Today’s News & Commentary – February 17, 2020
Copper-mining Asarco employees in Texas and Arizona just passed the four-month mark of their strike with no resolution. Since October, 1,700 workers represented by seven unions have refused to work, demanding a better contract than what the company presented as its “best and final” offer. Union members argue that the offer froze wages, increased health care costs, and cut pensions and bonuses. Meanwhile, workers have not received a raise in 11 years. This month the union filled a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board.
Local employers in Florida are opening near-site and on-site health clinics for their employees. Smaller businesses that cannot afford to fund a clinic individually have started to band together in order to pool resources. The initiative is in response to raising health care premiums that put strain on employers and employees costs; the average premium increased roughly $7,000 in the past decade. These clinics also prevent the need for higher priced emergency health visits. The city of Dayton opened a clinic for city employees in 2016 and so far has estimated $1 million in savings.
In Minnesota, 1,800 HealthPartners workers are planning to strike starting Wednesday. The decision to strike passed with a 95% approval vote amongst union members, which include nurses, physician assistants and technicians. The strike is in response to cuts in healthcare coverage.
In conversation with the striking airline catering workers in Dallas mentioned last week, the industry is amidst at least three other strikes. Delta airline catering workers in Minnesota will strike Friday to bring attention to those workers living in poverty. Other airline catering workers in Seattle-Tacoma International airport were arrested for striking for better pay and benefits. Another strike occurred last week in Detroit, in which airline workers, alongside Rep. Rashida Tlaib, demanded better pay and healthcare benefits.