Hollywood unions strangely absent from health care debate

by Paul William Tenny

I've been meaning to mention this for a couple of days because I figure that at least some people who read this site will have an interest in the outcome. One of the ways that our government has decided to pay for health care reform is to tax the more comprehensive and expensive health insurance plans. (As a side note, President Obama campaigned against this and repeatedly attacked his then-opponent, John McCain, for advocating such a tax. Now it's all the rage.) This, naturally, is (or was) going to hit labor unions pretty hard.

One of the biggest benefits of being in a union is (usually) having very good health insurance. The three major labor unions in Hollywood (I'm sure there are tons of varying size and power): Writers Guild of America  (WGA), Screen Actors Guild (SAG), and Directors Guild of America (DGA) would all be hit by this tax.

Unions like United Auto Workers (UAW) and the AFL-CIO made a huge push this past week to exempt unions from the so-called "Cadillac tax", or to get more favorable terms.

I'm pretty sure that the WGA, SAG, and DGA all support that effort -- and it seems to be happening -- but I haven't heard much from them in recent weeks about the issue and their names are all missing from this letter that was sent to Congress on behalf of 16 unions representing almost 10,000,000 people. The UAW's name is also conspicuously absent. You'd think that it'd be fairly easy to get every union in the country to sign on, but I guess not.

in Labor


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