UAW workers claim they were blindsided by health insurance switch

United Auto Workers members say they feel blindsided about changes to their health care coverage after General Motors announced Tuesday it would no longer pay striking workers.

Continue Reading Below

UAW is holding out even though GM shifted the costs of striking workers' health insurance to the UAW for the time being.

GM pushed back against the narrative that benefits are lost and that the shift was unexpected.

"Medical and prescription drug benefits are continuous, and benefits are even retroactive to the beginning of the strike for those that enroll in COBRA coverage," GM said in a statement.

UAW blasted the move as a way to "leverage unfair concessions." They had told workers they would qualify for specified health care benefits available through the UAW Strike and Defense Fund at the start of the strike.

Meanwhile, local news outlets have covered stories like those of longtime GM employee Dennis Urbania and GM employee spouse Laura Prater.

Urbania is waiting on a heart transplant and is desperately hoping he doesn't get "the phone call" while his insurance rolls over to the UAW.

"If I get the phone call today, I can't get the heart, I need catastrophic insurance. ... Am I upset? Yes. Am I mad? Yes, but there's a lot more stories out there than just mine," he told FOX17.

Earlier this week, Prater woke up from stomach surgery to find she was no longer covered.

"All of a sudden I am risking getting this major hospital bill we honestly couldn't afford," Prater. a Tennessee resident, told FOX17.

"We had no warning and in fact, I even verified last week before the surgery 'is this still a go?'" she said.

UAW insurance signups for members in Prater's area were scheduled for on Wednesday and Thursday, according to FOX17.


The longer the strike lasts, the bigger the losses that GM will have to face. The strike could cost GM at least $77 million a day, Morningstar analyst David Whiston told FOX Business on Tuesday.

The strike was in its fourth day Thursday.