PRINCETON — There was no traffic jam but plenty of horns were honking on Mercer Street Thursday afternoon.
Members of the Communication Workers of America Local 2276 held signs encouraging passersby to honk their horns in support of the union in their ongoing negotiations with Frontier.
Previously, CWA Local 2276 held an information picket in Chicory Square in Bluefield. On Thursday, workers were gathered to let the community know about what they believed to be inaccuracies in the Frontier statement in response to their picket.
“We’re not on strike or anything,” Spokesperson Eric Childress said. “We just want to let the people of Princeton know our side of the story.”
CWA Local 2276 workers have been working without a contract with Frontier since October 2011. The latest contract proposal from Frontier is at the center of the dispute. Mainly, workers are concerned about proposed changes in their health care plans.
“We are not demanding free healthcare,” Executive Vice President Renee Scott said in a prepared statement. “We simply want the company to leave the structure of our current plan alone.”
According to the statement by Scott, the proposed changes from Frontier would lead to cost increases for their members.
Scott’s statement said, “[Frontier] touch on copay increases for primary and specialty care, which they manage to represent fairly. However they fail to mention that if we accept their contract our cost for tests such as MRI’s, CT scans and PET scans would change from a copay to 10% coinsurance. A PET scan can run anywhere from $850 to $4,000 according to the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, meaning our cost could be $85 to $400 per test.
“When talking about “proposed minimal increases” for prescription drugs they conveniently omit the numbers on 90 day mail order supplies. Formulary drugs would increase from $50 to $87.50 by 2015, a 43% increase. Non-formulary drugs would go from $50 to $112.50 by 2015. That’s a 56% increase. “Other drugs” would jump from $50 to $150, 200% more than we pay now.”
Frontier Communications did not immediately return a call asking for a statement on the negotiations with the union. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.