Nothing more than a Knuckle Dragger

Posted on April 29th, 2008 | by A Worker |

I just read something that will be no surprise to folks at Verizon and many other US corporations. Employer-provided health insurance (EPHI) isn’t disappearing because people are being laid off and being forced into different jobs. No-siree, corporations and the Masters of the Universe types (MOTUTs) who run them are making the choice to take hard working folks health benefits away.

A recent report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) found that employer-provided health care benefits are being cut pretty much across the board in all industries and job categories.

“But the big story is taking place within sectors: regardless of which industries or occupations have been adding or losing jobs, changes in EPHI are driven by employer decisions as to whether to provide coverage or not. Similarly, when we look at worker characteristics, we find that, while there have been some “between” gains in worker demographics that have led to higher EPHI (namely, educational upgrading along with the workforce getting older), we also find that there have been significant declines in coverage within categories across the entire age and education spectrum.”

Transportation, communications and other “public utilities” have seen an 8.5 percent drop in EPHI between 1995 and 2006, the time period that the study examined. There’s a little irony here in that the, “white collar” executive, administration and managerial jobs have seen a greater decrease 4.1 percent than “blue collar” jobs, technicians and related support, which have only seen a slight decrease of 0.4 percent.

Using Verizon as an example we can make a sound hypothesis that the reason for the disparity is largely union vs. nonunion workers. The management folks at Verizon saw their benefits get slashed in 2006.  The previous year, 2005, CEO Ivan the Terrible gave himself a 48 percent raise. So even if executives are feeling the steel of the switchblade when it comes to health care — and we all know that the big ones, the real MOTUTs, are still getting their’s — they can afford to buy their own insurance or in many cases pay cash. It’s the lower and mid level managers and administrators who are being forced to reattach the severed limbs of their coverage with their own needle and thread.

The only solution for the health care mess is a national single payer system. The unions and Verizon need to get together – not something I would usual recommend – and support HR676, the Medicare for All Bill in the congress. But while we’re waiting, I’d like to invite all the management folks who had their benefits slashed to join us on the picket line in August. Walk out and the rank and file will support you. We’ll stay out on strike until the company agrees to give you back your health benefits and pensions. If we all stick together the MOTUTs who run the company will drop to their knees lickedy split! Alright, so it’s unlikely that this could happen, but wouldn’t it be great?

I may be nothing more than a knuckle dragger, but I think us union folks and the majority of the “managers” have similar interests — the economy, the earth, a secure future for us and out families. Together we can evolve into the next level of consciousness. It is really all about us – 97 percent of the population of the world – verses them — the Master of the Universe types and the corporate stooges and politicians who are their minions. If we stick together we can open up a can a whoop ass that they’ll never forget.

Stay tuned for more on why single payer health care is right for you.


****** Thanks to John Jonik for the cartoon ********

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