On Wednesday, delegates to the AFL-CIO's convention in Los Angeles passed Resolution 54, which criticized the Affordable Care Act -- also known as Obamacare -- and demanded major changes to the law. Unions fear the law will undermine the multi-employer pension plans they provide to their members.
Joseph Nigro, president of the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, was among those who backed the resolution. In his remarks on the floor, he said this was a "make or break" issue for the future of the entire AFL-CIO:
For 65 years, we fought for health care. It wasn't given to any of us. We went on strike for it. We took it out of our wages. Nobody paid for it. It came out of our pockets.
You allow an ACA bill to go through like this (and) I guarantee you, by your next convention four years from now, you won't need a quarter of this room. We won't be here. So I ask you, are we going to stand up and fight for every working man and woman in this country? And protect health care? And give them good health care? Not some passive thing that a politician put on his resume as he retires with our money, our insurance -- it's all about them.
This is the one opportunity at a convention that we, as labor leaders, can represent our people the way we are supposed to. I ask you to stand up and ask for action on this and let the government know, whoever is in office, we are not going to take it anymore. We are going to fight for our workers. Every one of our members is important to us. We want resolution.