Apr 28, 2003
This spring, United Auto Workers (UAW) members in some HMO or PPO medical plans were shocked to see co-pays go up for prescriptions and office visits.
The International UAW got an earful from its members demanding to know why they were giving up concessions in the middle of a contract. The union officials' excuses were revealing. They said that the original contract allowed for increases if costs of particular PPO or HMO programs rose above a set level!
This was NEVER revealed to workers when they voted on the contract.
These aren't the first little surprises. For years, workers have been getting prescriptions or having certain kinds of medical treatments and only afterwards finding out that their out-of-pocket costs went up, or a procedure was no longer even covered!
UAW President Ron Gettelfinger has recently made it a point to assure workers that the UAW will not retreat on health care in the coming contract.
Given what just happened, workers cannot afford to accept such weasel-type assurances. BEFORE any vote is taken, every worker needs enough time to go over a proposed contract, discuss it with co-workers and be satisfied with it down to the finest of the fine print.
Unless workers have those opportunities, the only safe vote would be "NO."