Labor Leader Admits ObamaCare Woes

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Michael Bonfigli / Michael Bonfigli

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka speaks at the St. Regis Hotel on August 29, 2013 in Washington, DC.

The head of the nation’s largest federation of unions admitted “we made some mistakes” in writing ObamaCare Thursday at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast in downtown DC. The head of the AFL-CIO, Richard Trumka, said he was surprised that employers have reduced workers’ hours below 30-a-week to avoid an employer penalty scheduled to go into effect in 2015.

“That is obviously something that no one intended. No one intended the act to result in people working fewer hours just so they [employers] don’t have to pay for healthcare,” said Trumka. “So that’s something that needs to be addressed. Is that an issue? Yeah that’s an issue.”

Local governments, movie theater chains, and fast-food restaurants have announced cut backs in hours due to ObamaCare. Last week, Reuters reported that an effort to reduce hours “might have helped push the average work week down to a six-month low in July.” Yet some, like the Washington Post‘s Sarah Kliff, have noted that the vast majority of large employers haven’t dodged the requirement.

When asked if he would accept a change in ObamaCare’s definition of full-time work, as some legislators have suggested, Trumka responded, “Of course we would,” but didn’t elaborate on what the change would be.

The selling of ObamaCare to the American public has become an obsession in the White House. Yet the implementation has had its share of bumps, including the announcement in July that the employer mandate requirement would be delayed until 2015. Trumka at the time called the move “troubling.”  Another “mistake” was dropping the public option, Trumka said at the breakfast.

But overall Trumka is pleased with the health care law, calling it a “major step in the right direction” that “still needs to be tweaked.”

39 comments
publius327
publius327

This phenomenon of regulatory "unintended consequences" is decades and DECADES old.

The way one doesn't see this coming is to decide to pretend that the world began yesterday.

publius327
publius327

The Left: Helping Americans earn less, one law at a time.

sherlocktoo
sherlocktoo

Vote buying at the taxpayers expense!  That is what obamacare was for, period.  Many illegals were already covered in blue states under medicaid (welfare), and medicaid increases in the budget could not be justified by any average thinking american.  Therefore, democrats had a brainstorm to throw everyone into the same coverage, and they would only talk about how much better it was going to be for those on medicare (you know, those who had worked for a living).  Never a word about how much more would be spent to cover all with the same minimal coverage, and all those savings were robbed from medicare, but don't expect the msm to inform americans with the truth.  Replays and reprints of the famous quote about keeping your own doctor, is just now starting to be exposed by the media.  And everyone laughing at Sarah's quote about death panels, are just now starting to become a reality.  Now we must endure 3.5 more years of this idiocy from a "gotta get the votes from the fools" administration.  If congress is smart after the midterms, they will begin a repeal effort like has never been before, and it might just save this president's legacy and the democrat party.  Strange as it seems, this is exactly what needs to be done.

blam7
blam7

It's great to see that unions doubled down on the "We Brought You the 40 Work Week" Shtick by lowering it to a 30 Hour Work Week.

JasonEdwardPrather
JasonEdwardPrather

Who gives you the right to complain Trumka?! you wanted Obamascare! You got it! Hopefully the IRS will beat down your door and demand you get it so i can have a good laugh at your expense!

SusanCharlene
SusanCharlene

I am not anti union though I have no clue why federal employers need a union,  Having said this, the democrats obsession with equal outcome regardless of input, is becoming a major problem for those who are busting their tail to better their own lot in life.  

The push to control every aspect of health insurance from the who, what, when, where, why and how perspective is a total fail.  Piece it out starting with those who have preexisting conditions and are priced out of the market.


When 85% of American's already have health insurance that they are satisfied with, I see no need to take over the entire industry and screw the majority in this country.


