Friday, May 26, 2017

How the Obamacare repeal could affect your employer insurance

Two of the biggest names in the health insurance policy, President Trump and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price. Source: AP
The Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the second major draft of the GOP’s Affordable Care Act repeal bill, the American Health Care Act, threw more gas on the fire in an already raging health care debate in Washington.
The medical community slammed it. A big group of medical associations led by the American Heart Association, said it “puts patients last.” In the Senate, the bill does not look promising, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Reuters: “I don’t know how we get to 50 at the moment.”
The key number: 23 million people who would have health insurance under current law would lose their coverage by 2026, an improvement over the last version by 1 million.
That improvement also comes at a remarkable cost: the savings to the deficit has gone down considerably from $337 billion in the first CBO review to $119 billion. That means that while the new bill is estimated to cover 1 million more people, it does so at the cost of $218,000 each.
Beyond these initial numbers that cast a shadow over its current form in the Senate, the CBO highlights one thing above others: significant uncertainty.
Under this new version, the CBO tried to estimate how many states will ask for waivers from the Department of Health and Human services, which has indicated its willingness to give them. (The more recent version of the AHCA allows states, in 2020, to apply for a waiver to change the 10 essential benefits required under Obamacare to be included in nearly all insurance plans.)
The CBO, which surveyed states, estimated that half of the population would be in states that would seek waivers to loosen the essential health benefits (EHBs) or allow insurers to charge substantially more for people with pre-existing conditions who had a lapse in coverage—around 6.3 million currently.
Maternity care, mental health and substance abuse care, rehabilitative services, and pediatric dental benefits would likely be the EHBs that get the axe in some states, the CBO noted.
“In particular, out-of-pocket spending on maternity care and mental health and substance abuse services could increase by thousands of dollars in a given year for the [people buying insurance on the individual market] who would use those services,” the CBO said.
These loosened restrictions, however, may not simply affect the 7% of the population that buys insurance on the open individual market and the 20% that gets it through Medicaid, including the expansion. Any changes to the system through the AHCA could affect everyone who gets their insurance through their employer, which represents 49% of the US population.
Here’s what can happen, according to the CBO: Larger employers that operate in multiple states can choose a specific state to base its plan’s EHBs. This means if an employer wanted to lower costs, it “could base all of the plans it offers on the EHB requirements in a state with the waiver,” the CBO wrote. “That decision could allow annual and lifetime limits on benefits not included in the state’s EHBs.”
The report noted that estimating outcomes in these situations is “especially uncertain” given the complexity of how states could implement market regulations with waivers. However, it forecasts that states’ actions wouldn’t “noticeably” affect benefit offerings for employee-based coverage—especially by smaller employers with small insurance pools.
With this uncertainty opening up for what insurance plans may or may not cover, should this portion of the bill make it into law, reading the fine print would assume even more importance for consumers as to what the health plans would pay for and how much they would pay.
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Monday, May 1, 2017

XPO Workers in Trenton, New Jersey Vote to Join Teamsters Local 701

XPO drivers in Trenton, New Jersey voted to join Teamsters Local 701 on Friday, April 14, boosting momentum to a nationwide workers' campaign for fairness at the giant transportation and logistics company.
Also voting on Friday, April 14, drivers in Elgin, Illinois and dockworkers in Aurora, Illinois were not successful at this time seeking Teamster representation. The actions of XPO and its high-priced union busters has been egregious and suspect throughout the company's campaigns and will be challenged through the National Labor Relations Board.
The 34 drivers in Trenton join the hundreds of workers nationwide who have already formed their union as Teamsters. The earlier victories were in Aurora (drivers); Miami; Laredo, Texas; Vernon, Calif.; North Haven, Conn.; and King of Prussia, Pa.
"The victory in Trenton and the company's desperate actions in Illinois show that the XPO workers' campaign is getting stronger and stronger, as freight, warehouse and port drivers fight for a more secure future," said Ernie Soehl, Director of the Teamsters National Freight Division, who is also President of Local 701 in North Brunswick, New Jersey. "The workers help make XPO very successful and they deserve to be rewarded for their hard work."
The drivers are seeking decent and affordable health insurance, a secure retirement, job security and a voice on the job. Port, freight and warehouse workers at XPO are coming together across the country in their fight for a more secure future.

