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Information for NH Residents on the Proposed Anthem-Cigna Merger

NH Insurance Department Reviewing Plan in
Coordination with Other States, Federal Government 

CONCORD, NH – The New Hampshire Insurance Department is working closely with other states and with the federal government to review the proposed merger between health insurance companies Anthem and Cigna.

The acquisition of Cigna by Anthem represents a combination of the two top commercial providers of health benefits in the state. As the primary regulator of the insurance industry in New Hampshire, the Insurance Department is playing an active role in reviewing the financial aspect of the proposed merger and will closely examine the potential effects on market competitiveness in the state. This process will include an opportunity for New Hampshire residents to voice their opinions.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department has authority under its holding company law, RSA chapter 401-B, to review acquisitions that involve insurance companies domiciled or licensed in the state. An insurance company is said to be “domiciled” in the state in which an insurer is licensed (and chartered) to operate under that state’s individual statutes and regulations. The review process will involve both a financial review of the proposed transaction and a review of the proposed merger’s effects on health insurance markets in the state. The financial review will focus on Cigna HealthCare of New Hampshire, Inc., a small subsidiary of Cigna domiciled in the state, and on Anthem, Inc., the parent company based in Indiana. The markets review will focus more broadly on all the health insurance coverage Cigna and Anthem offer in New Hampshire.

image004Looking at the potential anti-competitive effects of the merger will be a crucial part of the Insurance Department’s review process.  According to the most recent analysis of New Hampshire health markets, the two companies involved in the merger are also the two largest companies involved in health coverage in the state; when both fully-insured and self-funded employer health coverage are included, Anthem accounts for 36% of the market and Cigna for 24%.  The Insurance Department has retained the services of an economist to help with the analysis of market impacts.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department will coordinate with other states, which have approval authority under their own laws, and with the U.S. Department of Justice, which also looks at the market effects of mergers. This large-scale review will take place over the coming year.

In New Hampshire, part of this process will include a public hearing, in which residents and other interested parties will have the opportunity to comment. Once a hearing has been scheduled, the Department will notify the public at least 15 days in advance.

The Insurance Department is accepting public comment. Emailed comments should be sent to Requests@ins.nh.gov. Written comments should be mailed to the New Hampshire Insurance Department, 21 South Fruit Street, Suite 14, Concord, NH, 03301, with “ATTN: ANTHEM-CIGNA MERGER.”

The Department will be closely scrutinizing whether this proposed merger would have negative effects on policyholders and whether it would hurt competition in the New Hampshire health insurance marketplace. Under state law, the merger cannot be approved if it will have significant anti-competitive effects, unless those effects will be offset by substantial benefits to the markets and/or New Hampshire consumers.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department Can Help

Contact us with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your insurance coverage at 1-800-852-3416 or (603) 271-1406, or by email at consumerservices@ins.nh.gov. If you wish to file a grievance, you may call, email, or submit a complaint electronically or by mail or fax: http://www.nh.gov/insurance/consumers/complaints.htm.

The New Hampshire Insurance Department’s mission is to promote and protect the public good by ensuring the existence of a safe and competitive insurance marketplace through the development and enforcement of the insurance laws of the State of New Hampshire. For more information, visit www.nh.gov/insurance.

American Postal Workers Union to “Vigorously Oppose” Staples/Office Depot Merger

APWU logo LRG

Washington – The American Postal Workers Union announced today that the 200,000–member organization will “vigorously oppose” the merger between Staples and Office Depot. “We will urge the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to block this monopolistic and unlawful merger now, just as they did 17 years ago,” said APWU President Mark Dimondstein. “And we call on Congress to weigh in with the FTC and the Department of Justice to stop it.

“A Staples takeover of Office Depot would lead to higher prices for consumers and store closings that would affect employees and customers alike,” Dimondstein said. “There are new grounds to block this combination as well,” he added.

In the past year, over the objections of the APWU, consumer organizations, civil rights advocates and teacher groups, Staples has begun offering mail services at its retail stores. In doing so, Staples has replaced highly-trained USPS workers with its own unskilled, low-wage employees. Concurrently, the USPS has reduced hours in some post offices and encouraged customers to use Staples stores instead.

In documents obtained by the union, the Postal Service outlined plans to transfer USPS work to Staples in order to reduce employment and hours of service to the public in neighborhood post offices. “The transfer of living-wage jobs to low-wage, poverty-level jobs is not in the public interest,” Dimondstein said. “Staples is an anti-worker corporation, and we don’t want to see its reach expanded. We will vigorously oppose this merger. It’s bad for workers and bad for consumers.”

APWU will begin reaching out to allies in the civil rights and labor communities to join the union in opposing the merger.

