(Image: Andrew Ciscel under CC 3.0)
Sometimes, union members go on strike to prove their point in contract negotiations. It’s currently illegal for a company to fire an employee who is on strike (although they forgo any income they would have otherwise earned during that period), but there are no laws regarding the removal of benefits–such as health insurance.
Therefore, Shaw’s Supermarkets (a Massachusetts chain) has decided to cut off health care coverage for the striking workers. About 300 strikers and their dependents are affected. If you’re a member of a labor union considering a strike, keep that possibility in mind. Short term health insurance may be a worthy purchase, especially if you are expecting the negotiations to take a long time.
Shaw’s denies that they are using a hardball negotiation tactic. Instead, they point to the soaring cost of health insurance plans. They are also responsible for the health care coverage of nearly 25,000 other employees. Unfortunately, if they’re not currently gaining productivity from the striking members, it is a financial decision.