More than 4,000 retired food store employees covered by a union-employers benefit fund saw their health insurance premiums double this month, and their union plans to protest the increases by picketing supermarket offices today.
Retirees will picket the Baltimore offices of the Giant and Super Fresh chains and the Landover offices of Safeway, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers union.
The supermarket retirees found that their insurance co-payments jumped from $80 a month to $171.95 in January.
"The co-payments were increased by the [plan] board of trustees based on utilization in 1990, but the union wants other alternatives rather than socking it to the retirees," said Joseph Kerhart, a spokesman for Local 27, UFCW, in Baltimore. He said the union hoped the picketing would convince the supermarkets to find a way to roll back the retirees' increases.