General Motors said Tuesday the United Auto Workers will have to pick up the tab for members’ health insurance during the union’s national strike against the automaker. The news was not well received by the UAW, who is blasting GM for using current health care benefits against them.
“It’s unfortunate that General Motors is using current heath care benefits — that over 47,000 GM workers and their families depend on as a way to leverage unfair concessions,” UAW spokesman Jason Kaplan told FOX Business in a statement on Wednesday. “This is a disappointing fork in the road for GM. Regardless, UAW will pick up the tab through our emergency strike fund.”
The UAW maintains a strike and defense fund for situations such as the current impasse with GM. This fund will have to be utilized to pay for members health and prescription drug coverage during the strike. Members are eligible for COBRA benefits during the strike, but the tab falls on the UAW.
According to the UAW, COBRA benefits will allow members to maintain their health and prescription drug insurance, but extras such as dental, vision and accident insurance will be discontinued during the strike.
In addition to health care benefits, the UAW also has to supply members with supplemental income during the strike in the form of $250 per week. The UAW says members will have to wait two weeks before they receive their first stipend from the union, meaning its nearly 49,000 members are currently going without pay as it is only day three of the strike.
Future health care costs are reportedly still a major sticking point for both sides in the current negotiations. GM reportedly spends about $1 billion per year to provide health care to its hourly workforce.