AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said in an interview this morning that union groups view the health care bill as "a good first step."
He did not directly address a question about reports of changes to the excise tax
that unions were uncomfortable with early in the negotiations, but lauded the final product and said it can be improved upon.
He said the union talks with people writing the final bill have yielded positive changes, even if it's not everything they initially wanted. "I'm happy about what we've been able to do to change the funding," Trumka told TPMDC in a brief interview in the White House Rose Garden after President Obama signed the jobs bill.
Trumka said the discussions among Obama, Democratic leadership and the unions yielded compromises meant to "break the hold of the people who said 'No.'"
We also asked about the impromptu White House meeting Trumka had yesterday when reports first came out that the unions might not like the changes to the final health care legislation about to become public with the Congressional Budget Office score.
"It wasn't a negotiation, it was a talk among friends," he said.
SEIU's Andy Stern also attended the ceremony.