by Rob Roper
Joel Cook, the executive director for the Vermont National Education Association (VT-NEA) testified before the House Committee on Healthcare, laying out what his union expects from the legislature as it considers the details of a single payer healthcare system.
Cook was quick to point out that his union has invested heavily in the public relations efforts supporting single payer. “We helped create the Vermont Healthcare Security Campaign…. And, more recently, I think you know, we obtained funding to support an external advocacy effort around moving the state closer to accepting Green Mountain Care in good form.”
“Good form” is defined by Cook as a guarantee that his and other labor union members, of which he counts 100,000 households, be held harmless when it comes to actually paying for single payer. He stated, “In the absence of some transitional protections, [union members] stand to lose substantial amount of compensation” under a single payer system. Cook goes on with a telegraphing smirk befitting Tony Soprano, “And that doesn’t feel right in exchange for the level of support that unions in general and the Vermont NEA in particular have provided this effort so far.”
This begs one question for rank and file union members: Why is your leadership using your dues to advocate for a system in which, in the absence of protections, you stand to lose substantial compensation?
Of course, Cook insists that the VT-NEA’s investments in propping up Green Mountain Care and his requests for special protections under the new system do not represent a “quid pro quo.” But you can watch the VIDEO and judge for yourself.