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April 17, 2014

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IDEAS for ACTION
Print Icon Jun 17, 2012

Contraceptive Equity in Union Health Care Plans


Action Ideas for UNIONS:

  • Enact an executive board or convention resolution, if necessary to proceed.
  • Formulate an action plan that alerts local unions and regional affiliates about the issue and asks them to take specific action (e.g., send out copies of the CLUW kit or specific pieces of the kit). Women's committees can be especially helpful in getting this issue out. It's also a great internal organizing issue.
  • Discuss the issue in education, communications, women's, civil rights and collective bargaining conferences.
  • Bring the issue of contraceptive coverage to the attention of health care administrators and union trustees.
  • Inform locals with Taft-Hartley health funds that they don't necessarily have to wait until the contract expires to take action.
  • Survey contracts to find out what is and what is not currently covered in plans (CLUW has a sample survey). Then target those plans that do not have contraceptive coverage, particularly units with large/national contracts.
  • Inform locals in states that have state mandates to cover contraceptives and urge them to find out if their plan is covered by state law. (There are 20 such states: AZ, CA, CT, DE, GA, HI, IA, MA, ME, MD, MO, NV, NH, NM, NY, NC, RI, TX, VT, WA.)
  • Encourage locals in states that do not have a state law covering prescription contraceptives to lobby for one.
  • Urge locals in states without contraceptive laws to contact their AFLE-CIO state federation and local Central Labor Councils and urge them to deploy their legislative staff to work with allied organizations in support of contraceptive equity legislation.
  • Encourage locals (especially those with women's committees) to support EPICC, the "Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act," S. 104 and H.R. 1111, which would establish equitable coverage for contraceptive prescriptions and related medical devices.
  • Run an article in the union publication.
  • Share what your union is doing on this issue with CLUW so that we can track your activities and "give credit where credit is due."

Action ideas for CLUW Chapters & State Organizations:

  • Include contraceptive equity on the agenda of an upcoming meeting encourage all union women to attend. Use the meeting to educate about the issue and to recruit new CLUW members. Make sure you have copies of the CLUW Contraceptive Equity Kit and distribute it.
  • Establish a committee to formulate and implement an action plan. If no appropriate committee that exists, then set up a task force on the issue, with the goal of achieving contraceptive equity in all union health plans in the area. Appoint a liaison to each union (a member might be most appropriate), who is responsible for bringing the issue to the attention of that specific union and keeping you informed of progress.
  • Assign someone to be the liaison to the state federation on contraceptive equity. Because state federations are "arms" of the national AFL-CIO, the state feds are bound by national federation policy (contraceptive equity is now the national AFL-CIO's policy, as a result 2001 convention action). CLUW President Gloria Johnson has written to each state fed president about the resolution's passage and asked them to follow through with appropriate action. You can take the next step by offering your chapter/state organization's help in implementing the resolution.
  • In the 19 states that already have a mandate - AZ, CA, CT, DE, GA, HI, IA, MA, ME, MD, MO, NV, NH, NM, NC, RI, TX, VT, WA - ask the state fed to communicate with affiliates about the issue and the mandate. Offer to co-sponsor a meeting with the state fed or a series of meetings in key cities across the state. Publicize the meeting/s widely. Suggest that they do a mailing to all their affiliates on the issue or run an article in their newsletter (and put it on their website).
  • In the 32 states that don't yet have a mandate, urge the state fed president to assign the legislative department to work on this issue. Pres. Johnson, in her letter, noted that she had given the names and contact information for all the state fed presidents to the state coalition working on the issue and told them to expect to be contacted. Urge your state fed president to work with that coalition. (CLUW chapters and members can play an important role in the grassroots lobbying effort on this, as well.)
  • Offer to co-sponsor a meeting with the state fed or a series of meetings in key cities across the state to work for passage of the legislation and to educate locals and members about securing contraceptive equity using federal decisions already in place. Publicize the meeting/s widely. Suggest that they do a mailing to all their affiliates on the issue or run an article in their newsletter (and put it on their website).
  • When you have your program up and running, contact the press and bring the issue, your activities and union victories (unions that succeed in securing contraceptive equity) to their attention. (CLUW has a news release on contraceptive equity. Please contact us for a copy.) If the state fed has a publication, make sure they recognize the unions that secure this benefit.
  • Establish an award for unions that obtain contraceptive equity in contracts.
  • Share what your union is doing on this issue with CLUW so that we can track your activities and "give credit where credit is due."


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