LDRM counters the USW Plans

We sent our proposal for the USW plans on Thursday, LDRM had stated on Friday that it is not possible to adopt the USW plans (this year). Saturday they sent us a counterproposal, in it we get the same coverage and prices as the USW plans we designed but we have to stay with FCE.

We will be including assurances in the Memorandum of Agreement to make FCE step up it’s game (one such proposal is to have a designated LDRM contact to report FCE related issues to; ex.-unable to get questions answered/ get a rude customer service rep/ etc).

Please recognize that we moved them from 5-6% rate increases to keep the coverage the same, to drastically improved coverage for that same amount (employee only). The lower tier plans will cover more at a reduced cost (most coverage levels). They came this far because of your actions, they rearranged their coverage with their vendor because of your actions.

This is a win, it might not be the exact win we want, but the alternative at this point could be LDRM’s initial offering of our coverage getting worse for 5-6% more in premiums. * While this is not the outcome we all want, it is likely the best offer that LDRM is going to give us this late in the game.

Next year LDRM will not have the excuse of their contract with FCE, we will be able to shop for all of the benefits (and add some if we want), and we can take 100% of our business away from FCE.

We will have details for ratification meetings (at least one for each shift) within a day or two.

*LDRM has the right to push forward with whatever coverage they see fit if we vote this down as they must make sure we have benefit coverage on March 1.

USW Final Quotes

We have presented the final quotes to LDRM for review. We are anticipating another bevy of excuses as to why we can’t choose plans that actually cover care. Here are the prices and plan documents for you to review.

The PPO 80/60 Premium and PPO 80/50 Enhanced allow you to choose your level of prescription coverage, which are explained in the plan documents. The PPO 80/50 Basic has Prescription Plan F, the lowest available prescription plan. Your insurance premium total is based on your plan choice, level of coverage, and prescription plan choice.

Example: An Employee only PPO Premium plan with Option A prescription coverage would be $774.36 per month, or $357.40 per pay period. This would leave a residual $116.20 per pay period in H&W to be cashed out.

Things to keep in mind:

  • The PPO Premium is exactly that, a Premium plan, it has $20 copays for your doctor, specialists (Chiropractor, OT/PT, etc.), Urgent Care, and a $40 copay for the ER. All of that with a $300 deductible.
  • As much as we push that the H&W is your money (because it is), at “normal” job you would likely be paying 20% of the premium (20% of the above example is $154.87, and for the same plan you are getting $116.20 in your pocket instead.
  • With the exception of the PPO Premium plan, the plans were improved with while improving costs in most cases.
  • The increases that did occur are slight and should be offset by the copay and deductible adjustments
  • The levels of coverage might convince more people to carry insurance through these plans
  • When contractors change, our insurance coverage doesn’t
  • We have control of our own insurance plans! We can review and make changes to the plans as necessary for next year.

Here again are the comparisons updated with the new USW information.

FCE Standard Plan v BC/BS PPO 80/50 Basic
For those who don’t plan on using their insurance unless absolutely necessary

  • Higher co-pays – $50 office/ $75 Specialist/ $75 Urgent Care/ $200 ER
  • Higher Deductibles – $5,000/$10,000
  • Comes with Prescription Option F

FCE HSA Plan v BC/BS PPO 80/50 Enhanced
For those who use their insurance more often

  • Affordable co-pays – $20 office/ $40 Specialist/ $40 Urgent Care/ $100 ER
  • Half the deductible of PPO Basic – $2,500/ $5,000
  • Choice of Prescription Options

FCE Plus Plan v BC/BS PPO 80/60 Premium
Pay up front in the premium so you pay less when you need to use it

  • Lowest co-pays $20 office/ $20 Specialist/ $20 Urgent Care/ $40 ER
  • Very low deductible – $300/ $600
  • Choice of Prescription Options

Terms you should know:

  • Premium – what you pay per month/ pay period for insurance coverage
  • Co-pay – what you pay at that visit
  • Deductible – amount that must be paid prior to Co-Insurance will be in effect
  • Co-Insurance – percentage that is a shared responsibility between the insured and insurer
    The plan documents list how much the insurer pays as 80%, which means you are responsible for the remaining 20% after the deductible has been met
  • Out-of-pocket Maximum – the most that you will pay out of pocket for medical services
    The PPO plans list a “Limit” which excludes co-pays, deductible, RX cost share, and amounts in excess of the “Allowable Charge”; and a “Total” which includes all costs.
    Ex. – if you have a procedure any costs paid after the deductible is met apply to the “Limit”, all costs of the procedure would count towards the “Total”
  • Formulary – an approved list of prescription drugs

USW Quotes for 2022 Insurance

United Steelworkers’ Insurance Fund (Highmark Blue Cross/ Blue Shield) plans were created to mirror FCE’s plans to give us a baseline for price. This is not a drastic change in price, as many of us hoped it would be, but the prescription plans have the ability to save all LDRM employees hundreds per year. We also have the ability to modify these plans an make them better, within costs that UE members feel is appropriate.