Friday, March 31, 2017

FYI Your Labor Rights

Are you a California worker whose employment rights have been violated?
California labor law protects the rights of employees to fair wages and proper working conditions. Employers who break these laws face stiff penalties and in most cases must compensate employees for these violations.
If you were subject to any of the following California employment law violations within the past 2 to 3 years, you have rights – and you don’t have to take on the company alone. Complete the form on this page for a free and confidential case evaluation by a California labor law attorney to see if you have a claim.
  • Unpaid Overtime
  • Unpaid Wages
  • Off-the-Clock Work
  • Misclassification
  • Missed Meals & Breaks
  • Donning & Doffing
  • Tip Pooling

California Labor Laws: Overtime

California overtime law requires employers to pay overtime at a rate of one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for every hour worked beyond 8 hours in a single day or 40 hours in a single week. State law also requires:
  • One and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay for the first 8 hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek; and
  • Double the employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 12 hours in any workday and for all hours worked in excess of eight on the seventh consecutive day of work in a workweek.
Salaried employees must also be paid overtime unless they meet the requirements for exempt status.

California Labor Laws: Breaks

California break laws entitle nonexempt employees to a 30-minute off-duty lunch break if they work more than 5 hours in a workday, and 10-minute breaks every 4 hours worked. A second 30-minute meal break must be provided if an employee works more than 10 hours.
California lunch break law also requires that employers do the following during the meal period:
  • Relieve employee of all duty.
  • Relinquish control over the employee’s activities.
  • Permit them a reasonable opportunity to take an uninterrupted 30-minute break.
  • Does not impede or discourage the employee from doing so.
In certain circumstances, an on-duty meal period is allowed if it meets the following conditions:
  • The nature of the work prevents an employee from being relieved of all duty.
  • It was agreed to in writing by the employee.
  • It must be paid.
  • It can be revoked at any time in writing by the employee, except under Wage Order 14 (Agricultural Occupations).
California break laws provide the following protections for workers:
Missed Meal Break: For each workday that you were not provided a meal period, as required, your employee must pay you one additional hour of pay at your regular rate. You have up to three years to claim unpaid wages.
Missed Rest Break: If a rest break is not given, you are owed one hour of pay, which must be included in the next paycheck.

Off-the-Clock Work

Federal and state labor laws prohibit employers from allowing employees to do off-the-clock work without pay – whether they know about the work or should have known about it, or whether the work was required or not. This includes preshift and postshift duties, including time waiting for work.

Join a Free Class Action Lawsuit Investigation

Work laws in California are some of the most generous in the country, but they can also be difficult to navigate. Speaking with a California labor law attorney can help you determine if you meet the requirements to seek backpay of unpaid overtime, minimum wage, missed lunch breaks, or more. Obtain a free case evaluation from one and see if you qualify to join a class action lawsuit against an offending company by filling out the form at the top of this page now.
This investigation impacts California employees only. If you reside outside of California, please click here to submit your information to an employment attorney in your state.



If you qualify, a California labor law attorney will contact you to discuss the details of your potential case at no charge to you.
If you do NOT live in California, click here to join a class action lawsuit investigation in your state.
Please Note: If you want to participate in this investigation, it is imperative that you reply to the law firm if they call or email you. Failing to do so may result in you not getting signed up as a client, if you potentially qualify, or getting you dropped as a client.
E-mail any problems with this form to:

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

XPO Union Busting at Their Worst, A True Story

Please forward and share with all immediately! It's time to stand up and rally around our co-worker Tommy Bower.

