July 15, 2011
By Stephanie West
Buffalo, NY – Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU), AFL-CIO, Local 212 in Buffalo New York and HealthNow New York, Inc., dba Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Western New York (BCBS of WNY) have reached a tentative three-year agreement. The agreement ends a lengthy lockout by the company, which began on April 25, 2011. “We are very pleased that the parties were able to reach an agreement through the process of collective bargaining, demonstrating that mutual agreement trumps unilateral action,” said OPEIU International President Michael Goodwin. “We look forward to ratification by Local 212 members and their return to work. “
The OPEIU negotiating committee was led by OPEIU Director of Organization and Field Services Kevin Kistler and Local 212 Business Representative Deana Fox. The agreement will be recommended by the union negotiating committee to the membership, which will meet next week to consider the proposal. “Congratulations to the bargaining parties for a job well done,” said Goodwin.
The Office and Professional Employees International Union represents more than 125,000 members in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. OPEIU represents employees and independent contractors in banking and credit unions, insurance, higher education, shipping, hospitals, medical clinics, utilities, transportation, hotels, administrative offices and more. Professional organizations and Guilds affiliated with OPEIU are a diverse group that includes physicians, pharmacists, chiropractors, appraisers, podiatrists, clinical social workers, hypnotists, teachers and helicopter pilots.