The 300,000-member union that was the first to endorse then-Senator Barack Obama has released a devastating Obamacare report that says Obama’s controversial healthcare program will slash worker wages by up to $5 an hour, reduce worker hours, and exacerbate income inequality.
The report by Unite Here–a North American labor union that represents workers in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, and airport industries–is titled: “The Irony of ObamaCare: Making Inequality Worse.”
“Ironically, the Administration’s own signature healthcare victory poses one of the most immediate challenges to redressing inequality,” states the 12-page report. “We take seriously the promise that ‘if you like your health plan, you can keep it. Period.’ UNITE HERE members like their health plans.”
The report features first-person testimonials and photos of union members describing how Obamacare is personally hurting them and their families–the same kinds of stories that Majority Senator Harry Reid said are “all untrue” and that progressive New York Times columnist Paul Krugman mocked as”nonexistent” in his piece “Health Care Horror Hooey.”
Arturo Marquez, a single father with two children who works as a cook, explains how Obamacare is hurting him:
“I’m a single dad and need every penny for my kids. The best deal Obamacare could offer me would take $1,908 more than our union plan. That’s like a dollar an hour pay cut. If I get really sick and wind up in the hospital, they can charge me $3,700 more out of pocket. I can’t imagine taking care of my son and daughter while taking a $2.70 an hour pay cut,” says Marquez.
Another union member, housekeeper Angela Portillo explained how Obamacare is hurting she and her husband:
“Housekeeping is a tough job–many of us suffer serious injuries doing this work. And Obamacare would cause my husband and I even more pain. The Obamacare website says we would have to pay $8,057.04 a year more to keep the great insurance we have now. That’s a $3.87 per hour pay cut. We work hard for our insurance. Why should we have to take a cut in pay for it?” says Portillo.
Food service worker Earl Baskerville feels the same way, according to the report:
“The health care crisis hit our workplace hard. We tried three different plans in a three year contract. When the for-profit insurance companies were going through the roof, we switched our union’s plan to keep good benefits. But Obamacare will give government money to those plans and not ours. Obamacare would cost me $4,855.20 a year more, or a $2.33 an hour pay cut. That’s not right. We just want to be treated like everyone else,” says Baskerville.
Last week, Unite Here Donald Taylor discussed the possibility of a union worker strike over Obamacare and said, “Even though the president and Congress promised we could keep our health plan, the reality is, unless the law is fixed, that won’t be true.”
The Unite Here report further exacerbates Democrats’ already daunting electoral hurdles heading into the midterm elections, now less than eight months away.
Union members are not alone in opposing Obamacare. According to the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls, just 38% of Americans now support Obamacare.