Local 727 Fights Against Company’s ‘Deceitful’ Actions
Jewel-Osco management has been secretly forcing Teamsters Local 727-represented pharmacists to pay more than other employees for the same health insurance, the union recently learned.
“Our members are paying radically higher premiums for the exact same health and welfare coverage that other Jewel-Osco employees enjoy,” said John T. Coli, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 727. “Our members are being wrongfully singled out and financially punished. It’s completely outrageous.”
Below is a comparison of the 2016 HRA Plan premiums for Osco pharmacists, Jewel-Osco warehouse and transportation workers represented by Teamsters Local 710 and the company. The vast majority of pharmacists and warehouse/transportation workers enrolled in the company’s health insurance use the HRA Plan.
2016 COMPANY HRA PLAN
Osco pharmacists Wrhs/Trans. workers Employer
Single $171.34 $138.36 $536.77
Employee + Spouse $414.61 $255.06 $1,122.83
Family $576.72 $309.23 $1,615.83
Despite the fact that the company’s costs are the same for both Osco pharmacists and warehouse/transportation workers, pharmacists are paying $33.02 more per month for single coverage, $159.55 more per month for employee + spouse coverage, and a whopping $267.49 more per month for family coverage in the HRA Plan.
“Looking at these numbers, it is clear to the union that management is using our pharmacists to unfairly carry the load to finance their health and welfare plan,” Coli said.
An Osco pharmacist member brought this information to light after talking to another Jewel-Osco employee about their rising health care costs. When the pharmacist discovered they were paying hundreds of dollars more in monthly health care premiums than their co-worker in the identical plan, they contacted their Local 727 representative.
The union immediately filed a grievance on behalf of all pharmacist members because of the company’s egregious violation. According to Section 6.1 of the collective bargaining agreement, “The Employer shall offer a health care plan to eligible full-time and part-time employees on the same basis (except in regard to optical coverage) as said plans may be offered to store management and other hourly paid store employees, respectively.”
This revelation also comes on the heels of Local 727’s unfair labor practice charge against the company for refusing to provide relevant information about its health and welfare plan.
The union requested information about the costs and contributions associated with Jewel-Osco’s health and welfare plan on Nov. 5, 2015. When the company finally responded, Jewel-Osco management said it would not provide the information unless the union signs a confidentiality agreement. Management then failed to sufficiently explain why the requested information, which is directly related to the terms and conditions of members’ employment, is proprietary or otherwise sensitive company information.
“We found ourselves asking, ‘what does Osco have to hide?’ — and now we have our answer,” Coli said. “Local 727 strives for total transparency with our members, and obviously the same cannot be said for this company. Their actions have been nothing but deceitful and harmful, and the union and our members will not tolerate it.”
Union representatives filed the unfair labor practice charge with the National Labor Relations Board on Jan. 28, and the following week, management finally provided the information.
The union also sent the company a contract reopener on Feb. 5 in advance of the current three-year contract’s expiration on May 7. Local 727 will continue to update members on the status of these charges and upcoming contract negotiations.
If you have questions, contact your Local 727 representative, Zach Frankenbach, at (847) 696-7500 or [email protected].
Nothing in this article should be read as the union’s waiver of any legal argument, position or additional grievance. The union does not forfeit its right to make any and all supplemental arguments.