Unions Call for ‘Fair Share Health Care’ Laws
By George Anderson
The AFL-CIO says the healthcare system in the U.S. is broken and it’s up to legislators to make sure that large companies such as Wal-Mart do their part to fix it.
The union’s president, John Sweeney, says every year taxpayers pick up a $21 billion tab for healthcare costs because companies such as Wal-Mart are not providing their workers with affordable coverage.
Mr. Sweeney’s union launched a campaign yesterday to get states to enact so-called “fair share health care” laws modeled after a bill introduced in Maryland that was vetoed by the state’s governor.
The Maryland law has also been called the “Wal-Mart bill” because the company is the only one in the state that would be affected by its passage. The bill would require businesses with more than 10,000 employees to spend at least eight percent of their payroll on healthcare.
Sarah Clark, a spokesperson for Wal-Mart, said, “These bills will do nothing to address the enormous number of uninsured or control the soaring cost of healthcare in America. (Union leaders) should focus on solving our nation’s healthcare challenges, not attacking a company that’s providing working families with access to affordable health insurance.”
Bruce Josten, executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, also believes the unions are focused on the wrong target.
“Why are we going to put this yoke on corporate America’s neck?” he said. “This is a problem for everybody in the country.”
Moderator’s Comment: If access to affordable healthcare “is a problem for everybody in the country,” then what is the answer? Is there ground for unions
representing retail workers and employers (unionized and not) to agree on this issue? –
George Anderson – Moderator
- Unions seek to spread cost of health care – Chicago
Tribune (free reg. required)
- Unions take health-coverage battle to
31 state legislatures – The Associated Press/St. Louis Post-Dispatch