What’s Carl Icahn’s latest fight? Another spat with Bill Ackman over Herbalife Ltd. (NYSE:HLF)? Raiding the corporate boardroom at PayPal?
Icahn’s latest fight with Ohio’s scrap metal company
No, Carl Icahn’s latest fight is with 60 workers at a relatively small scrap metal company he owns in Canton, Ohio. His goal: to take away company healthcare and force them into subsidized government health benefits through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly called “Obamacare.”
Icahn is forcing the employees into the ACA against provisions and could be subject to a $2,000 fine per worker. Under the ACA, employers that fail to provide health insurance are subject to a fine of $2,000 per worker starting in 2015. Icahn apparently would rather pay the fines than provide healthcare coverage to his employees.
“The ACA was never intended to be used by employers as an excuse to deprive workers of insurance,” said United Steel Workers District 1 Director David McCall, who represents the workers. “Yet Carl Icahn would rather pay the fine than negotiate a contract in Canton that includes fair pay and benefits.”
Icahn’s plan to force PSC Metals employees into looking for subsidized benefits
McCall said Icahn’s plan to force PSC Metals employees into looking for subsidized benefits on the healthcare exchange an unnecessary burden on taxpayers and said that the union filed unlawful bargaining charges with Region 8 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over a “take it or leave it” contract that took away, among other things, basic healthcare coverage.
McCall wants to negotiate in good faith and is encouraging the PSC Metal workers to end their lockout while contract negotiations move forward.
“We are determined to negotiate in good faith for a fair collective bargaining agreement with PSC Metals,” McCall said, “and we hope the NLRB will help send the message to Icahn and PSC management that even billionaires must obey federal labor laws.”
When McCall is considering negotiating in good faith with Icahn it might do well to consider the strategy Icahn uses in his brawls. When he attacks it is typically without the benefit of a phone call to the board, but often a move straight to the media. His goal in a board fight, as recently evidenced in PayPal, is to go for the reputations of those he attacks. In this instance, the shoe could be found on the other foot and Icahn might be the target.
Icahn strike two
This is not the first time that Carl Icahn has been under fire from unions. Last year, The American Federation of Teachers released their hedge fund blacklist and called for investors to avoid associations with certain investment managers, including Carl Icahn. Icahn was flagged after the Icahn Charitable Institute contributed to the Manhattan Institute, whom the Federation deems anti union.