The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia

Company moves on healthcare-now its worse!

May 20, 2015billrossInquirer

Newspaper Guild bargainers met today with the mediator and company negotiators Keith Black and Stan Wischnowski for 5 ½ hours and the company’s big move came in a proposal for our underfunded health care plan: They want it to cost you more and cover you less.

The other key aspects of the Company’s proposal remain the same: No matter how many times we have told them we’re not moving on seniority, not giving them their 5 FREE KILLS annually, they have refused to take this issue off the table. The company also remains unwilling to merge into the main unit with main unit salaries and protections.

As for health care, the company has decided that since it won’t properly fund the health care plan which exists, it would cheapen the plan to make it more affordable – for the company! Details of the plan will be presented to us tomorrow. With the contract expiring Sunday and fears of a walkout on the horizon, they now want to meet Thursday, Friday and Saturday, after not wanting to meet at all this week. A sample of what they’re expected to bring to the table, however, will include higher deductibles, higher pharmacy co-pays and a Guild member coinsurance payment of 20% AFTER the deductible (Guild members now pay nothing once they meet their deductible). Even this plan will most likely mean an increase in your weekly contributions (we expect to find out how much more tomorrow), and the higher deductibles will be crushing should any of you need your insurance for anything more serious than a check-up. Maximum out-of-pocket expenses in a plan like this for a single could be as high as $6,660 and for a family as high as $12,700 – ON TOP OF YOUR INCREASED WEEKLY DEDUCTIONS!

After $20 million in Guild givebacks over the past three contracts this is the way the company wants to pay you back.

They just don’t get it.

So to recap, the company’s offer to employees stands at: Minimal annual step increases maxing out at $50K, higher health care costs for worse coverage and no seniority.

The company’s offer for main unit employees now stands at: No raises, higher health care costs for worse coverage and weakened seniority.

The Guild will be providing “FAIR CONTRACT NOW” stickers over the next few days. If we can’t reach an agreement, please check your email over the weekend regarding what to do Monday should the contract expire Sunday night and be prepared for a Strike Authorization vote on Wednesday or Thursday of next week.

In Solidarity,

Howard Gensler
Bill Ross
Diane Mastrull
Cindy Burton
Regina Medina
Melanie Burney
Brian McCrone