After more than a year of effort and several months of negotiations, the Guild has successfully negotiated a deal giving us the right to go with a health insurance alternative to Gannett’s UnitedHealthcare. We did this because the monthly Insurance costs were lower and, in the case of one of the plans, the benefits are better.
This coverage applies to everyone covered by the Guild’s contract, including workers who are still receiving severance or COBRA coverage from previous Gannett layoffs. The change also meant that Gannett’s UnitedHealthcare was no longer an option.
The new insurance provider is the United Furniture Workers Insurance & Pension Funds, a non-profit organization that serves Communications Workers of America union members and their families across the United States. The Guild is part of the CWA.
The Guild finalized the deal with The Indianapolis Star on Dec. 8. A few days later, The Star informed us that former employees still getting COBRA benefits would follow us to the new coverage. The timing left us little breathing room to get everyone signed up on the new insurance. We completed the enrollment of our working staff in waves, the last of which ended Dec. 19.
For those severed workers outside the office, it is important that you look over the information mailed to you from the United Furniture Workers and return the completed enrollment and claim forms to the UFW as soon as possible. There is also a Payroll Deduction Form we need you to sign and return to the Guild as soon as possible. For severed workers who have been on the Star’s insurance, the rates are the same as for working staffers. For those covered by COBRA, the rates are slightly higher.
This enrollment has been a big effort turned around in a short time, but we trust that the extra work will be worth the better coverage and lower costs. If you have questions about the benefits, we urge you to call the UFW at 1-800-800-8860. If you have questions for the Guild, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.