Saturday, December 25, 2004

Poor Mouthing Benefits

According to an Associated Press article datelined 12/18/04, some big employers are initially refusing to add same-sex spouses to federally regulated health-care plans. These include Caritas Christi Health Care, General Dynamics and FedEx.

General Dynamics has 3,000 Massachusetts employees and finances its plan itself. Other self-insured companies in the same situation have added same-sex spouses married in Massachusetts. These include Gillette, National Grid USA and UniteHere (a labor union).

An attorney for the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Michele Granda, said, "There are some good legal reasons why we might be able to challenge..." In a hint of GLAD's position, she wrote in a letter to the editor of the Boston Globe, " Employers who choose to treat some married employees differently from other married employees are discriminating, plain and simple. Those who do the right thing are to be commended."

At the state's second-largest utility, NStar, a same-sex married couple will file a grievance against the denial of benefits. They are union members who say this violates collective bargaining agreements.

The other side of the coin is that some employers who offer benefits to same-sex spouses are phasing out coverage for unmarried same-sex couples in Massachusetts, now that marriage is legal. A Globe article reports that these include "IBM Corp., Raytheon Co., Emerson College, Northeastern University, the National Fire Protection Association, Boston Medical Center, Baystate Health System, and The New York Times Co., which owns the Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette."

1 comment:

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