AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said he was "getting grief" from union members regarding his support for the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. The calls have not changed his opposition to repeal, he added, saying the program merely needs to be "tweaked."
Trumka made the comments in response to a question from Politico reporter Mike Allen during a breakfast event hosted by the news website. Allen wanted to know if Trumka, who has been an enthusiastic backer of the law since it passed, was getting angry responses from rank-and-file members. President Obama's new law has been causing serious problems for union-run multiemployer health insurance plans, known as Taft-Hartley plans.
"Am I getting grief about that? Sure, I am getting grief about that. Do I want to see Obamacare scrapped? Absolutely not, because it is a good start," Trumka said.
Asked what the disgruntled members were telling him, Trumka replied, "The typical: 'What are you doing, you idiot, you dummy?' You know, the typical stuff."
The structure of Obamacare has caused many unions to fear that employers will pull out of Taft-Hartley plans or limit the coverage of members. At its quadrennial convention in September, the AFL-CIO adopted a resolution calling on Congress to amend the law. Some union leaders have talked openly of repeal.
Trumka and other Big Labor leaders have held private talks with the White House to amend the law as it applies to unions, and recently received an exemption from Obamacare's reinsurance fee, which caused the fee to be raised for others.