The ideals of democrats and republicans are the same.  We all want the same end goal.  How we get there is the debate which we no longer get to have because democrats have successfully labeled anyone who isnt a democrat a racist, greedy, homophobe who wants to support big business over everything else.  Frankly, it is the democrats who support big business at the detriment of small start ups.  


kanemakua
kanemakua

Coming from a State where employer provided health has been mandatory since the 70's, I don't understand the doomsday scenarios that businesses will be bankrupt and businesses will choose to shut their doors rather than provide healthcare to their workers.  Certainly, even with the flaws and abuses in the system having coverage for all full-time workers of the State has been a good thing.  It's still important to manage the health care plan and reduce cost, waste and fraud.

kanemakua
kanemakua

Here in Hawaii we've had mandated employer provided health care since the 70's.  Full time employment is 20 hours or more per week.  Maybe a change from 30 hours to 20 will prevent employers from reducing hours since it may be more problems to have your workers only working half-time to avoid health care costs.

joseph23006
joseph23006

Let me get this straight.  The bill had to be passed so congress would know what was in it.  Labor leaders, AARP, and our representatives in the House and Senate told us this was a good idea when we already saw that it was a disaster.  Now everyone wants to bale out, Congress wants to exempt itself from the rules they imposed, Unions are upset that to comply companies must reduce hours to pay for healthcare, Liberals are outraged that Conservatives want to scrap a bad idea that should never have become law!  The people (I was not one of them) elected an incompetent president who surrounded himself with incompetent advisors and brought ruin to a Great Nation by design.  

If any Democrat (or for that fact, Republican) in Congress votes to exempt that office from the progam, he or she should be voted out of office.  'Do as I say and not as I do!' can not be an option.  Pox on each of them and a plague on both houses!    

july4
july4

Something no one intended? What did Trumka think was going to happen with a 50-employee cut-off? Did he think it was going to be any different than any other response to such legislative cut-offs? I don't believe this man is that stupid. I think he knows, just like everyone else has. He just doesn't care. He's not about labor; he's about government doing everything for everybody. I don't think he's thought that quite through, though.

NicholasWind
NicholasWind

This would be funny if it was not going to be potentially catastrophic for you Americans.

 Richard Trumka's folks fought for this in town hall meetings because you folks thought it was great socialism ehhh..

Why did you folks not ask us here in Canada where we have one of the worst socialist health care systems on the planet for the amount of money we put into this bloody black hole called Canadian health care system.

Looks good on you union idiots in my opinion but I'm sorry for my American friends who are just starting to see the tip of the ice berg of your lovely new coming socialist health care system.

Ask yourselves why the people who wrote the health care laws now want and are getting excemption from it.

dominigan
dominigan

Yes, liberals are the masters of unintended consequences.  Hold on while I try to act surprised....

DougW.Koehler
DougW.Koehler

Obama has displayed an "impressive aptitude for imperial rule...the president has exercised his executive "discretion" to create new law, abrogate existing law, and generally contrive ways to exploit legal ambiguities to a means to his ends. He has also declared the Senate in recess when it was not, thereby bypassing the Senate's constitutional "advice and consent" role to install several partisans in top federal posts. 


Today this is glorified and glamorized as compassionate progressiveism. The Framers called it despotism." Mark Levin.

An ELECTIVE DESPOTISM was not the government we fought for, but one which should not only be founded on free principles, but in which the powers of the government should be so divided and balanced among several bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits, without being effectually checked and restrained by others." James Madison

In my opinion this president has made a mockery of the Founder's plan and has placed himself as sole ruler while under the guise of the Constitutional Presidency to which he swore allegiance. - Doug W. Koehler

ThomasMacso
ThomasMacso

"WE", the cat's out of the bag, the unions WROTE the Obamacare bill! Who knew?

SukieTawdry
SukieTawdry

"That is obviously something that no one intended."

Yes, well, that's what they always say, isn't it. It's their "get out of jail free" card as though it's just not humanly possible to anticipate the disastrous effects of bad legislation.  In the progressive playbook,  "unintended" means "you can't blame us--who in a million years could have seen this coming" when most of the time anyone with a warm pulse could have seen it coming. And whenever we point out that we, in fact, predicted this exact outcome, we're dismissed with a wave of a hand and accusals of racism, homophobia, nativism, sexism, whatever fits the circumstances.




pardonme
pardonme

We wondered about this for some time but now we know, there is another branch of government. The executive, the judicial, the legislative and the union. Yes they write, pass, enforce and adjudicate but now they are joined by the thug factor.

TheSchaef
TheSchaef

Oh, look, the unions are writing health care legislation for the rest of us, and they encountered unintended consequences.

Two monumental surprises, there.

LanceSjogren
LanceSjogren

The advocates of Obamacare arrogantly ridiculed critics for claiming that there would be adverse conequences such as this one.

