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Welfare & Pension strike continues, nearing one month

The company that administers health care plans and pensions for union workers is trying to take away those same benefits from its employees.


MERCER ISLAND, Wash. (Sept. 21, 2017) — More than 70 employees of Welfare and Pension Administration Services, Inc. (WPAS) have been on strike for four weeks because the owners of the company, which administers health care and pension benefits for union members throughout the Pacific Northwest, are demanding health care and pension cuts from its own employees. Owners are also demanding to end seniority rights and union dues deduction.

As the Mercer Island Reporter… reported… this week, the picket line remains strong and peaceful, as it has been since WPAS employees walked out Aug. 23. Since then, the company has been trying to administer union benefits using scab workers.

Striking mailroom employee Randy Henson wrote that WPAS is “a great company founded by — and in service to — organized labor,” but that the new ownership group doesn’t share those values and is negotiating in bad faith with the workers. “And now, determined to outlast us, [the owners] appear willing to sacrifice our company’s commitment to top-rate service to our customers.”

At last week’s community rally in support of the strikers, Seattle City Council candidate Teresa Mosqueda told them: “You make it possible for working people to live and retire with dignity… for people to have a living wage. We want you to have the same.”

TAKE A STAND! — Support these workers by joining them on the picket lines at 7525 SE 24th St. in Mercer Island. Pickets are active from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until the contract fight is satisfactorily resolved. (Staff members from the WSLC will be there this afternoon from 1-3 p.m.) ALSO contribute to the GoFundMe account set up to assist striking families who are experiencing financial hardship.

► Today’s Throwback Thursday photo — This is Richard Kafer, when he was a staffer the last time Welfare & Pension Inc. had a strike in 1988. Now Kafer is the union-busting president of the company. According to the union, he is demanding to take away seniority rights, eliminate union dues deduction, impose new caps on health care coverage and make it harder for part-timers to qualify for those benefits, and refuses to contribute to 401(k) benefits at a level that reestablishes workers’ retirement after they agreed to withdraw from their pension last year.

Feel free to call Richard Kafer at 1-800-732-1121 or 206-441-7574 ext. 3940, and tell him what you think of his union-busting demands.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!