Monday, April 03, 2006

Sikorsky Teamsters Go Back to Work

Did Anybody Win?

Sikorsky teamsters voted yesterday to accept the company's contract offer and go back to work after a 42-day strike.

The main reason for the strike was a reduction in health care benefits.
Teamsters walked off the job on Feb. 20 largely because the company wanted to change their health-care package and increase employees' weekly contributions, deductions and what they would pay for office visits and prescriptions.

The new 3-year contract includes the same health care, a 3.5 percent raise each year, a ratification bonus of $3,000 per member and the stipulation that the company will reimburse members for any temporary insurance costs accrued during the strike. (Varnon)
So they really didn't get what they wanted.

Management, of course, suffered a black eye (although not much of one) for what the union called "obscene" CEO salaries. Also, despite the fact that management appears to have won this round, the problem is far from solved.
The union also warned that unless UTC and Sikorsky join it in trying to find a solution for reducing health-care costs in the nation, the Teamsters will be at the company's doorstep again. (Varnon)
Very true. No real solutions to the health care problem are forthcoming from the government or the private sector, both of which seem pretty content with the status quo. And why not? So long as the middle class accepts rising health care costs as just a fact of life, there's no reason to change.

The Sikorsky workers did the right thing in standing up against the rollback of health care benefits. If this problem isn't addressed in a meaningful way soon, theirs won't be the last such strike we see.

Source

Varnon, Rob. "Union members disappointed health-care demands not met." Connecticut Post 3 April, 2006.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thousands of workers forgo six weeks of paychecks and health insurance for a mere $1000 and the same exact health plan that they based their strike upon.

Great job, union leaders!

Anonymous said...

Where is today's open thread???

There is more going on than just the strike, -- BUT I don't want to get yelled at.

Does anyone have an update on the Bush visit? I heard the purpose of it might be to accept Joe Lieberman into the Republican Party!

bluecoat said...

The AFL-CIO here of which the Teamsters who struck Sikorsy belong lost the SEIU here and like affiliates sometime last year. Look at how they differently look at healthcare and immigration need to be reformed. The AFL-CIO had an agenda and they took the unsuspecting Sikorsky Teamsters for a ride with the help of Dodd, Liberman, DeLauro and even Farrell who rely on their organiztions for votes and money.

bluecoat said...

GC: I posted this here from the CT Post yesterday. So today I would like to highlight where one paragraph says
More spending and more treatment are not making Americans healthier. The U.S. spends more than twice as much per capita on health care as the average of 22 wealthy nations. We invest far more than any other country on doctors, labs, tests and dispensed medicine. Yet we manage to trail similar countries in health-adjusted life expectancy. Some 100,000 die every year from hospital errors.
and another says (with extra empahasis by me) Still, the region is plagued by soaring costs and mediocre results. Don Berwick, a professor at both the Harvard Medical and Public Health schools, says consistently there's so much confusion, danger, waste and arrogance in America's healthcare system that the only way to save it is to blow it up first. and thenWould that kind of reform be difficult? Yes! In a medical system encrusted with familiar approaches, encumbered with lofty egos, it would be much more difficult than rocket science. But if innovation is what New England's all about, there's never been a greater need.
The SEIU is more about innovation than the AFL-CIO that prefers toplay politics and rail against high corporate compensttion that the stockholders seem to accept.

Anonymous said...

This proves, yet again, that in the 21st century unions can only impede a worker's ability to get a job, keep a job, and obtain fair pay & benefits for a job.

Teamsters et al fueled this strike because it was against a marquee company with national security implications and deep pockets. The goal was to show that the relevance of unions and they were so confident that UTC would crack that they were willing to sacrifice 3,000 workers to see it through. The deal passed by only 76 votes---not exactly a ringing endorsement of the union and it's negotiations.

There are now enough laws on the books and trial lawyers willing to work on contigency that unions can only hurt working class folks.

bluecoat said...

Anon said:There are now enough laws on the books and trial lawyers willing to work on contigency that unions can only hurt working class folks. Huh? what do trial lawyers working on contingency (i.e. If their client wins they get paid) have to do with the strike and unions? Other than the right wing wackos hate both.

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't care if I get scolded...this will be priceless. I hear that StubHub.com will be handling ticket sales for the Moody session.....


From the AP:
Lawmakers schedule May hearing in fundraising investigation



Associated Press

April 3 2006

HARTFORD, Conn. -- A legislative committee will hold hearings next month to examine the State Elections Enforcement Commission and its interaction with Gov. M. Jodi Rell's campaign, legislative officials said Monday.

