Last week, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan reached a tentative contract agreement with the United Auto Workers union, potentially ending a strike that has involved over 1,000 Blue Cross employees since Sept. 13. The agreement, which still needs to be ratified, promises substantial changes for the workers, whose roles span customer service, billing, claims and maintenance.
Key highlights of the tentative deal include significant general wage increases, with a notable reduction in the time to progress through the wage scale — down from 22 years to just five years. Additionally, there are substantial ratification bonuses for both BCBSM and Blue Care Network workers, along with annual inflation protection bonuses. The deal also strengthens contractual language to safeguard jobs against outsourcing.
Derrick Jackson, vice president of UAW Local 2500, joined Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today Wednesday to discuss the implications of the agreement — set to run through 2027 — as well as the challenges faced during negotiations and what this means for the future of labor relations.
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Derrick Jackson is the vice president of UAW Local 2500 representing Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan workers. He says reducing the wage-time scale will be monumental for workers so they can receive higher pay earlier in their careers.
“When you are in a position, and you work in that position, and you become proficient at that position, at some point in a very reasonable time you should be able to be at the top [pay] rate because you are extremely proficient,” said Jackson.
Listen to Detroit Today with host Stephen Henderson weekdays from 9-10 a.m. ET on 101.9 WDET and streaming on-demand.