Twenty-seven U.S. labor unions defied White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and announced their opposition to the $829 billion health-care measure passed yesterday by the Senate Finance Committee.
The unions say in a full-page newspaper advertisement today that lawmakers need to make "substantial" changes to the bill or they will urge their members to seek its defeat on the Senate floor. Emanuel asked organized labor not to go public in opposition, said Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
"He told us that we really don't want to be looked upon as the group that stopped meaningful health-care reform," McEntee said in an interview yesterday. "We would love to be on the exact same page as the White House, but we see ourselves as fighting for our members."