Sep 17, 2019

Health care friction in the UAW strike

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.

Flashback: Health care cuts drive West Virginia teachers' strike

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Employer health plans are getting pricier and skimpier

Adapted from the Kaiser Family Foundation; Chart: Axios Visuals

The average cost of family health insurance offered by companies climbed 5% this year, exceeding $20,000 for the first time, according to the newest annual survey of employer health benefits from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The bottom line: Employer health coverage continues to get more expensive and less comprehensive for workers — all coming at the expense of people's paychecks.

Go deeperArrowSep 25, 2019

Employer-based coverage is unaffordable for low-wage workers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Employer-based health insurance isn’t a monolith — the cost and generosity of that coverage varies widely. And that likely affects how open workers would be to “Medicare for All” or a public insurance option.

The big picture: Democrats’ health care plans would offer a better deal to many low-wage workers than to their higher-wage counterparts.

Go deeperArrowSep 26, 2019

Striking GM workers say labor talks have "taken a turn for the worse"

United Auto Workers striking. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

The United Auto Workers said in a letter Sunday that negotiations for a new 4-year labor contract between General Motors and its striking workers have "taken a turn for the worse" after the union rejected GM's latest proposal, according to Reuters.

Why it matters: UAW's GM members have been participating in the nation's first auto strike in 12 years. 21 days in, the United States' largest automaker and its 48,000 picketing workers are both beginning to experience financial strain.

Go deeperArrowOct 6, 2019