Since January 2014, the American Postal Workers Union and its allies have been staging protests at hundreds of Staples stores in opposition to the retailer’s deal with the U.S. Postal Service to offer postal services. A boycott of the office-supply store, which began in April, is ongoing.

For more information visit Stop Staples.com.

The American Postal Workers Union represents 200,000 employees of the United States Postal Service. The union is an affiliate of the AFL-CIO.

Transport Workers Seek a Seat at the Table in US Airways/American Airlines Merger Case

Transportation Workers Union Logo -TWUCase will go forward despite government shutdown

Washington, DC – The Transport Workers Union has taken legal action in federal court to protect the jobs, pay and benefits of its members, TWU President Harry Lombardo said today.

The TWU, Lombardo said, is seeking intervenor status in a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) against the proposed merger of American Airlines and U.S. Airways. The case will go forward despite the current government shutdown, under terms of an order issued on Oct. 1 by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.

“We represent workers at both airlines, and the livelihood of our members is at stake” said Lombardo. “That’s why we filed for intervenor status.”

More than 23,000 TWU members work at American Airlinesand American Eagle in seven crafts and/or classes, including: Mechanics and Related, Fleet Service, Materials Logistics Specialists, Dispatchers, Ground School and Simulator Pilot Instructors, Maintenance Control Technicians and Flight Simulator Technicians.

Three hundred employees of US Airways are also TWU members in the Flight Dispatch, Flight Crew Training Instructor and Flight Simulator Technician crafts and/or classes.

“TWU members have been involved with intense negotiations with current management at American Airlines and at US Airways,” said Lombardo. “We don’t see any reason for the Department of Justice to be involved in the merger process – but if this case is going to court, our members deserve to be heard.”

As a result of negotiations with airline management during the bankruptcy of American Airlines and talks leading up to a merger agreement with US Airways, TWU members at the new American Airlines will receive a four percent pay raise if the merger is successfully completed, as well as a 4.8 percent equity stake in the new company.

The TWU filed for intervenor status in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Sept. 30th.  On Oct. 1, Judge Kollar-Kotelly denied a request by DOJ attorneys for a stay of the proceedings due to the current government shutdown. Employees of American Airlines and U.S. Airways, the judge noted, “have a vested interest in adjudication of this case without delay.”

The Transportation Workers Union Elects New President Moving Union In New Direction

Transportation Workers Union Logo -TWU The Transport Workers Union of America,  which represents workers at major transit systems in cities such as New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco along with workers in railroading, gaming and commercial airlines — including more workers at American Airlines and Southwest Airlines than any other labor union — this week elected a new leadership team that promises a more aggressive approach in its dealings with employers.

Las Vegas – After a hotly contested election campaign, Harry Lombardo was elected by acclamation to lead the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU). Lombardo in his remarks to delegates pledged to take a more aggressive stand with employers, to beef up the union’s lobbying efforts in Washington and the states and to restructure the union in order to apply more resources and manpower to TWU and AFL-CIO -sponsored campaigns.

Support for the American Airlines/US Airways Merger

The new TWU International President voiced support in principle for the merger and strong opposition to the U.S. Department of Justice’s interference in the merger process. “The DoJ’s blocking of the merger has already led to layoff notices in Tulsa where we represent aircraft maintenance workers and blocked raises and the distribution of stock to more than 20,000 hard-working TWU ground workers at American,” said Lombardo.

“If the merger does move forward, and since management has committed to growing the airline, there is no reason that management can’t commit to protecting every job on the property,” the newly-elected president added.

Fighting Outsourcing in Public Transit and Commercial Airlines

Lombardo and his running mates also pledged to redouble efforts to fight privatization of public service jobs along with the outsourcing of aircraft maintenance to overseas repair stations.  “Our national political figures talk a good game about creating jobs,” said Lombardo, “but government has become either a sponsor of outsourcing or an enabler. In public transportation we are seeing foreign companies like Veolia and First Transit taking over more and more public transit operations. In commercial airlines, overhaul work is being shipped to China, El Salvador and other overseas locations with lower standards of quality and security and little oversight from the FAA and the Department of Homeland Security.”

Lombardo went on to say, “We’re even seeing companies like Southwest Airlines that historically have had good relations with TWU and a culture of labor/management cooperation push for increased use of low-wage outsourced workers who lack company loyalty and who are not part of the company culture. This shift in company policy has been clear in our prolonged negotiations for ground workers at Southwest.

We will not go quietly on this issue of outsourcing.”

