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Latest News - April 2014

April 28, 2014
BlueCross BlueShield, union reach tentative agreement
Source: Buffalo Business First Reporter
By: Tracey Drury

Labor negotiations went much smoother this time around between BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York and its 350 workers who are represented by the Office and Professional Employees International Union.

Three years ago, a labor dispute resulted in a lockout of 390 union workers that lasted three months.

The insurer announced Friday it reached the new three-year collective bargaining agreement with Local 153 union following 18 bargaining sessions since mid-March.

The current agreement was set to expire at the end of the day.

Union representatives were recommending ratification of the agreement at a vote slated for Saturday at the Iron workers Union Local 6 hall in West Seneca, New York. Terms were not released.

The international union represents primarily customer service, administrative and clerical staff at the organization's Buffalo headquarters.

The lockout in 2011 followed the expiration of the existing contract, an unusual move: Typically, when union groups reach the end of a contract period without a new agreement, negotiations and bargaining sessions continue, with workers doing their jobs and receiving whatever pay and benefits they were getting under the old contract. The union pushed back against wording in a company proposal they feared forced workers to accept the eventual outsourcing of their jobs.

The two sides ultimately came to terms and the workers were brought back




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