Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield

Health and Safety

Nurses Urge ‘Safe Staffing’ Laws

February 10, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel 

Albany, NY - Nurses’ labor unions in New York have been lobbying local governments to support requiring hospitals to have a minimum number of nurses per unit. The Assembly Health Committee approved the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act on Jan. 21, but similar bills have failed to advance in the past.

Can Jersey Teachers Roll Back Health-Care Payments?

February 8, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Pleasantville, NJ - New Jersey’s 2010 law requiring public employees to pay part of their health-insurance premiums expired last year, and teachers’ unions are likely to try to roll back those payments in their next contracts.

Quest Diagnostics Workers Join UFCW

February 4, 2016
By John Quinn, LaborPress USA

San Diego California - Quest Diagnostics workers in San Diego voted to join UFCW Local 135 in order improve their jobs and working conditions. Better wages, respect on the job, stable schedules, vacation time and sick days are some of the priorities for these employees. Negotiations for their first contract are beginning with the entire group very excited.

Illinois AFSCME Responds to Rauner Accusations

February 1, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Springfield, IL - Illinois’ largest state employees union responded Jan. 22 to Gov. Bruce Rauner telling workers that it was stalling contract talks by demanding “across-the-board wage and step increases” and “expensive platinum health-care plans.

January Labor Bulletin

January 27, 2016
By Michael Jordan

What the Cadillac Tax Delay Means for Labor   
The $1.1 trillion budget deal approved by Congress on Dec. 18, 2015, delays the Cadillac tax for two years – from 2018 to 2020 – and raises the possibility of a repeal. In this issue of the Labor Bulletin, we’ll examine what this means for labor unions.

Stale Cookies Don’t Stop Nurses From Voting Union

January 26, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel

Philadelphia, PA- Nurses at Hahnemann University Hospital voted overwhelmingly Jan. 20 to join the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals union.

The Human Cost of Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Related Conditions

January 21, 2016
By Tom Canty, Vice President and General Manager, Empire BlueCross BlueShield Government, Labor and Special Account

In September 2014, President Obama announced a $100 million federal brain initiative to revolutionize our understanding of the human mind and uncover new ways to treat, prevent and cure brain disorders. In time, this unique public-private sector initiative will hopefully yield new ways to manage Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and other related conditions.

Negotiate Fairer Prescription Drug Prices To Pare Health Costs

January 7, 2016
By Corey Bearak, The Public Ought To Know

Queens, NY – My very first Labor Press commentary covered health care.  I advocate a single payer plan and expect over long-term that we will find our way there.  Health care costs continue to get attention in the news.  Sometimes it involves how company and government plans cover their employees and if savings negotiated with labor get realized.  Other times, the high cost of prescription drugs gets news coverage.  Clearly, drug costs impact health care costs and health insurance. Addressing proliferating drug costs can help reduce the expense of health care and its coverage overall.

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