‘There’s so much at stake here for both sides’: Canadian auto expert on GM worker strike
Even the most perfunctory moves can get testy during a strike.
General Motors Co. has cut off health-care coverage for its striking members in a move that has the union’s attorneys looking to see if the automaker jumped the gun. The United Auto Workers website tells workers that they will be covered by a union-funded COBRA option during the strike, but not everyone got the memo -- some employees found out after the walkout started Sept. 15.
It could end up being a point of contention in the negotiations between GM and the UAW for a new four-year contract.
In a letter to members, Terry Dittes, vice president of the union’s GM department, said the UAW is providing members coverage, but he added the union’s attorneys are checking to see if GM is allowed to end medical coverage immediately. The union wants to know if the company must cover workers at least until the end of the month. Dittes wrote that GM’s action “will be reviewed by UAW Legal to see if any further action is required. In the meantime, know that our Union has you and your family covered!”
GM said only that during the strike, union benefits are covered by COBRA, which gives employees the right to continue their employer’s group help benefits for a limited period.