These are the initial quotes of the USW Insurance Fund’s BC/BS plans, we are reviewing a 5-tier system that separates the employee plus child and employee plus children plans.

These are plans that LDRM does not want to make available to all of their employees (QHDHP price is in the plan documents). The links below contain comparison charts, along with plan documents. The premiums examples on the BC/BS 80/50 and 80/60 plans include the top tier prescription coverage.

Election of the PPO 80/60 or PPO 80/50 requires election of one prescription drug coverage option.

FCE HSA v BC/BS Qualified High Deductible Health (Catastrophic Coverage)
For those who don’t plan on using their insurance unless absolutely necessary, pairs with an HSA. Everything, including prescriptions is 100% out of pocket until the deductible is met, then co-insurance kicks in

FCE Standard v BC/BS PPO 80/50 (Only covers after Deductible is paid)
Slightly better coverage than Catastrophic Coverage, out of pocket for services until deductible is met then co-insurance kicks in. Includes prescription co-pays (BC/BS plans offer six choices of prescription coverage)

FCE Plus v BC/BS PPO 80/60 (best coverage option)
Co-pays for Primary Care, Specialists, Emergency Room (FCE only), Urgent Care; Lower deductibles, lower out of pocket maximum

Any changes in the plans would be up to the members, so we would have the ability to say how much we are willing to spend for coverage, and what we want it to cover.
With that in mind, we have reached out to the plan to ask:

  • Why the employee plus child(ren) plan costs more
  • How much would the PPO 80/60 plan increase if we:
    • decreased the $700 deductible to $500, $200, $0
    • had copays instead of co-insurance
    • reduced copay amounts
  • Can the PPO 80/50 plan or the QHDHP plan be made less expensive (as these are the plans that people elect because of LDRM’s unnecessary group insurance requirement)

The outcome of 728’s arbitration (concerning waiving insurance) could raise the cost of our plans regardless of the carrier as a 10% change in the amount of covered individuals automatically causes a recalculation of rates, at the same time if LDRM is able to hire and retain an additional 75 or so employees between both facilities it would trigger a recalculation too.

Both locals will be heading to the bargaining table next year, 228 before the end of February (at or before open enrollment), and 728 before the end of October. This gives us the ability to negotiate what changes we need to offset things as appropriate.

2021-2022 UE 228 Executive Board and Stewards

Elections were run in August via Election Runner again this year, here are your elected representatives, and stewards. UE Stewards are our first line of defense, come join our ranks in the fight!

Bill Ladd
1st Shift

Recording Secretary
Anthony Comeau
1st Shift
Vice President
Diana Fuller
1st Shift
Secretary Treasurer
Dee Towne
1st Shift
Chief Steward 1st Shift
Shane Tassinari
Mid Shift
Tim Campbell
1st Shift
Chief Steward 2nd Shift
Beth Wheland
2nd Shift

James Clemence
2nd Shift

Trustee/ Steward
Celeste Brooks
1st Shift
Diana Fuller
1st Shift
Lily Moore
1st Shift
Camiel Bognnam
Carol Walker

July 10 Membership Meeting

This month we will be having our first in person meeting in over a year, we will be simultaneously be holding it via Zoom. We ask that you bear with us in case of any technical difficulties. Details were emailed to all members, make sure to check your spam folder. If you have never received any emails from us you can sign up for our updates/ newsletters here.
July 10, 1:00PM
155 West Rd. Portsmouth, NH

LDRM Doubles Down

After LDRM was informed by UE International Representative Zach Knipe that their actions “are in direct violation of the rights of union members to engage in protected concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act.” Also informing LDRM that “If not, I will be obliged to escalate the issue to the NLRB.” LDRM decided to follow PAE’s suit of hiding behind DOS and releasing the same guidelines that PAE agreed were not enforceable because of the National Labor Relations Act. PAE backing down on their claim of violating DOS policy, and correcting the issues addressed by the membership in those campaigns were the only reasons that UE 228 withdrew our Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). How will LDRM respond?

Take a look at some of the protect activities we have at work, then think to yourself “How many times has LDRM or a member of the management staff violated one of these?”

Section 8(a)(1) of the Act (NLRA) makes it an unfair labor practice for an employer “to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in Section 7” of the Act. For example, you may not

  • Threaten employees with adverse consequences if they engage in protected, concerted activity. (Activity is “concerted” if it is engaged in with or on the authority of other employees, not solely by and on behalf of the employee himself. It includes circumstances where a single employee seeks to initiate, induce, or prepare for group action, as well as where an employee brings a group complaint to the attention of management. Activity is “protected” if it concerns employees’ interests as employees. An employee engaged in otherwise protected, concerted activity may lose the Act’s protection through misconduct.)
  • Coercively question employees about their own or coworkers’ union activities or sympathies. (Whether questioning is coercive and therefore unlawful depends on the relevant circumstances, including who asks the questions, where, and how; what information is sought; whether the questioned employee is an open and active union supporter; and whether the questioning occurs in a context of other unfair labor practices.)
  • Prohibit employees from talking about the union during working time, if you permit them to talk about other non-work-related subjects.
  • Spy on employees’ union activities.
  • Create the impression that you are spying on employees’ union activities.
  • Promulgate, maintain, or enforce work rules that reasonably tend to inhibit employees from exercising their rights under the Act.
  • Discharge, constructively discharge, suspend, layoff, fail to recall from layoff, demote, discipline, or take any other adverse action against employees because of their protected, concerted activities.

