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.So they really didn't get what they wanted.
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)
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.
Varnon, Rob. "Union members disappointed health-care demands not met." Connecticut Post 3 April, 2006.