It’s been two weeks since Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan employees represented by the United Auto Workers walked off the job.
Derrick Jackson, vice president of UAW Local 2500, says while the focus of the labor movement has been on striking auto workers in recent weeks, his union — which represents about 1,000 workers employed mostly in claims and customer service roles — have the same kind of goals.
“We’re much broader than the automotive sector. We’re separate and distinct, but we’re all united for the same cause,” said Jackson. “So when you think of UAW, I want you guys to think about some of your office workers at Blue Cross. I want you to think about your office workers at the State of Michigan Secretary of State every time you get your license is UAW.”
Higher wages, improved benefits and an end to the outsourcing of jobs are among the priorities identified by union leaders in negotiations with Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Melvin Reed – who has been picketing in Detroit with other members of UAW Local 2500, says he’s bothered by the lack of benefits he receives.
“I just feel that at this point Blue Cross is not looking out for our overall well-being,” said Reed. “My big question is how can a health care company not give their retirees health care?”
Blue Cross said they desired to end the strike quickly in a statement issued two weeks ago when the strike began. When asked for a comment by WDET, a spokesperson for Blue Cross Blue Shield declined to comment.