PAE as a company learned from it’s mistakes for the most part, excepting when existing members of management went out of their way to cause issues. Unfortunately for LDRM they have the same management team that refuses to learn anything. They especially seem unwilling to learn that we are a union and they can no longer do as they please.

Solidarity Days

One of labor’s most useful tools is floor actions. While we are prohibited from taking some actions (work stoppages) by the “No Strike, No Lockout” article of our contract, we are well within our rights to perform other job actions. Actions such as hanging cubicle signs, changing your Teams profile’s picture to the UE logo, doing informational pickets (which would be organized beforehand), and wearing UE gear.

We want to show the company that we all feel that these “production standards” are unfair and we know it. The best way to do that as a group is by performing floor actions, we start with signs, buttons, and shirt/ clothing days.

It is with this in mind that we would like to introduce LDRM to Red Alert Wednesdays, and Black Out Fridays. A simple idea to show solidarity and unity on the shop floor. Every Wednesday wear red to show our passion for the work we do, and our steadfast commitment to ensure quality. Wear black on Fridays to show the strength in our resolve that doing things right the first time turns out more quality work instead of just doing as many as you can.

Until Wednesday, June 23rd you be able to put in an order for a UE shirt of your choice. These shirts will be COD, so if you submit an order you will need to pay for the shirts when they arrive. You can order yours here.

You can find cubicle signs here.

LDRM presents “Phase 2” production standards to local leadership

Summary: On Thursday LDRM met with UE 228 representatives (via phone) to present the company’s “Phase 2” production standards. 
LDRM’s Phase 2 plan includes both increases to production rates and a new focus on discipline for failure to reach those rates. While taking some factors into account in multiple areas, other areas that have backlogs LDRM plans to implement standards that are simply unachievable. Read on for details.

UE 228 E-board and stewards, along with our field organizer Zach Knipe met via phone with LDRM to discuss their Phase 2 proposal for “production standards” aka quotas. Representing LDRM was Rick Mills – Site Manager, Shawna Caouette – Change Manager, Mickey McGuirk – AOM, Greg Naffa – AOM, and Jamie Reinhardt – AOM. Rick stated that the intent of Phase 2 is to implement the ability to discipline for failure to maintain standards. 
Beth Wheland, Lily Moore, Celeste Brooks, Dee Towne, and Shane Tassinari spoke on behalf of the units that would be most affected by the implementation of these Phase 2 numbers.
LDRM was looking to slightly increase , Celeste pointed that out that their data for CP production numbers was based on a point in time when CP had additional coding in ART to cover for cases that had to be put in the hold queue and weren’t completed. This is important as now only cases that have been completed count towards your total. Celeste also pointed out that if you have a large case, think dozens to over a hundred pages, it counts as one case and can throw your numbers off for an entire week.
Beth and Lily echoed this concern for DR, and all UE members present questioned the drastic jump in the number of cases expected to be completed per hour in DR (an increase of over 2 cases per hour) considering we have had reports that the actual average of cases processed is around 4.2 per hour, which is below the current expectation of 4.5. When questioned about this Rick stated “Historically we have been able to process that many cases.” In this case historically means somewhere around 2012 prior to switching to the No File Review system, and switching back to full file review in late 2016. These numbers are also suspiciously close to the numbers that PAE wanted to implement in January of 2017, and was stopped because it was a unilateral change in our work environment. Since then the NLRB, under the guidance of former General Counsel Peter Robb, gutted a long standing precedent that did not allow for unilateral changes without bargaining. The upside for us is that LDRM’s focus during negotiations was on implementing an incentive system, and that our union contract maintains that any standards must be reasonable.
We also questioned the increase of 10 cases per hour for both Visas and Passports in FR as several members, including some who have been in Facial since its inception, are on performance improvement plans for quality. Which raises the question of how is someone supposed to improve their quality when they are expected to do even more. At this point Rick admitted that unlike other units where they removed the top and bottom 10% of processors and based their average on the 80% between, in Facial they just took a straight average of all workers. We did point out that this isn’t a fair representation of what they said they would be doing to calculate standards, and is not how they are calculated in other departments.
There were other increases in other units, some that seem drastic but are based on what is actually done/ possible. There has also been the introduction of standards on tasks that were listed in Phase 1 but not increased.
We made clear that we are well aware of the issues they need to address, and Zach clearly stated that the expectation is for LDRM to maintain reasonable standards as set out in the CBA and that it is likely we will grieve any discipline handed down for failing to maintain standards.
Management was given lots of feedback, which they have stated that they will review.
UE 228 has not agreed to any of these standards. If new production standards are presented to you by management please know that these standards (or any disciplinary action taken as a result of these standards) remain subject to the grievance and arbitration procedures and will continue to be challenged by local leadership.