State Reminds Striking IBU Members About Pending Loss of Free Health Coverage - P.O.W. Report

Friday, July 26, 2019

State Reminds Striking IBU Members About Pending Loss of Free Health Coverage

Letter states that in just six days, striking workers and families lose no-cost health insurance

Friday, July 26, 2019 (Anchorage) – This morning Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka sent a letter to all Alaska Marine Highway System employees represented by the Inlandboatman’s Union (IBU) and participating in the strike, that if the strike continues past August 1, the premium for their health insurance will not be covered by the State because they will not be receiving compensation for employment. Many IBU employees cannot afford those premiums and could lose health insurance coverage for their families if they remain on strike.

“I am deeply concerned what losing health insurance coverage could mean for our workers, their spouses and children because I represent them too,” said Commissioner Tshibaka. “We can prevent this from happening - but only if IBU leadership joins the administration’s negotiating team by contacting the Federal Mediator and returning to the bargaining table to work this out in the short amount of time we have left and thus end this strike.”

Starting August 1, striking employees will be responsible for paying the entire cost of their health insurance premium, in accordance with COBRA. Monthly rates are approximately $1,000 a month for an employee, and $2,800 a month for an employee and family.

Commissioner Tshibaka added, “I strongly encourage striking workers and family members that face the loss of their current health coverage to contact IBU leadership to learn for themselves what unresolved issues remain in the contract negotiations and to ask what it will take to get them back to the bargaining table. IBU leadership is playing politics and until that stops, our employees are the ones who are suffering.”

A copy of the Commissioner Tshibaka’s letter is below.

For more information, please contact Special Assistant Kelly Hanke at 907-269-6293

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