Verizon unions on strike…over health care benefits, what’s new?

According to news reports Verizon union workers are on strike because Verizon wants workers to contribute more for health insurance, (higher co-pays and deductibles) including paying monthly premiums for the first time, while the unions say their members can’t accept the financial burden, given the current economy.

If these reports are accurate, once again we see a reflection of the unrealistic way we tend to view healthcare and health care insurance. It needs to be “free.”

Imagine in 2011 being asked to pay premiums for the first time. This is shades of GM of old, hey the company is making money we don’t have to worry about competition. Even low-income people enrolled in the new health insurance exchanges will pay something, those on Medicare pay something.

Having spent many years crafting collective bargaining agreements related to employee benefits, I am sure the issue is not as simple as press reports make out, but I do know that health benefits are very often the root cause of many disputes.

Americans need to rethink their relationship with health care and its cost. It’s not free even when you are not paying the bill.


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