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Should GM Pay Health Benefits To Striking Workers?


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John Goreham
Contributing Writer, GM-Trucks.com

General Motors has discontinued its contribution to UAW workers' health care costs and directed striking hourly United Auto Workers to the COBRA law for ongoing health insurance yesterday as the strike moves into the middle of its first week. The company and the union see health care paid for by the company during a strike differently. "It's unfortunate that General Motors is using current heath care benefits -- that over 47,000 GM workers and their families depend on as a way to leverage unfair concessions," UAW spokesman Jason Kaplan told FOX Business in a statement on Wednesday. "This is a disappointing fork in the road for GM. Regardless, UAW will pick up the tab through our emergency strike fund."  General Motors issued a statement on the topic as well, saying, "We understand strikes are difficult and disruptive to families. While on strike, some benefits shift to being funded by the union’s strike fund, and in this case hourly employees are eligible for union-paid COBRA so their health care benefits can continue.”


For those who have been fortunate enough to never need it, COBRA is a law, not a health insurance policy. Here is how the COBRA website defines it; "COBRA is a way to keep your health insurance for you and your family after you lose your job, quit your job, or retire from your job. Since it is an extension of the plan you had while you were working, the plan itself is exactly the same – same doctors, same copays, same deductibles, same prescription costs, everything. The main difference with COBRA insurance is that you 1) must pay the entire premium without any employer help, and 2) it is temporary and only lasts for 18 months in most cases."



If you would like to share you opinion on whether a company should pay benefits to workers who are not on the job feel free to use the comments below. 


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12 hours ago, Gorehamj said:

...Working in the plant takes a toll on our bodies, ...

That's like a slap in the face of a concrete cutter.

We don't have a robot lifting the wall saw on the track or the coring rig on the wall. And there's no siren telling us after 8 hours that the shift is over.


It's my choice to work in this industry. Do you hear me complaining?


so long


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GM pays the premiums at the first of the month and it lasts until the end of the month. The health benefit was always good during a strike until the end of the month. GM decided this time

pull the premiums and terminate the insurance. Do they have the right? Yes they do. Was it a smart move on their part? No, it was not. GM offered a decent contract solution about 2 hours

before the termination of the contract. They then made it public which is rarely done. If they had made the offer earlier, the UAW and GM might have decided to talk longer without walking.

Then you have the corruption trials of the UAW officials.

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This is my first post since joining this forum but could not agree more with UGAreb.

I was on strike for 6 weeks and had to suck it up. That's the way it goes...

21 hours ago, UGAreb said:

Employee benefits. You work, you get benefits. That’s how it works. If you don’t work, why would you expect to get benefits?


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Strike affecting others;


The new Lear Corp. plant in Flint, which supplies seats to GM's Flint Assembly plant, had a mostly empty parking lot on Friday. Company officials declined to comment on whether the Lear plant is still operating and whether any layoffs have taken place.


A pair of auto plants in Ohio are stopping production due to the strike, leaving nearly 2,000 people without work.


D-MAX near Dayton will temporarily stop making diesel engines for heavy-duty pickup trucks and put about 500 workers on a temporary layoff.


Navistar's truck plant in Springfield will shut down two production lines for a week because of parts shortages caused by the strike. About 1,400 workers could be off the job as a result.

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