Local labor unions' positions on worksite tobacco control.
OBJECTIVES: This report describes local unions' positions on tobacco control initiatives and factors related to these positions. METHODS: A national random sample of local union leaders was surveyed by telephone. RESULTS: Forty-eight percent of local unions supported worksite smoking bans or restrictions, and only 8% opposed both a ban and a restriction. CONCLUSIONS: Support for tobacco control initiatives among local unions was higher than might be expected on the basis of previous evidence. Engaging unions in smoking policy formation is likely to contribute to the larger public health goal of reducing smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke among workers. (+info)
Coverage of smoking cessation treatment by union health and welfare funds.
OBJECTIVES: This study determined the level of insurance coverage for smoking cessation treatment and factors associated with coverage among health and welfare funds affiliated with a large labor union. METHODS: A self-administered written survey was mailed to fund and union officials. Analyses were conducted by chi2 tests. RESULTS: Twenty-nine percent of funds provided coverage for some type of smoking cessation treatment, with the odds of coverage significantly increased among funds whose administrators reported having received members' requests for smoking cessation treatment in the past year (odds ratio = 4.9, P = .05). CONCLUSIONS: Coverage for smoking cessation services is low, comparable to coverage offered by other health insurers. Interventions with union members and fund officials are needed to provide union members with access to affordable and effective smoking cessation treatments. (+info)
Occupational risks in Latin America and the Caribbean: economic and health dimensions.
This study analyzes health and economic aspects of occupational safety in Latin America and the Caribbean. Work-related injuries and illnesses represent a primary health risk in the region. Specific factors negatively affect work safety in the region: the structure of the labour market, the lack of adequate resources for enforcement, prevention and research, the hazard profile, as well as the presence of vulnerable groups in the workforce. This study estimates that between 27,270 and 73,500 occupational fatal accidents occur in the region each year. It also calculates that the economic costs of these hazards represent between 2 and 4% of regional Gross Domestic Product. The paper concludes by discussing public policies that could address this problem and improve compliance with appropriate safety standards in the region. (+info)
The benefits divide: health care purchasing in retail versus other sectors.
This paper is the first to compare health care purchasing in the retail versus other sectors of the Fortune 500. Employing millions of low-wage workers, the retail sector is the largest employer of uninsured workers in the economy. We found that retail companies are using the same competitive bidding process that other companies use to obtain a given level of coverage for the lowest possible cost. However, they are more price oriented than other Fortune 500 companies are. The most striking disparity lies in the nearly fivefold difference in offer rates for health care coverage. This shows that the economy's bifurcation in health benefits extends even to the nation's largest companies. (+info)
Policy without politics: the limits of social engineering.
The extent of coverage provided by a country's health services is directly related to the level of development of that country's democratic process (and its power relations). The United States is the only developed country whose government does not guarantee access to health care for its citizens. It is also the developed country with the least representative and most insufficient democratic institutions, owing to the constitutional framework of the political system, the privatization of the electoral process, and the enormous power of corporate interests in both the media and the political process. As international experience shows, without a strong labor-based movement willing to be radical in its protests, a universal health care program will never be accepted by the US establishment. (+info)
Health care reform and social movements in the United States.
Because of the importance of grassroots social movements, or "change from below," in the history of US reform, the relationship between social movements and demands for universal health care is a critical one. National health reform campaigns in the 20th century were initiated and run by elites more concerned with defending against attacks from interest groups than with popular mobilization, and grassroots reformers in the labor, civil rights, feminist, and AIDS activist movements have concentrated more on immediate and incremental changes than on transforming the health care system itself. However, grassroots health care demands have also contained the seeds of a wider critique of the American health care system, leading some movements to adopt calls for universal coverage. (+info)
Labor rekindles reform.
The health care crisis is back. There is intensifying sentiment across the country that universal coverage is our only way out. The labor movement has used historically such opportunities for change to win health benefits at the bargaining table and strengthen the social safety net. Eighty years of incremental victories and many failed attempts at major health reform have taught labor a crucial lesson: we must build a powerful grassroots movement to drive our effort to achieve universal coverage, or it is doomed to be corrupted by those wedded to the status quo. Now is the right time for reform. (+info)
The role of public employers in a changing health care market.
Public employers provide health insurance coverage to nearly 16 percent of all U.S. workers. Their reactions to rapidly rising premiums can have an important effect on local markets for health insurance because of their size, their visibility, and their reflection of public policy. However, public employers are constrained in their responses by tight budgets set by elected officials and statutes regarding due process, public input, and public accountability. As insurance markets consolidate and premiums continue to increase, public employers face tough choices regarding employee benefits. (+info)