Advance Notice: Briefs

GM backs down ending on health coverage for striking workers

By: - September 26, 2019 3:23 pm

UAW picket at the General Motors Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, Sept. 25, 2019 | Andrew Roth

As the UAW strike continues, General Motors has decided to continue to offer health care coverage to its almost 50,000 striking employees. 

GM released a statement reported by the HuffPost on Thursday that said the company is “very concerned about the significant confusion” surrounding health insurance and that it had “chosen to work with our providers to keep all benefits fully in place” as the strike continues into its 11th day.

The company stated there will be “no disruption” to medical, dental and prescription drug coverage for the UAW strikers.

Last week, GM cut off striking workers’ health care. The UAW responded by picking up the costs of COBRA, but it does not include dental, vision, hearing and sick and accident coverage. According to the UAW, strike benefits started Sept. 23, offering eligible on-strike workers $250 a week.

In a letter to the company, the union’s lead negotiator on the GM contract, Vice President Terry Dittes, called GM’s actions as a “shameful act.”

Dittes wrote the company is “toying with the lives of hundreds of thousands of our UAW families.”

GM declined to comment on how long it will continue to fund health care, and the strike has no clear end in sight. HuffPost reported that it is possible, depending on the length of the strike, GM could again revoke employees’ health insurance.

The union and the company continue to negotiate the wage scale, the use of temporary workers and the burden of health care costs on employees.

Last week, freshman U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) visited employees picketing outside GM’s Lansing Grand River Assembly plant. Presidential candidates and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) have made stops on picket lines. 

Attorney General Dana Nessel and U.S. Rep. Andy Levin (D-Bloomfield Twp.) also joined striking workers at General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant for a solidarity rally on Sunday.

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.