Health insurance ate my pension

What some unions are doing about out-of-control health care costs
NW Labor Press, Sept. 2012
Don Mcintosh, Associate Editor

After decades of rising health costs, American workers are used to rising health insurance premiums and worsening coverage, and watching as raises are gobbled up by health care cost increases. And the question of who will pay for the increases — workers or employers — is the number one source of conflict in union contract bargaining.

At Boeing, it was a factor in the last two strikes. At TriMet, new hires will have 401(k)s instead of a traditional pension because of rising health costs: In July, an arbitrator said he imposed the employer’s contract proposal (which included the pension change) because the union’s contract proposal would have continued the same health benefits and thus would have been too costly.

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