Monday, October 8, 2007

Unions at Baltimore Sun balk at smoker, other "fees"

Tribune has joined the ranks of employers that are imposing additional fees on a segment of its workforce as a means of cutting its health care costs. It intends to charge a "fee" of $100 per month to smokers (or those who have smoker dependents) in the company health plan, and a $75 per month "fee" if a Tribune spouse has coverage available at work, but opts to to be in the Tribune plan.

Have you heard about the plan? No? Well, the unions at the Sun know because they have notification and meet-and-discuss provisions in their contracts that must be honored if and when the company seeks to make changes to union-covered employees' benefits.

The Guild, the pressmen and the mailers at the Sun have filed grievances because their contract clauses say premium share can only increase by four percentage points in any year and the "fee" is a premium that violates that clause.

Stay tuned, because the outcome of the Baltimore dispute could influence the fees charged you as well. (end of post)

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