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Policy: Labor

Kroger workers' union OKs dumping spouses into Obamacare

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Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke,Labor unions,Obamacare,Labor,Health Care,Richard Trumka

Union officials representing employees of Kroger agreed let the company drop insurance coverage for spouses because of the imminent launch of the Obamacare exchanges.

Kroger officials point to Obamacare as the reason for their decision to drop the coverage.

"The Affordable Care Act creates a very good, viable source for health care that has never been available before," Kroger spokesman Keith Dailey told the Marion Star. "We wanted to find a shared solution with the union to address skyrocketing health care costs, and we wanted to ensure spouses had access."

The Star quoted local United Food and Commercial Workers union officials saying that the "safety net" of Obamacare was a key part of the latest contract negotiations.

"The Affordable Care Act is an issue for every employer that provides health care," UFCW spokeswoman Brigid Kelly said. "There are a lot of great benefits, but all those things come with a cost."

The UFCW is a member of the AFL-CIO, whose president, Richard Trumka, worries that Obamacare creates an incentive for companies to cut hours for their employees.

"The Affordable Care Act does need some modifications to it, because as it does right now, what's happening is, you have employers that the law says if you pay your, if your employees work 30 hours or more a week, you've got to give them healthcare," according to Trumka.

"So they're restructuring their workforce to give workers 29 and a half hours so they don't have to provide them healthcare."

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