WASHINGTON — The head of the national hotel workers union that says it is “bitterly disappointed” with the Affordable Care Act met on Tuesday with the Senate Republican leader who is a leading foe of the law.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., confirmed he met with Donald “D” Taylor, the Las Vegas-based general president of UNITE HERE, whose largest affiliate is Culinary Workers Union Local 226.
McConnell said Taylor requested the meeting. The two had not previously met, he added.
“It was a fairly brief meeting but it’s safe to say this is a good example of some of the president’s union constituents who were very enthusiastically for him who think Obamacare has been a disaster for them,” McConnell told reporters.
The Republican leader said Taylor did not touch on the union’s problems with the health care law during the meeting, which he characterized as one to “exchange pleasantries.”
It was not clear if Taylor had other meetings at the Capitol. A Las Vegas spokeswoman for the union said later in the day that Taylor was traveling and could not be reached.
The union leader was not on the schedule for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., a Reid spokeswoman said. Asked about the union leader’s complaints, Reid said, “I’ll talk with D.”
Taylor’s trip to the capital comes a week after he and Terry O’Sullivan of the Laborers’ International Union of America sent a letter to Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., saying their efforts to propose changes to health care regulations were being met with deaf ears in the Obama administration.
Union leaders argue the health care law has subjected union-negotiated plans to new taxes and costly mandates without corresponding benefits or subsidies available to companies that offer coverage to workers.
A suggestion that some of the problems were addressed in Labor Department regulations issued in December “is simply not true,” Taylor and O’Sullivan wrote.
“If the administration honestly thinks that these proposed rules are responsive to our concerns, they were not listening or they simply did not care,” the union leaders said.
“It would be a sad irony indeed if the signature legislative accomplishment for an administration committed to reducing income inequality cut living standards for middle income and low-wage workers,” they said.
“We want to hold the president to his word: If you like your health-care coverage, you can keep it, and that just hasn’t been the case,” Taylor told the Washington Post last week.
Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at 202-783-1760 or STetreault@stephensmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @STetreaultDC.