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Grocery Workers Locked Out of Health Benefits

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Grocery workers are entering their third week of a strike. (KWMU photo)

By AP/KWMU

St. Louis, MO – Schnuck's, Dierberg's and Shop 'n Save announced Tuesday they won't pay health insurance premiums for workers on strike or locked out.

That means hundreds of dollars in lost health care for thousands of area grocery workers. Those workers' union calls the move another intimidation tactic.

Other unions in the area have kicked off a drive to raise money for an emergency fund to help striking workers meet emergency financial needs. More than $27,000 has already been raised. The Greater St. Louis Labor Council has had the emergency fund since 1996, when members raised more than $125,000 for those involved in a long strike at McDonnell-Douglass.

The supermarkets say they are not willing to pay health-care costs for employees not working for them. Union officials also questioned the move, saying insurance premiums are paid two months ahead of time. That means workers' premiums are paid through the end of November.

But the supermarkets say workers will still end up owing money.

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