We hoped it wasn’t true. We hoped that when Richard Trumka committed to back a public option and threatened to withhold support from Democrats who wouldn’t vote for one that it wasn’t just pre-convention rhetoric.
But then the big guns came out — Baucus decided that rather than taxing the rich, he would tax the health care plans that seriously affected AFL-CIO workers who had given up wage hikes in exchange for comprehensive health care coverage over years in contract negotiations. When Gerry McEntee rightly called the Baucus bill "bullshit" from the floor of the convention, Nancy Pelosi was then dispatched to say they were considering the same thing in the House.
I defy anyone to find me one single example of the White House twisting one arm for a public option. Just one. But when Rahm and Trumka meet today, it will be after a month of very serious threats to the AFL-CIO carried out at the highest levels. It’s the kind of "arm twisting" that only the executive branch is capable of, and it has been done to crush support for a public option, not opposition.
I wrote recently about the fact that people within the AFL-CIO were getting tremendous pressure from the White House to push Trumka into backing down. And sources familiar with the situation say that since the other unions outside the AFL have already caved and are kicking Rahm’s trigger football, Trumka feels he has little support for his position and no choice but to relent.
Contact the AFL-CIO and let them know that you support Richard Trumka and his commitment to the public option. Let him know that staying true to that commitment is extremely important to those of us who strongly support labor.