The hearing, scheduled for May 10, follows Democrats' criticism of Rell campaign manager Kevin Deneen for contacting the commission to discuss how charges would be settled against 13 commissioners and three deputy commissioners in Rell's administration.

Jeffrey Garfield, executive director of the commission, sent Deneen an e-mail outlining the settlement, who were fined $500 each for violating a civil statute that bans them from soliciting political contributions from subordinates.

The legislature's Government Administration and Elections Committee sent letters on Monday asking for documentation from six people, including Deneen, Garfield and Rell's chief of staff, Lisa Moody, said the committee's co-chairman, Rep. Christopher Caruso, D-Bridgeport.

Democrats have said they want to know Deneen's motivations for contacting the elections commission and whether Moody instructed him to do so.

Rell and Stephen Cashman, chairman of the Elections Enforcement Commission, have said they didn't see anything wrong with Deneen's attempt to broker a settlement.

Last December, Moody called the commissioners to her Capitol office and told them to distribute invitations to a campaign fundraiser for Rell. Moody was not fined because no law prohibits her from soliciting campaign contributions.

Chief State's Attorney Christopher Morano investigated the matter but determined neither Moody nor the commissioners willfully or intentionally violated any criminal law.


Copyright 2006 Associated Press

turfgrrl said...

I have yet to meet any republican who can articulate what the difference is between outsourcing HR functions and Unions as it relates to running a corporation. For too many years management has been making bad deals in collective bargaining with unions. Not surprisingly, management makes bad deals with its executive compensation, litigation and insurance vendors. When will management wake up and see that you need to innovate with new products that are profitable in order to increase revenues instead of downsizing, cutting costs and enriching management that fakes revenues increases through acquisitions?

Anonymous said...

I believe you forgot to cite your source: "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business."

bluecoat said...

Turrffgrrrl: the state legislature makes bad deals too on all that stuff and they are led by Democrats - it's not party specific.

Also, the Sikorsky story is relayed again here in the NHR for a different take and there is also a piece on my favorite waste in CT govt. that you don't see in compaetitive and innovator states - having cops guard jobsites on the roadways.

I was trying to find a history piec on the rift last year at the AFL-CIO and how the service workers broke away but my search isn't showing it.

disgruntled_republican said...

Turfgrrl -

Why do say a "republican"? Not all corporations are led or managed by republicans. Furthermore, Look at the state...all deals done by dems.

zigar said...

Isn't Ned Lamont a CEO???? hmmmm.....

bluecoat said...

Well, I totallly screwed up as it was both the Teamsters and the SEIU that broke away from John Sweeney's AFL-CIO last year. That said, the Teansters and SEIU look at immigraton and healthcare reform differently.

And where were the blog police on that one?

turfgrrl said...

bluecoat and disgrunted_republican,

Sorry, i did not mean to imply that all corporations were run by republicans. Bad management is beyond partisanship! I was just referencing anti-unionists which tend to be republican. Or at least in my off the cuff conversations with republicans recently on this very issue.

bluecoat,

Agreed on the state legislature, but they are somewhat pro-union. I'm pretty certain that the state legislature does not view unions as an outsource decision of HR either.

For that matter I don't think today's unions understand what their role should be in collective bargaining as it relates to corporate governance.

bluecoat said...

disgruntled: the state employee contracts were negotiated by Team Rowland but the rest of the deals - and the restrictive work rules all around - did get the Donkey seal of approval at the state legislature.

bluecoat said...

Referencing the bookThe Medical Malpractice Myth by UCONN Insurance law Professor Tom Baker linked here might be timely for this blog since at least one of the the core issues is healthcare. In a review says the—Library Journal “Citing major studies mostly from medical and legal literature, he debunks a litany of perceived myths around malpractice lawsuits and convincingly makes the case that malpractice lawsuits actually improve patient care and that big payments are the rare exception, not the rule.…Well researched with more than ten pages of references, Baker’s timely book is appropriate for public, medical, and academic libraries.”

bluecoat said...

Allan B. Hubbard who is assistant to the president for economic policy and director of the National Economic Council and head of the B-school at Columbia writes this OpEd in today's NYT on HSA's shown here but he misses the point that HSA's address the 80% of the poulation that only spend 20% of the total healthcare dollar. The other 80% of the spending by 20% of the poulation has to be addressed as noted in some of my earlier comments on this Post.

And what the heck here is an NYT editorial on Medicare Drug Challenges gving the NYT's take on How well PLAN B is doing - I'd say the prognosis looks decent but not great - the US should have used its buying power on this.like it does with the VA..

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