LOCAL 376 AT COLT FIREARMS
WEST HARTFORD, CONN
Members of UAW local unions and regions across the country are working hard to win health care for all — from passing resolutions and working with local coalitions to win statewide single-payer systems to getting state legislatures to endorse a proposed congressional bill that would extend Medicare coverage to all Americans.
In Connecticut, UAW Region 9A has come up with a new tactic for building this growing grassroots movement: bargaining for universal health care, or more specifically, bargaining to get UAW employers to endorse the concept.
The region’s first victory under its new bargaining/political action strategy came with UAW Local 376’s new three-year contract with Colt Firearms in West Hartford.
With the agreement accepted in April, the 350 workers — who produce rifles and other weapons for commercial and military use — avoided paying health care premiums while getting the company to endorse Connecticut’s Healthcare4every1 campaign.
“This is a very important addition to the contract. Our health care system is in crisis,” said Bob Madore, Region 9A director. “The research and evidence shows that a single-payer system will provide universal health coverage for residents while benefiting the economy and businesses far more than building upon the current broken system.
“The position taken by Colt is socially responsible, reflects their commitment to all workers, and shows how the bargaining table can be a place for larger scale discussions about mutually beneficial economic and social change,” Madore added.
Healthcare4every1 is a project of the Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, a labor-community coalition working to create a system for all state residents.
Under the agreement, Colt Defense LLC approved being listed as an endorser of the group’s campaign and allowed the foundation to publicize the company’s endorsement.