Local 1014 has long since been a trendsetter and leading political action and legislative organization focused on negotiating to establish, increase, and protect Los Angeles County Fire Fighters, Local 1014 member wages, benefits and working conditions. One of the most incredible benefits our membership can take advantage of is our "Cadillac Health Plan".
Our Health Plan is one of the finest Health plans in the nation and it was started and crafted long ago by Local 1014 Leadership with a vision of what it could truly become for our members. A Plan where you have control over treatment decisions and the highest levels of care available to you and the ability for our membership through the Trust Board, to set and control and manage and increase benefits that affect our members and are specific to our families and our occupation as professional firefighters.
Today, Local 1014 Executive Board and Trust Members work hard with our fantastic staff at the Union to continue to build and protect and elevate our Health Plan, and yes it has become and will remain a "Cadillac Plan". The President's plan to Tax our type of health plans to generate revenue to offset costs of providing national health insurance cannot be tolerated.
We have been calling our legislators and helping in a national effort to cut out the excise tax and the IAFF and our partners were successful in getting the House version of the Bill to remove the excise tax which would tax blue collar workers like us on the value of the benefit of our health insurance. However, the Senate version of the bill continues to drive the excise tax and now the President has committed to driving the excise tax and we cannot support any version of this failed bill.
We will continue to try and do what we need to do to protect our interests if this bill goes through, but we wanted to share the recent developments in the IAFF opposition to the excise tax and the bill in general with respect to the Senate version of the bill and the President's support for that tax.
Below are the remarks from General President Schaitberger and I encourage all members to read them, and link to the stories to get additional information.
The General President is on point and on the mark in his strong and focused drive to oppose this tax and let the President and the Senate and any House members who go on to support such a tax in a bill. Please take time to read and link to the stories attached and we will keep you posted with additional news. Our Health Plan deserves to be protected and kept in tact long after we are gone, and our lobbying efforts in DC will be critical to the effort.
On behalf of the Executive Board and Trust of Local 1014,
Yesterday, the IAFF both internally and externally laid down the gauntlet in opposing any health care reform package that contains an excise tax. Our position has been widely covered in both the political and general media from The New York Times and The Washington Post, to ABC News, Politico and Associated Press.
One political blog refereed to our position as labor's "strongest condemnation yet" of Obama's support for an excise tax.
We all know that for every action there is a reaction. Simply put, the White House is fuming. We received a call last night once the press release hit the airways. It serves no useful purpose for me to re- hash that exchange. Suffice it to say, they have their view and we have ours.
But, here's the bottom line. This is about putting the membership first. The excise tax is an attack on our membership that we cannot agree to or passively accept. It might be rammed down our throats, but we will go down fighting.
Do I want a harmonious relationship with the White House? Of course I do, but not if it means shortchanging our members who are paying the freight.
Simply put, the President's reversal in supporting the excise tax is a broken promise. I cannot, nor will I, sugar coat the facts. You all have known me for a long time. This is about following our principle of putting the membership first. I was not bashful in criticizing a Republican President when he acted against our interests nor will I be with this President.
I'm writing this so that all of you are aware of what is transpiring. I consider President Obama a friend. He has been a stalwart supporter on most issues. But, the prospect of taxing health insurance premiums could have a devastating effect on the health plans of many of our members. We cannot just watch and bite our tongue. It's too important of an issue to our members to ignore.
We will fight the proposal with everything that we have, even if it puts us at loggerheads with the president. I don't know what the rest of labor will ultimately do. But, I know that this IAFF will not take a back seat, we will not keep quiet and we won't back down. We all must stand united to meet this challenge.
Harold A. Schaitberger