Organized Labor’s Incredible Shrinking Social Vision

Marie Gottschalk

in Healthy, Wealthy, and Fair

Published in print April 2005 | ISBN: 9780195170665
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850204 | DOI:
Organized Labor’s Incredible Shrinking Social Vision

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This chapter examines the role of organized labor in addressing health care and other inequities. It focuses on two institutions of the private welfare state: the Taft-Hartley funds and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which were key in molding labor's stance on health care. The chapter explains why organized labor adopted and then held fast to the idea of an employer-mandate solution and describes some of the wider political consequences of that choice. It also examines how the institutions of the private welfare state and labor's commitment to the employer-mandate idea shaped the last major attempt to address health-care inequities in the United States, the 1993–4 battle over President Clinton's Health Security Act. Finally, the chapter assesses labor's potential in the future to address health-care inequalities.

Keywords: organized labour; private welfare state; Taft-Hartley funds; ERISA; employer mandate; Health Security Act

Chapter.  16681 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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