Immediate Action

Lombardo immediately took several decisive actions that were approved by convention delegates. Among the changes:

  •  More control will be given to local unions in dealing with employers rather than through International and divisional officers. 
  • The union’s governing board, the International Executive Council, will now have a greater number of local union officers. Senior staff will be removed from the Council.
  • TWU will restructure to strengthen both state and regional conferences and reassign staff to serve these groups including additional staff to deal with political and legislative campaigns.  In particular, this will allow the union to be better prepared to deal with attacks on bargaining rights, public employee pensions and other challenges and to advocate for additional transit funding.
  • The union will invest more resources in strategic planning and research for contract campaigns. TWU also will provide training to its local leaders on better methods to communicate to the public and cutting edge tactics to bring pressure to bear on employers.

On Thursday afternoon, Lombardo will lead busloads of convention delegates and guests along with Allegiant Air flight attendants to a protest outside Allegiant’s Las Vegas headquarters. TWU recently organized flight attendants at the discount carrier but management has refused to agree to a first contract and the airline’s practices of leaving passengers stranded or routine hours-long delays has become an issue for the union as well as consumers.

Up From the Ranks

Harry Lombardo began his career as a transit worker in Philadelphia in the 1970’s and led Transport Workers Union Local 234 in Philadelphia as local president during a strike against SEPTA in 1995. Prior to his election this week, Lombardo served on the national level as the union’s International Executive Vice President.

A New Team

Joining Lombardo is a new team of leaders:

John Samuelsen, currently serves as President of the 39,000–member TWU Local 100, representing transit workers in New York City.  In addition to his duties in New York, Samuelsen will assume the position of Executive Vice President of the international union.

Alex Garcia, who previously served as the union’s political director and prior to that was president of an American Airlines local in Miami was elected to the position of Secretary-Treasurer.

John Bland, a veteran of TWU’s transit division and Gary Maslanka who directs the union’s railroad division were both elected as Administrative Vice Presidents.

Transition

Lombardo and the rest of the leadership team took office immediately after the election results were announced.  Each was elected to a four-year term.

Since 2006, TWU was led by James C. Little who announced two months ago that he would not be a candidate for reelection after the Lombardo slate formally announced their candidacy. Joseph Gordon, the union’s Secretary-Treasurer during the Little years announced a campaign for union president and fielded a slate of candidates, but withdrew from the race prior to the convention.

TWU’s 24th quadrennial convention is being held at Las Vegas’ Mirage Hotel through September 27.

Transportation Workers Union Call For DOJ To Drop Suit Against Airline Merger

Transport Workers to Deliver Petition with Thousands of Signatures to U.S. Dept. of Justice Offices in Tulsa Thur., Calling for End to Lawsuit Aimed at Blocking the American-US Airways Merger

Transportation Workers Union Logo -TWUJobs at American Airlines’ Maintenance Facility, Tulsa’s Largest Private Sector Employer Placed in Jeopardy by DoJ’s Misguided Interference

 Tulsa  – A caravan of vehicles driven by members of Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 514, employed at the American Airlines maintenance base, will deliver a petition with more than 8,000 signatures to the U.S. Department of Justice’s office in Tulsa on Thursday, August 29.

Airline workers and supporters are calling for the government to drop its irrational lawsuit against the proposed merger of American Airlines and US Airways.  The merger will protect good-paying U.S. jobs and give consumers the only real chance for competition with the Delta-United duopoly, which currently dominates the U.S. airline industry.

“We put this on the Internet a couple of weeks ago, and it’s spread like wildfire,” said TWU Local 514 President Dale Danker. “People just can’t understand why our own government is trying to block a merger that’s pro-competition, pro-consumer and that protects good-paying U.S. jobs.”

More than 8,000 signatures calling on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to drop the government’s lawsuit against the proposed merger were collected all over the United States, said Danker.  They are being delivered in Tulsa, where American operates the largest remaining U.S.-based hub for aircraft repair and maintenance.  With 6,000 workers, the airline is the largest private-sector employer in Tulsa.

AMR, the parent company of American Airlines, is ready to emerge from a difficult two-year bankruptcy process with a plan to merge with U.S. Airways.  The proposed merger would create, for the first time in years, head-to-head competition with Delta and United and an American Airlines more able to compete with foreign carriers.

“The DOJ says this merger is anti-competitive. Actually, it’s their lawsuit against the merger which will block competition,” said Danker. “Neither American nor US Airways alone can effectively compete against Delta or United, which means the duopoly will eventually control more routes, raise prices even higher and give consumers fewer choices.”

“If this merger goes through, it will protect the jobs of our members and allow us to give consumers excellent service and real choice.  If DOJ succeeds with its wrong-headed attempt to block this merger, we’ll lose jobs and income, and consumers will have fewer choices at a higher cost.  That’s why we’re asking Eric Holder to reverse course and drop the DOJ lawsuit.”

The union also has sent a letter to Attorney General Holder requesting that he meet with TWU members.

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