Monday, August 31, 2009

SEIU'S WORKERS UNITED ENDS 40-DAY STRIKE

By the looks of it, striking workers in Terre Haute, Indiana lost a lot of money on an issue of principle and union dues.

Workers represented by the SEIU's new affiliate Workers United (formerly known as UNITE) ended a 40-day strike with a contract that 1) addressed the union's need to include seasonal workers into the bargaining unit (more dues), while 2) partially addressing workers' concerns that they and their families would not be required to take a Health Risk Assessment by the company's insurance carrier.

According to the Tribune Star:

According to the [union press] release, issued by Eric Sharfstein, a spokesman out of Workers United’s New York office, “the agreement does away with Bemis’ plans to utilize temporary workers. Seasonal employees working for more than five months will become a part of the bargaining unit.”

Union officials noted throughout the strike that the issues of temporary workers and mandated Health Risk Assessments were key to their opposition.Regarding the proposed Health Risk Assessments, which would have required workers and their families to submit to medical testing, the release states “the union now has the right to bargain an alternative health plan that does not mandate Health Risk Assessment testing. In the company’s health care plan, children of workers will not be required to submit to Health Risk Assessments for the term of the contract.”

According to this strike calculator, it's estimated that each of the workers lost over $2500 during the union strike leaving one to question: Was it worth it? [It sure appears to be worth it to the union.]

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