1952rmdg
1952rmdg

Frankly, with friends like Trumka, American workes dont' need any enemies.  Trumka colluded with the Chamber of Commerce and the Senate's Gang of 8, to pass this "comprehensive immigration" bill that is going to devastate the economic situation for millions of US workers, particularly those at the lower skill levels.

Add the incentives for businesses to reduce their worker's hours or to eliminate their positions all together + the impacts that giving 12 million illegal immigrants amnesty and raising the quotas for low skilled legal immigration + the looming revolution in robotics and automation that will dramatically reduce or eliminate thousands of low skilled and moderately skilled jobs and you'll have the "perfect storm" for a massive increase in unemployment in the coming decades. 

TraditionalAmerican
TraditionalAmerican

Why didn't Demoncrat legislators write the law in the first place? Too lazy or were they under orders by their union bosses?

Unions have no right to write laws for the country in the first place. The entire process of writing Obamacare was illegal.

us89na
us89na

Remember - Trumka is the cold-hearted goon who said:

"People who play with fire are going to get burned" when he was in the leadership of the United Mine Workers and a UMW thug shot a miner who crossed the picket line in the head when the victim was walking back to his car after work.

manapp99
manapp99

Trumka says he made mistakes writing the law? Shows the power the unions have with Democrats. Follow the campaign contributions. No wonder Nancy said she would have to read it to know what was in it. It was written by unions. Ironically the union boss has screwed the workers of the country. 

tpaine
tpaine

Now, in their brilliance, the labor leaders want "full time" to mean 30 hours of work which will drop the average work week for the normal American down even further.  GREAT IDEA.

At least, they admitted to writing it.  We know Congressional Democrats aren't smart enough.

blhart216
blhart216

Please! Business with hourly employees in non production (manufacturing)  type jobs have been preaching to management to cut hours for the longest but the truth is there is not enough people who are willing to work less than 30 hours a week so they end up understaffed and end up paying out over time to the people who stay!  They can give all the lip service they want, but in the end attempting to only let employees work 30 hour weeks is futile.

DanielJones2
DanielJones2

Is it really a surprise that a place like Papa Johns and UPS are ran by greedy a Holes?

BobJan
BobJan

As citizens and taxpayers we should require that all public workers give up their health care because we can no longer afford to pay for theirs while we can't afford "our own". It's an infringement on our rights to require background checks for weapons, but we "must" pay for another's health care while we forgo our own. What a country, gotta love it. 

WilliamWagg
WilliamWagg

How is he surprised, everything I read after the bill was passed said employers were going to cut hours!

sherlocktoo
sherlocktoo

@july4 Add to that, his pockets are now filled with union membership money, and you see the true scenario. 

MissButterfly
MissButterfly

@TraditionalAmerican Obamacare was fraudulently passed.  It took 'finding' just enough Democrat votes to make Al Franken the Senator from Minnesota, bribing with the 'Louisiana Purchase' to get Mary Landrieu to vote for it, the 'Cornhusker Kickback' to get what's-his-name from Nebraska to go along, and smearing Senator Stevens from Alaska, so he' lose his seat to the Democrat - it was later proven that the charges against him were false, but it was too late.

At this point, I'm just sitting back watching the Democrats destroy this country.  The country deserves it - they voted for Obama twice.

sherlocktoo
sherlocktoo

@tpaine Gee, and a 29 hour work week will be considered full time.  Add to that minimum wage, a welfare card for food, and you'll have just enough to give the irs all you work for.  The land of opportunity is no more.  Oh, but with the 29 hour work week, unemployment should fall down to 6.9%, which dems will declare full employment for america!

tpaine
tpaine

@blhart216 obviously, you're not an employer.  In Obama's economy, it's not hard at all and amazing the quality level you sometimes find.  Those you employ full time.  The "slackers" who don't show up on time and think someone owes them something wind up on the street selling newspapers.

cstopp
cstopp

@DanielJones2 

Maybe you would rather they be stupid running their business so they eventually go out of business? And then there are no jobs... Is that what you want? Businesses MUST do everything possible to remain profitable, if they don't they will become dinosaurs and perish. Unlike governments which have unlimited funds to be as inefficient as they like with no recourse whatsoever. See Detroit, Stockton, Illinois, and many, many other......

reallife
reallife

@DanielJones2 is it really a surprise that this monstrosity of a bill was written by morons?

has anybody read it yet? has nancy pelosi read it?