Two unions are on strike against Verizon Communications in protest of proposed company policies that the unions themselves helped bring about. The new Obamacare law, which both unions supported, dramatically hikes the cost of Verizon’s employee health care plan. Efforts to pass some of that cost on to employees have sparked outrage, and now a strike.
Verizon’s health care plan is what President Obama commonly referred to as a “Cadillac plan” – expensive and luxurious – during his push to get health care legislation through Congress. The new law will levy a 40 percent tax on all health care plans with individual coverage worth more than $10,200 and family coverage worth more than $24,000.
Though the tax will not go into effect until 2018, “Verizon is required to account for this cost now,” according to company literature distributed to employees. “Accordingly, we will need to modify plan designs to avoid the impact of this tax.”
Verizon says it current pays $4 billion annually to cover nearly 900,000 employees’ health care. Its hundreds of thousands of unionized employees, though, pay nothing towards their health care premiums. The company estimates the “Cadillac tax” will add about $200 million to those annual costs. “The unions and our employees must work with the company to find ways to address these economic realities,” Verizon insists. . .