Attention Trenton and all of XPO  Driver's,

In case you didn't know last night the union buster got very aggressive in the meeting, threw his paperwork and books, jumped around the table and got directly into Stan's face. The union buster was inches from Stan's face violating his personal space and proceeded to verbally attack Stan. He did this with Tommy last week and this time when Tommy came out of the meeting he felt sick, he was taken to the hospital and they told him he had suffered a heart attack.  This goes to show how desperate the company is trying to keep us from having a voice and voting YES on April 14. Please keep Tommy in your prayers and when we get the room # and visiting hours I will let everyone know.

Bruce Ryan
PS: My prayers go out to Stan and his family to that everything will be fine. Amen.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


16 Feb 2017
At Will Employment California law provides that your employer can terminate you at any time, for any legal reason, so long as you are not employed under a contract for a specified term. In other words, pursuant to Labor Code section 2922, your employer can fire you at its own will for almost any reason, and at any time of its choosing. Likewise, the law provides that you, as an employee, can also quit your job at any time, and for any reason. Therefore, by way of example, your employer can fire you because he/she: simply doesn’t like you, thinks you are chatty, is in a bad mood, and/or was upset that you didn’t make coffee in the morning. No fair treatment or warning is necessary. No objective evaluations or preferential reassignments required. Your employer can act peremptorily, arbitrarily or inconsistently, and without good cause when terminating you. So long as your employer did not fire you for an unlawful reason, your employer was likely within its right to do so.
The At Will Rule Also Extends to Demotions and Pay cuts
The employer’s right to terminate “at-will” also includes the right to make prospective changes to the terms of employment agreement as well. This means that your employer can demote you, and cut your pay at any time, and for any lawful reason. The pay cut, however, must be prospective and not retroactive (they cannot cut your prior earnings).
The At Will Employment California Presumption
Pursuant to Labor Code § 2922, there is a rebuttable presumption baked into the law that an employment with no specified term may be terminated at the will of either the employer or employee. Employment for a specified term is defined as employment for a period greater than a month. At trial, therefore, it is the burden of the employee to present evidence to prove that the employment was not at-will.
What Evidence Will Defeat the At Will Employment California Presumption?
To overcome the at-will presumption, a claimant must present evidence of an employment contract (express or implied) providing a fixed term (i.e. agreement providing 6 months, etc., of employment). Alternatively, a claimant can present evidence that an express or implied employment agreement provided that the employer could only terminate an employee for cause. Absent such evidence, the presumption of an at will employment California relationship will prevail, thereby allowing the employer to discharge an employee at any time, with or without notice, and for any lawful reason. It is therefore very important that you review any and all documents that you signed during your employment (i.e. employee handbook, policies, etc). If you cannot find these documents you can request them, and your employer is legally obligated to provide them to you. If your employer made written promises (through emails, text message, or other correspondence) to you, it is crucial that you review and retain those records as well.
Promises of a Bonus Dependent Upon Continued Employment
Even if your employer promised you a bonus for working a specified length of time of continued employment (I.E. Bonus provided after 6 months of employment), they may still fire you, and it will not affect the at will employment relationship. But if you were terminated without cause before completing all the terms of the bonus agreement, you may recover at a pro-rata portion of the bonus previously promised to you. (Schachter v. Citigroup, Inc. (2009) 47 C4th 610, 622, 101 CR3d 2, 12.)
Voluntary Resignation: On the other hand, if you voluntarily resigned before the completion date of the bonus agreement you are not entitled to receive any share of the bonus. (Schachter v. Citigroup, Inc. (2009) 47 C4th 610, 622, 101 CR3d 2, 12.)
Stock Options: An at-will employee that is terminated does not have rights to stock options that were not fully vested at the time of termination, and that were dependent on the continuation of employment. (Oracle Corp. v. Falotti (9th Cir. 2003) 319 F3d 1106, 1111). The same result holds true for at-will employees who voluntarily resign prior to their stock options vesting. (Schachter v. Citigroup, Inc., supra, 47 C4th at 621-622, 101 CR3d at 12)