By the way, there is a reason for this choice (from an article on why unions are worried about the PPACA)
The second problem is that the 40 percent excise tax on especially expensive plans — the so-called Cadillac tax — is going to hit union plans especially hard. Unlike most people negotiating compensation, union negotiators make an explicit trade-off between wages and other benefits, and the benefit that they seem most attached to is generous health plans. Union plans are made more expensive still because union membership is heavily skewed toward older workers. They are thus very likely to get hit by the Cadillac tax, which takes effect in 2018.
The preference for health benefits over cash compensation makes some sense for tax reasons (as it shifts taxable income to nontaxable income). And at some level it is typical of union thinking, which is often driven by seniority and by benefits for older workers over younger workers. But there is another reason for this that is almost never stated -- the unions themselves run many of these health plans. And because it is priced as a monopoly, the unions often earn monopoly rents on these plans, and use management of large health plans to justify much higher compensation levels for union leaders. In Wisconsin, ending public union strangleholds on health plan management immediately saved the state and various local school districts millions of dollars when they were allowed to competitively bid these functions for the first time.