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Meijer Union Employees Vote On Health Care Coverage

9:06 PM, Oct 4, 2005   |    comments
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Grand Rapids - Union leaders and Meijer Inc. executives call a proposed new heath care package for union employees a "win, win" situation. But some in the rank and file say it seems more like a win for Meijer and a loss for the workers. "I'm really upset about it," says union member Cindy Wojciakowski Members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union are deciding if they will amend their current contract and approve the health care package. Union leaders say it will offer coverage to almost every Meijer employee and payments for many will remain the same. "I can keep what I have," says union member Nicole Brown. "That's what I want." Others in the union object to changing the terms of the collective bargaining agreement before it expires in 2006. "People are upset and angry," says union member Tom Hafner. "Why now?" Union members briefed on the specifics of the health care proposal say it raises deductibles, excludes more part time employees from coverage and penalizes smokers. "I think the fact they want to break our contract to do this is not the right thing to do," says Wojciakowski. Meijer says the proposal is similar to what they provide non-union employees. "I will probably be paying more, I'm sure of it," says union member Clara Vandella, who says she voted for the proposal. "But I know there is a problem with health care. I don't want to see Meijer go under. I would like to retire from Meijer." If it is approved the health care package for union members will take effect in April.

Phil Dawson

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