MORGANTOWN, W.Va., Nov. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cummins distribution workers and mechanics and their allies protested Cummins Diesel, Inc. [NYSE: CMI] at the West Virginia Mountaineers football game on Saturday. The protesters distributed educational information to game attendees about Cummins' poor treatment of its workers in West Virginia.
Cummins distribution workers and mechanics in Fairmont and Charleston, West Virginia, are represented by Teamsters Local 175. The workers' leaflets and banners stated "Cummins Wants West Virginia to Lose (Good Jobs)." Cummins is trying to force its Fairmont workers into its company health insurance and to pay $6,000 in annual health insurance deductibles for their families. This is a nearly nine-fold increase over their current deductibles in the Teamsters Local 175 health plan. "High-deductible health insurance has been proven to lead to worse health outcomes and it also threatens family finances," said Ken Hall, President of Teamsters Local 175 and Teamsters General Secretary-Treasurer. " West Virginia families and businesses can't afford what Cummins is doing to our communities. "The union knows Cummins will try to force its high-deductible insurance onto workers at the Charleston location, as well, once their current contract expires. Charleston workers and their families would lose access to the no-cost primary care center that Teamsters Local 175 opened in Charleston for union members of the Teamsters health plan." Meanwhile, Cummins executives at their Indiana headquarters get to use a wellness clinic that serves some employees there, but no similar program is offered to the thousands of Cummins employees at its manufacturing and service centers around the U.S. The latest Mon General Community Needs Health Assessment, which covers Monongalia, Marion, Preston, Harrison and Randolph counties, found that high medical costs due to inadequate insurance are the key barrier preventing patients from accessing health care in the hospital's service area, leading to area families deferring health care and seeing their health issues worsen. "This is truly unethical and unacceptable from a company that has made over a billion dollars in net profit last year, and whose CEO and top four managers raked in $32 million in pay in 2014. We know Cummins can afford to behave better, and we certainly can't afford to pay $6,000 in family deductibles," said Brian Quirk, a union steward in Fairmont. West Virginia residents, hospitals and utilities have been customers of Cummins for decades. Cummins engines power many of the pickup trucks, school buses, and emergency vehicles in the state, and backup generators at local hospitals, water utilities, and even at West Virginia University. Cummins' Fairmont and Charleston locations are major service and repair hubs for its brand and competitors' diesel engines in West Virginia. Recently, Teamsters Local 175 sent letters to Cummins customers, including local hospitals, to warn them of the contract dispute and the possibility of service disruptions.