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Roofers union calls for repeal of health care reform law

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Worried about a potential loss of jobs for its members, a big roofing union is calling for repeal or “complete reform” of the federal health care reform law.

Starting in 2014 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, employers with at least 50 employees must offer qualified coverage or pay a penalty of $2,000 for each full-time employee.

That mandate will result in a competitive disadvantage for roofing companies offering coverage to their unionized workforces through multiemployer health care plans, says Kinsey Robinson, international president of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers in Washington.

That requirement creates “an unfair bidding advantage” for smaller contractors who will not have to provide coverage, with the potential for union members to lose work, Mr. Robinson said in a statement Tuesday.

As a result, Mr. Robinson said, “I am calling for repeal or complete reform of the Affordable Care Act.”

The position taken by the head of the 22,000-member roofers union contrasts sharply with the strong support of the health care reform law by other unions, such as the United Auto Workers.

Last year, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the law, but the Senate did not take up the repeal measure. The House action came after the Supreme Court upheld much of the law, including a core provision that will require, beginning in 2014, most Americans to enroll in a qualified plan or pay a fine.

This year, individual Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation to repeal parts of law. For example, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, introduced legislation to repeal the employer mandate, while a measure proposed by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, would repeal the law's individual mandate. No action has been taken on those and other repeal bills that have been introduced.