As many of my union brothers and sisters are aware, AFSCME announced on Thursday for their support for Obama’s public health care option (Illinois’ largest employee union supports ‘public option,’ Bloomington, IL, Bloomington Pantagraph, November 4, 2009). Many of you also know my dislike of this bill and how much it will cost us in tax increases if it passes.
Below are my letters to Council 31 and their response to my first letter. I am close to teetering to the side of “fair share.” I cannot in good faith support an organization who do not represent their members properly, who instead prefer to bed with the federal government more than side with their own members, people I have worked with in my 13 years in this profession.
This health care option offered by the federal government is a debacle and will destruct the health care system we currently use today. When the House president, Nancy Pelosi, says Americans have only 72 hours to read a 2,000-page bill, you know that the bill is full of sinister plots. No average American can read that many pages in three days and comprehend its contents.
My biggest question is how can our union dutifully protect our private health insurance plans after grandstanding this public option as an excellent idea? Remember that the next time our representatives go to the negotiating table. Why should the state pick up the tab on our medical premiums when our very union supports the federal plan? All the governor has to say is they are “OUT” when it comes to the insurance industry, telling our union to look at the federal public plan for support. How can the union refuse since they highly supports Obama’s health care option?
After reading the correspondence between myself and Council 31, I will leave for you to decide if it is in the best interest for yourself and for your family to continue your support for AFSCME. It is hard for me to side with a union body who supports more government control and less individual freedom. Our Founding Fathers fought hard to give us those freedoms, and we must continue the fight against government oppression, and against any union who supports this type of oppression.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “Well what if he neglect the care of his health or his estate, which would more nearly relate to the state. Will the magistrate make a law that he not be poor or sick? Laws provide against injury from others; but not from ourselves.”
Should we let our government go against our forefathers? I think not. Defending their beliefs of individual freedom is the least we can do for giving us through sweat and blood the greatest nation in the world. Defending our country from an economic collapse is our duty to our children. This public health care plan will destroy our liberties and our economy.
If you wish to write to Council 31 with your grievance, go to this link:
From: Robert Day [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, November 05, 2009 5:35 AM
To: Lincoln Cohen
Subject: feedback from AFSCME 31
I am writing in regards to today’s Bloomington, Illinois article titled, “Illinois’ largest employee union supporting health care ‘public option.'” I have some very serious questions regarding the union’s position to this.
First question, if this public plan passes, will AFSCME recommend that my current health care plan (HMO) be replaced with the public option?
Second, why did AFSCME take this position without getting a vote from its members? I was never asked and just curious as to why the union is now ignoring how we feel about the government plan?
Thank you for your time.
The public option isn’t for people who already have coverage, so the answer to your first question is — of course not.
AFSCME took the position in favor of a public option several years ago. It was a democratic decision, made at union conventions, where delegates elected by the members voted on policy resolutions.
The public option has been much discussed and explained in a number of AFSCME publications, including Council 31’s On the Move.
Thanks for taking the time to write,
for Council 31
MY RESPONSE TO COUNCIL 31:
Thank you for the response. Since these matters were voted on during the past convention(s), and since my local never brought this issue up with its members, I believe that the local and AFSCME are not properly representing its members. It angers me after paying 13 years into the union, not making one infraction within my workplace, to discover that my representatives are going to these elaborate conventions at our expense without proper representation.
If your organization firmly believes the public health plan is a good choice, why would your organization contradict this by saying we can keep ours? Which plan is better, the government plan or our HMO’s? Since AFSCME supports this plan, why would any public official even listen to our demands for private health care during contract negotiations? This is hypocritical to say the least. I believe AFSCME has bitten off more than they can chew in this matter.
And since AFSCME wants to ram this public health care option down my throat, I have no choice but to hold true to my convictions and go fair share immediately. I will also encourage my co-workers to do the same. Maybe then the organization will determine that neutrality is better than supporting such a tax-induced plan.
Thank you for your time.
Note: I have not receive a response to my latest letter to Council 31. When I do, I will post it on this blog. However, don’t get your hopes up too high. It is very doubtful they will respond.