Sep 17, 2019

Health care friction in the UAW strike

Members of the United Auto Workers Union picket outside the General Motors Assembly Plant

UAW members picket outside a General Motors plant in Missouri. Photo: Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images

One of the biggest points of contention between General Motors and the United Auto Workers is health coverage.

By the numbers: Workers pay roughly 29% of their premiums for family health insurance on average, and 18% for single coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

  • GM wanted UAW members to absorb 15% of their premiums, up from the 3% they currently pay, according to Automotive News. GM then backtracked and agreed to keep things at their current levels.

The bottom line: UAW health benefits are already a lot more generous than average, both in terms of premium contributions and out-of-pocket costs like copays and deductibles. Workers don't want those benefits to erode.

  • But the rising cost of health care means keeping those insurance plans comes at the expense of wages.

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