An apple a day?
How ’bout a Band-Aid?
Not really a comprehensive plan for health care. But it seems that’s the ultimate destination for The Indianapolis Star’s employee health insurance.
After allowing years of cost increases and coverage erosion, the Star’s management is searching for a new low this year on employee health coverage: It wants employees to absorb 100% of the cost increases. For workers with families — some of whom haven’t seen a cost-of-living pay raises in 4 years — this amounts to $1,000 a year in new costs.
That’s quite a pay cut.
It’s odd, too. The Star’s parent company, Gannett, is covering 100% of the cost increases at a paper in Wisconsin that has an identical health insurance arrangement as does The Star. The Indianapolis NewsGuild, which represents newsroom staff and custodial workers at the printing plant, is only asking that The Star split the burden of the cost increases.
The Guild has done what it can to soften the blow. Last year, we went out and found a new health plan that offered better coverage at the same or better costs as Gannett’s corporate plan. We’d like to renew it. But we also expect our employer to share in the cost increases due to inflation. But The Star has refused to split the burden, to share the costs.
This comes at a time when Star management has praised its workers for adapting to the digital-first world of news. It comes as The Star has done some things to try and make the office more lively and fun. What hasn’t followed is much in the way of pay and benefit improvements to employees. In fact, when it comes to health insurance, their efforts continue to get worse.
The NewsGuild cares about great journalism and it cares about the people who produce it. We urge The Star to help its workers be healthier. We urge The Star to share the costs.