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US labor unions say Obama betrayed them


Leaders of two major US labor unions, who endorsed President Barack Obama in 2008, say the president has betrayed them in healthcare rollout.

Donald Taylor, president of Unite Here, and Terry O’Sullivan, president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America, laid out their complained this week in a terse letter to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), saying they are “bitterly disappointed” in the Obama administration, The Washington Post reported Friday.

The two leaders accused the administration of breaking promises it made in 2009 in exchange for their support for the Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare.

The unions’ complaints reflect a broad sense of disappointment among labor leaders in the United States, the report said.

According to the report, the leaders say the healthcare reform law “has subjected union health plans to new taxes and mandates while not allowing them to share in the subsidies that have gone to private insurance companies competing on the newly created exchanges.”

“We want to hold the president to his word: If you like your healthcare coverage, you can keep it, and that just hasn’t been the case,” said Taylor, president of the union that represents about 400,000 hotel and restaurant workers.

But White House officials said that if the unions got their way, people enrolled in their plans would be indirectly getting two tax benefits while most Americans get only one.

In December, Labor Secretary Thomas Perez proposed some changes for plans that cover unionized and other workers.

But Taylor and O’Sullivan wrote, “If the administration honestly thinks that these proposed rules are responsive to our concerns, they were not listening or they simply did not care.”

Other labor leaders did not sign the letter to Pelosi and Reid but, the Post said, many of them also are dissatisfied with the treatment of their health plans under the legislation.

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