The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Ripping up any promises for retiree health care

Jan 7, 2008

At the end of December, the Equal Opportunity Commission issued a new regulation, allowing all employers to reduce or eliminate health care benefits for retirees when they turn 65! The AFL-CIO applauded this ruling, agreeing that employers need to be relieved of the “enormous cost pressures on employer-sponsored health benefits.” And this in a time when profits made by the whole capitalist class are bigger than ever before!

What garbage. Bad enough that UAW leaders partnered with the Big 3 to gut retired autoworkers’ health care. The biggest union federation helped do the same thing to the whole working class – in the name of helping the bosses!

In any earlier period of capitalism, workers were thrown out on the trash heap when they could no longer keep up with the pace of work. No pension, no retirement benefits.

Is this what the situation is coming to? It certainly looks like it. Social benefits, won over the years by the workers’ struggles, are being dismantled right and left. And top union officials are helping do the dirty work.

No organization that really represented the interests of the workers would help turn the clock back like this.

In responding to these attacks, the workers can find the way to fight much like those in the 1930s did – and in so doing rebuild their unions or build new ones.