General Motors is playing hardball with striking United Automobile Workers members.
The company is pulling the plug on the health care coverage effective Tuesday, Sept. 17. That means the tab will have to be picked up by the union for workers to continue coverage — the same fund that pays workers $250 a week in strike pay.
“How I look at it is, we’re here for the company, we were here for them during all the downturns," said Stephanie Carpenter, a 22-year employee of GM who was picketing in front of the company's headquarters Tuesday. "They need to be here for us now.”
Notices are being post on UAW local Facebook pages fueling the concerns of workers. The notice states, "Heads up to all active workers, GM has canceled out health care."
WXYZ obtained a letter from the union to GM that states:
"To allay any concerns that our members may have regarding an interruption in health care coverage, I am writing to confirm that the company will continue health care benefits through the end of the month."
However, WXYZ was told by GM company sources that benefits are actually cut off Tuesday, Sept. 17.
"We understand strikes are difficult and disruptive to families," a statement from a GM spokesperson read. "While on strike, hourly employees will be eligible for COBRA so their health care benefits can continue. The cost of COBRA will not be covered by the company."
Health care coverage will now be COBRA coverage through GM, however it will be paid for by the union and it's strike fund starting Tuesday.
For temporary workers, they were already getting reduced health care with no dental or vision benefits.
Dawnette Hamilton has worked as a temporary employee for more than a year. She says she has only basic insurance from GM that does not include dental or vision coverage.
“We have to go sign up so we can continue to get it," Hamilton said. "We have different days that we have to go do that.”