General Motors will pay for striking union workers' health insurance

General Motors will pay for striking union workers' health insurance

General Motors will continue health coverage for 50,000 striking workers, the company announced Thursday, attributing reports they would cut off coverage during the strike to “significant confusion.”

“GM is very concerned about the significant confusion caused around our employee’s health care coverage. Throughout this negotiation, GM has said that our number one focus was on the well-being of our employees. That remains the case today,” the automaker said in a statement.

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“Given this confusion, GM has chosen to work with our providers to keep all benefits fully in place for striking hourly employees, so they have no disruption to their medical care, including vision, prescription and dental coverage,” the company added.

“If they have an insurance claim, they should submit it. GM will continue to provide them the coverage they rely on given the circumstances,” GM said in a statement.

Amid the strike by United Automobile Workers (UAW) members, GM put out a statement saying “while on strike, some benefits shift to being funded by the union’s strike fund, and in this case hourly employees are eligible for union-paid COBRA so their health care benefits can continue."

A representative for UAW said that it should not have taken news reports to get GM to reinstate health insurance.

“It should not have taken stories about UAW GM workers who faced losing their cancer drugs, or postponing their surgery dates for GM to see their workers as humans beings not pawns on a chess board," Jason Kaplan, a representative for UAW, told The Hill.

A source familiar with the negotiations told The Hill that GM CEO Mary Barra had made a decision to strip coverage from workers Sunday night and reversed herself amidst pressure from her executive board and negative media coverage.

Updated at 2:56 p.m.