President Obama is easily the most pro-union President we've had in this country since Harry Truman--or maybe even Franklin Roosevelt. He appointed one of the most pro-worker Members of Congress as Secretary of Labor. His appointments to the NLRB are spot on. He has repeatedly endorsed the Employee Free Choice Act. President Obama has given the leaders of the labor movement more access than we've had since Lyndon Johnson. His actions kept our economy from going from a recession to a depression. And he has worked very hard to enact historic healthcare reform. But as trade unionists we have responsibility to work hard to make sure that the costs of healthcare reform are not borne by working families. We should tax the rich. They got a 2.5 trillion dollar tax cut under Bush. We should also tax the financial industry. They cost this country and the world trillions of dollars with their totally reckless, foolish, idiotic gambling with our wealth. Mike Langford, the President of our union, sent the following letter to President Obama yesterday.
Dear Mr. President:
I write you today as an ally and strong supporter. I led my union to be amongst the first to endorse you and we worked very hard in battleground states for your election.
It is impossible for me to adequately express how deep our union's opposition is to a healthcare tax on America's workers. We believe such a tax is counter to the principles of healthcare reform that you campaigned on and promised to the American people and to the American labor movement.
Lawrence Summers has admitted that the healthcare tax is designed in provide an incentive for employers and unions to cut back healthcare or shift more costs to working families. That is wrong and a betrayal of the trust we put in you and your administration. As Robert Reich put it this week, "...a major purpose of healthcare reform was to get more care to more people, not to cut it back." We regard this proposed tax as aimed directly at union members, one of your most important and loyal constituencies. We should be encouraging more healthcare coverage which is one important reason some of our plans are expensive--our plans cover whole families including working spouses.
Furthermore, a healthcare tax will be a political disaster for Democrats. With bankers now mulling out loud the size of their bonuses while we have well better than ten percent unemployment and declining wages, it is unconscionable that Democrats would impose more burdens on working families.
The Utility Workers Union of America respectfully urges you to reject any healthcare tax on working families.
Thank you for your consideration.
Mike Langford, President
Utility Workers Union of America