Last Tuesday, January 12, the House of Representatives returned to convene the second half of the 111 th Session of Congress; the Senate returned to session yesterday, January 19th.
With health care legislation at the forefront President Loeb sent a letter on January 14th to every member of the House and Senate on behalf of the IATSE membership which in part stated the following:
“… the health care bill passed by the Senate contains provisions that will tax the so-called “Cadillac” health care plans. Unions have negotiated for these benefits as part of the economic package for many years. Now, after acting responsibly by providing meaningful health coverage, we are to be punished by having our benefits taxed.
“We have worked hard and supported candidates for political office who have the ability to prevent this travesty. That the unions, the true champions of workers and the prime vehicle to move America’s health care agenda, could end up worse off than we were before is unacceptable.”
Update: The AFL-CIO has advised its affiliates that high level meetings were held last week at the White House with President Obama, Congressional members and staff to discuss the pending health care legislation.
At the center of the discussions was Labor’s opposition to an unfair excise tax on health care benefits. Although it appears such a tax will not be completely eliminated from the bill there were changes agreed to that will substantially limit its impact on most middle class families, including our members. Under the agreement negotiated with the White House union benefit plans will not be subject to the tax until 2018 at the earliest. The deal includes a number of other provisions aimed at the protection of union health benefit funds.