union power

A little union power

Some decent news out of this week’s bargaining.

The company has agreed to resolve our dispute over this year’s obscene health care cost shifting by:

-Giving a raise to Guild-covered employees enrolled in health care that makes up for the corresponding premium increase between 2019 and 2020. 

-Allowing Guild-covered employees to go to HR by Monday if they would like to change their enrollment, knowing that they will be getting slight raises that will ensure that they will, in the end, be paying only 2019 rates. 

This resolves our dispute over 2020 health care rates. However, it still doesn’t resolve the fact that Berkshire Hathaway has been cost-shifting health care expenses for years. In the past decade, employees have paid 129 percent more for premiums, while the company’s share has gone up just 71 percent. It also doesn’t explain why the company isn’t shouldering the increases via its typical company/employee splits — which usually amount to the company paying 70 percent and employees paying 30 percent.

And finally, it doesn’t resolve the fact that many U.S. employers are going away from high-deductible, high-premium plans because they’re finding that their employees are putting off going to the doctor for fear that they’ll have to pay significant sums. That can create a public-health crisis — and should be the last thing that the Omaha World-Herald or Berkshire Hathaway wants. We’ll continue those battles at a later date.

For now, it’s a solid victory — and one that was achieved only because we unionized last year. And because of our desk tents. Stay tuned. We will be fighting against any further cost-shifting, any further attempts to take money out of your pockets, whatever the form.