June 20, 2007 E-MAIL PRINT

Bargaining Update 06.19.07


Another day at the bargaining table (Tuesday June 19, 2007) and this week we began a detailed discussion of the company's effort to more than double our drug costs — and management started stonewalling again.

A week ago, we reached a tentative agreement on new contract provisions regarding job security and outsourcing. It wasn't all that we hoped for, but it was better than what we have now. This week, their willingness to compromise seemed to dry up.


Management's lawyers had said they would come to us this week with ideas for making the drug-cost burden less onerous, despite the price increase. For some reason, they weren't able to do that. Instead, they just came back with the same, tired arguments in favor of our accepting a ballooning in drug costs.

We are going to get together in a week and discuss the subject again. In the meantime, we offered them a variety of suggestions for ways to ease the drug burden. We suggested reducing costs for drugs a doctor deems essential to a particular patient, or limiting the total amount that families can be required to pay each month, or reducing what we pay per prescription.

They want to boost our costs to $10 a prescription for generics, $20 for some brand-name drugs, $40 for most brand-name drugs, and double that for mail-order drugs. For anyone who has to take several drugs each month for which there are few generic substitutes, the bill can rapidly hit $200 a month — from $75 today.

That's a big jump from our current costs — $8 for generic drugs and $15 for brand-name. To encourage less-expensive mail-order drugs, a three-month mail-order prescription currently costs the same as a one-month supply from a local pharmacy.

The message from the company seems clear: If we want them to ease up on their demands, we will have to demonstrate that it is important to us.

Steve Yount

Jim Browning,
Bargaining Committee Chair


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