Two weeks into a job action by FairPoint Communications workers, the company says it has allowed healthcare benefits for those walking the picket line to lapse.
According to this Portland Press Herald story, workers were notified via memo that they would no longer have health insurance after Oct. 31, but would be eligible for benefits under COBRA, the federally mandated health coverage program.
FairPoint spokesman Angelynne Beaudry confirmed the information to the Press Herald.
“They’re not working for the company. They’re on strike. Most benefits, including medical coverage, require a minimum number of scheduled work hours to maintain eligibility. So when union members went on strike they became ineligible under the plan,” Beaudry said.
Pete McLaughlin, of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2327 in Augusta, Maine, said the action will create hardship for some union members who may not have other health insurance options.
‘It’s a tactic that companies use in these instances when there are people on strike – they cut off health care, send out COBRA notices. They’re designed to put pressure on people. That’s not a secret,” McLaughlin told the Press Herald.
FairPoint is headquartered in Portland, Maine.
You can read the full story here.