The Present and Future of Collective Bargaining

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The Present and Future of HealthCare Reform and Collective Bargaining Agreements

Barry University
July 16, 2012

The current and future effects that the healthcare reform will have on collective bargaining agreements varies; before we examine the future affect of healthcare reform, it will be beneficial to explore the current effect of both healthcare reform and collective bargaining agreements. Collective bargaining is an activity whereby union and management officials attempt to resolve conflicts of interest by exchanging commitments in a manner intended to sustain and possibly enrich their relationship (Holley, Jennings, Wolters, 2012).

Collective bargaining is a special form of interdependent social interaction, in which the attainment of desired outcome by one party is dependent on the behavior of another party (Holley, Jennings, Wolters, 2012). Currently, millions of American’s have healthcare insurance through their employers which are part of their benefit plan. Many of these plans have deductibles and clauses such as age limits for dependents, pre-existing condition clauses and lifetime maximum amounts.

With the new healthcare reform many of the present clauses have been or will be eliminated which will have significant consequences for employer and employee contracts which will engage in the need for collective bargaining agreements. With the implementation of healthcare reform laws, future collective bargaining agreements will be re-evaluated, re-negotiated or enforced stronger.

In an article, Labor Issues Impacted by Healthcare Reform written by Harry R. Stang, given analysts’ predicts that healthcare premiums will continue to rise, some employers have begun to assess the practical, economical and legal issues involved in the termination of healthcare coverage. These issues are particularly complex for employers with collective bargaining agreements that mandate contributions to health and welfare plans (Stang, 2010).

This analysis is true because with this mandate employees are going to have to negotiate stronger contracts with insurance carriers, enforcing the new healthcare laws that currently and will be enforced. Stang further states that employers’ judgment as to future action will require analysis of the “pay or play” provisions of the reform act; the impact on recruiting, retention, and morale resulting from plan terminations, their legal obligations and the potential for economic confrontations with labor organizations seeking to preserve benefits built-up over years of collective bargaining(Stang, 2010).

Many labor unions with excitement are expecting that organizations will execute the healthcare law. According to the Service Employees International Union Blog titled Healthcare Law Leads to Better Care, Better Live. The affordable care act removes financial barriers to front-line care by eliminating co-payments for basic healthcare services (SEIU, 2012). This part of the reform act will benefit the patients greatly in a positive way. In the same way workers will also benefit greatly because the law is straightforward, as Carmen Morales- Board of the Service Employees International Union stated in her blog, “now we can focus on providing the best care possible, rather than navigating the limits and barriers posed by their insurance status (SEIU, 2012).

The future of collective bargaining agreements will be greatly impacted by the implementation of the healthcare reform because collective bargaining agreements will mandate that employers are developing contracts that will benefit its employees without minimizing their benefits. The future of healthcare reform and collective bargaining agreements will also be affected because employers are used to systems that are more beneficial to the organization versus beneficial to the employees. The presence and the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements will increase due to the new healthcare reform. This claim is further...
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