1,000 BCBS Michigan employees strike

Over 1,000 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan employees are striking, after United Auto Workers and the company failed to reach a new contract agreement. 

The strike began Sept. 12. Employees in customer service, claims, billing and other divisions in the company are represented by UAW, according to a July 24 news release from UAW. 

Just over 1,000 employees are striking, a BCBS Michigan spokesperson told Becker's. The strike does not include UAW-represented employees of Blue Care Network, the company's HMO business, who have a separate contract with BCBS Michigan. 

BCBS Michigan has put contingencies in place to continue providing service to providers and members, the spokesperson said. 

"Some of those services — particularly those provided over the phone — will require longer wait times. We encourage our members and customers to use our online and app-based services during this period, and we regret the inconvenience caused by this situation — which we desire to resolve quickly, consistent with the spirit of collective bargaining, with our partners at the UAW," the spokesperson said. 

Contract negotiations between UAW and BCBS Michigan began July 11, according to the union. Workers are asking the company to abolish its current tiered pay structure, which requires employees to acquire 22 years of service with the company to receive pay equal to that of more senior employees, according to a Sept. 13 news release from the UAW.

The union also wants BCBS Michigan to cease outsourcing positions previously negotiated by UAW bargaining units, according to the news release. 

"The UAW insists that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan value their front-line union employees as much as they value their profit margins and the CEO's substantial $17 million salary in 2022. Our call for job security, pay equality and robust benefits must be met, especially in these times of soaring corporate profits," the union said in the release. 

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