Policy: Labor

Labor group leaves Obamacare navigator program after just one week

Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke,Labor unions,Obamacare,Labor,New York,Health Care,AFL-CIO,Richard Trumka,Obamacare Navigators

A union-allied organization in New York withdrew as an Obamacare navigator just seven days after the state exchange website came online.

"It is with deep regret that I inform you that the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York (ROC-NY) will no longer be participating in the New York State ACA Navigator Project," Daisy Chung, executive director of ROC-NY, wrote in an Oct. 8 letter to the Community Service Society of New York.

The CSS has partnered with the state in working to enroll people in the Obamacare exchange.

ROC-NY is a chapter of ROC-United, an organization allied with Big Labor groups that works to help restaurant workers push for pay increases.

"Worker organizations may take new forms to meet new needs," as the AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka put it in a June 2013 speech.

"The Restaurant Opportunity Center has built a dynamic and expanding advocacy organization in an industry where 40 percent of the workers earn the minimum wage or less," he said, before describing the organization's leader as "a real pioneer."

House Republicans began investigating pro-union Obamacare navigators earlier this month.

"Right now navigators with strong ties to labor unions are collecting sensitive information with questionable safeguards," House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline, R-Minn., and Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., said Nov. 1 in a jointly-issued statement.

"Congress has a responsibility to ensure individuals’ privacy is protected and contact with an Obamacare navigator doesn’t lead to a phone call from union organizers,” they said.

The Washington Examiner asked Chung why ROC-NY withdrew from the navigator program, but did not receive a response.

ROC Exposed, which opposes ROC-United on behalf of the restaurant industry, obtained Chung's letter under New York's Freedom of Information Law.

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