to turn around in another 4 weeks — if they want to get the bill signed before the SOTU speech — and do it again, but this time with a Conference Report that can’t be amended, and is liberal enough to satisfy the progressives.

    The only thing better than having the unions kills this now is if the Senate moderates kill it on the eve of the SOTU.


    WLS Shipwrecked (3d3fb8)

  14. Harry Reid is caught between a rock and a hard spot, Tea Party rocks and Congressional hardheads. Not even a duplicitous Democrat double talker like Oil Can Harry can serve two masters.

    He’s got no choice but to pull a fast one on either the angry TP voters or on Lefty true believers. One or the other is going to get short shrift, no matter what sweet words Oil Can Harry puts into his Senate swan song.

    So, if past performance is any indicator of future behavior, the smart money says it’s the voters who should keep a sharp lookout and watch their backs. Oil Can Harry always runs true to form, so when push comes to shove, he pushes the party line, and he shoves the voters under the bus.

    ropelight (800568)

  15. Lei ha assolutamente ragione. In questo nulla in vi e ‘una buona idea. Mi associo.

    vensdamep (447c85)

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