The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Rally for Retirees

Oct 31, 2016

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM), the state’s largest health insurance company, decided to get rid of its own retirees’ health care coverage. But this does not appear to be an easy task. This is such a hit for these workers and it appears to be such a disgusting move to anyone that looks at this, that the company has decided to divide its attack into two launches to try to get through with fewer problems. It begins with the non-union retirees.

These workers, who are supposedly not used to organizing themselves, did so. And they did organize a rally in front of the headquarters of BCBSM on Thursday, October 27th. By 2 p.m. almost a hundred people gathered with handmade signs, blue balloons and a lot of energy to shout their anger and disgust at the company’s decision.

They said: “We built you up, you let us down”… It is true that BCBSM is a very profitable company because of the work workers have been doing. Then, after a life of work, the company kicks workers out with almost nothing! “Hired with a promise, retired with a lie!” and “Blue Cross - Double Cross!” and “Liars, Liars!”, “Blue Cross ripped us off!” expressed exactly what people felt about what the company has decided to do.

Retirees shouted, “You next, you next!” warning active workers that they will be the next on the list if nothing stops BCBSM from going forward with this policy. And moreover they warned that most working people will be affected by the deterioration of health insurance and dramatically increasing rates for fewer benefits.

Active BCBSM workers showed their support inside by wearing blue that day after retirees circulated slogans of “We’re still Blue!” People sent live broadcasts from the rally that went viral on Facebook and internet sites. Workers put up signs at the windows to show their support, and some came down to join the demonstration. And to see the stares and glares of executives at the doors gave protesters a good feeling! BCBSM even decided to lock down the main doors of the tower to prevent workers from exiting to join the protest!

By the way, some of the slogans are a reminder of the big strikes that occurred 20 or 30 years ago at BCBSM. Hopefully this rally has potential to begin bigger things to come. We all wish the worst luck for this company’s plans!