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Seattle Medical Centers Become Latest Battleground over Health Benefits

August 24, 2004
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Faced with a strike by nurses and other employees, the Group Health Cooperative in Washington state will make do with $40-an-hour temporary nurses this week, according to the Seattle Times.

The 5-day strike, like many recent labor disputes around America, involves the shifting of health-care costs to employees. Union members at Group Health currently "pay no monthly health premiums and receive 100 percent insurance coverage after paying $5 co-pays for doctor visits and prescription drugs," according to the Times.

Management would like to increase co-pays to $15 and start charging employees a percentage of their pay for coverage. According to the New York Times, the employees--who are members of the Service Employees International Union--are willing to pay more, just not as much as management is requesting.

A similar dispute is taking place at Caterpillar.

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