As political weapons are sharpened for another historic showdown over health care reform, it’s important to talk about what this debate means for tens of thousands of workers like Dick Rogers, a 28-year member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1837 in Manchester, Maine.
Rogers is a first-class service worker at Central Maine Power, one of those hearty souls who climb utility poles looking for trouble and fixing it.
Local 1837’s contract with CMP expired on May 15. The company is demanding a big bite out of Rogers’ and his co-workers’ health insurance coverage. But Rogers and his co-workers already spend more than $3,000 per year for family medical coverage, with high deductibles for hospitalization …
Now consider the financial condition of the company that’s driving the hard bargain at the table.
Iberdrola’s worth in 2007 was $70 billion, approximately the same value as Verizon Communications Inc., the largest U.S. telecommunications company. In 2008, Iberdrola’s revenues were $36 billion. CEO Jose Ignacio Sanchez Galan’s salary is a secret, but his contract with Iberdrola — covering his total compensation — is nine pages long.
For amusement Galan heads up the company that sponsors Spain’s entry in the America’s Cup. The yachts cost an average $150 million.
With the millions Iberdrola spends on influencing legislators in Washington and Augusta, Hill asks why Galan and other CEOs looking for take backs at the bargaining table aren’t using their influence to support legislation that would reduce health care costs for working people and business owners.
Galan hires the best lobbyists to overcome resistance in getting permits for new utility construction. Wouldn’t it make sense for Galan to assign some of his lobbying heavyweights to help win meaningful health care reform to reduce costs here in the U.S.? Wouldn’t that be a better way to enhance his firm’s profitability in the long haul?
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I wonder if there are any statistics on how many employers use the fact of the recession as a cover to force givebacks that they don’t truly need.
p>And that tactic of quoting a high salary while neglecting to point out how much of it is overtime (described in the Huffington Post article) is really annoying! Happens to public workers all the time.
p>Good luck to the IBEW in Maine!