Disney workers in California have “passed the fast” straight to the gates of the House of Mouse. Jesse Russell reports:
By Doug Cunningham
A small group of Illinois workers who lost their jobs at Quad City Die Casting have finally won the pay and medical bills coverage they were owed by Wells Fargo Bank. The United Electrical workers fought back when Wells Fargo refused to lend their company the money it needed to stay in business. The company was forced to close. The giant bank that took billions of taxpayer dollars in the bailout also tried to take the workers’ vacation pay and medical benefits money. UE’s Leah Fried.
A new study shows that a proposed tax on workers’ health care benefits goes far beyond union workers’ plans. In fact, at least 80 percent of the workers hit by the tax would be nonunion.
The study by the University of California, Berkeley’s Center for Labor Research and Education looked at both the excise tax on so-called Cadillac plans in the Senate health care bill and the revised version reached Jan. 14 between the Obama administration and union leaders that lessens the tax’s impact on all working families.
Ken Jacobs, chair of the Labor Center and one of the study’s authors, says the tax’s impact is not just a union issue as was portrayed in much of the media coverage.
Union members are relatively a small fraction of the total population that would ultimately be affected by the tax, under either the Senate bill or the proposed amendment….The vast majority of employees affected by the excise tax are not covered by a union contact.
It’s uncertain what shape a final bill will take. Senate Republicans are blocking action on health care reform and the House-passed bill would use surtax on the very wealthy to fund the bill rather than taxing middle-class benefits.
In an AFL-CIO Now blog post last month, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said one of the clearest messages from the Massachusetts Senate election was “voters rejected attacks on the middle class like the proposed excise tax on health care benefits.”
Congress returns to work next week and we will keep you up to date on the latest developments in the health care reform fight.
Click here for the full excise tax report.