USWU President's Message

USWU President's Message

President's Letter Regarding Anti-Union Supreme Court Ruling

June 28, 2018

Dear USWU member,

As some of you may have already heard, a recent Supreme Court decision has threatened the pay, pensions, healthcare, job security and livelihoods of public sector workers. This decision ONLY applies to PUBLIC SECTOR WORKERS (those who work directly for city, county, state governments). You do not fall into this group; however you should be aware of this case since it affects us all. It weakens unions and hurts the middle class. As such, it is likely that the billionaires that funded the Janus case will look to push their anti-worker agenda into the private sector in the near future. 

The case, called "Janus," was backed by special interest groups seeking to weaken public sector unions by encouraging division among union brothers and sisters. Attempting to "divide and conquer" workers is not a new strategy for the super wealthy. In fact, the infamous industrial era robber baron Jay Gould once famously said, "I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half." But we're better than that. USWU members will stand together, united, to protect our rights. 

Let me be clear: these are dangerous times for working people, as we are under attack across our country. The rich have gotten richer. The voice of the American worker is heard less and less in the halls of power, and the working middle class is in danger of becoming a fond memory. 

USWU defends you against being terminated or disciplined unjustly by management. We have full time business agents devoted to your needs, and attorneys who, at no cost to you, spring into action to defend your jobs and contractual rights. Through our collective bargaining agreements, we have the ability to challenge unreasonable management rules. Your employer is required to negotiate with us if they want to make changes to your working conditions, and wages paid to our members are some of the highest for comparable workers. Everything you have is guaranteed in a legally binding agreement. Without the union, nothing is guaranteed. 

History is full of tragic chapters in which people collectively failed to recognize impending danger and act decisively to avert it, until it was too late. That is not going to happen to us. We must act together to overcome any threat to our wages, healthcare, job security and pensions. In the coming months and years, I will ask you to support our union's plan to meet this challenge. I will ask you to stay strong and remain a member of USWU. Your collective bargaining agreement and union representation are precious resources upon which you, your family and your co-workers depend. I have no doubt that you will do what is necessary to protect them.

In Solidarity,

Lori Ames
National President


United Welfare Fund, USWU President's Message

USWU President’s Message

“That’s what you have insurance for...”

“Don’t worry, my insurance will pay for it...”

How often have we heard or even used one of these statements? But, do you realize that the costs of health care impact you even if your insurance covers it? All the costs paid for medical claims are paid from the premiums that employers and members pay. When costs rise, premiums rise. It’s that simple. And, when costs go up, employee contributions towards premiums usually increase too. Even if the employer pays increases in premiums, that leaves less money on the table during negotiations for wage increases. No matter how you look at it, medical costs impact you. In addition to the out-of -pocket costs you pay, the amounts paid by your insurance still impact your paycheck. Thus, it’s important to be a smart health care consumer to keep costs down. 



  • Save on medications – purchase generic, mail order, and formulary

  • Talk to your doctor about your benefit plan to make sure services are in-network

  • Use in-network doctors and facilities

  • Grab the phone before the car keys: Can you be seen by your primary care provider for this health care need? Is a Specialist warranted, or is Urgent Care or Emergency Room needed?

  • Go to the most appropriate and cost-effective place for your condition (log onto for cost comparisons and quality rankings of providers/facilities)

  • Save money on prescriptions by visiting This site will help you find generic drugs for a lower co-pay or even zero co-pay.

  • Read your medical bill and explanation of benefit forms (EOBs)



By reviewing your health care bills, you will know what health care actually costs and could prevent your insurance plan from paying more than is necessary. Billing of health care services is very complex. For example, today, there are more than 14,000 procedure codes for physician services. Not to mention the numerous health conditions that could be diagnosed. Providers are human and billing errors do happen. Here are some things you should look for when you receive a bill or Explanation of Benefit (EOB) from your insurance company.

  • Did you receive all of the services listed on the bill?

  • Are they in the correct amounts or dosages?

  • Even though you might only be responsible for a copayment or small percentage, note the total cost of care and how much your insurance paid.

  • Avoid duplication and actively participate in your care; know what services you received and why they were done

  • For some services you may receive bills from providers whom you never see face to face – such as radiologists

  • When your doctor orders blood work, ask to have the test results shared with all of your doctors (any specialists you regularly see) to avoid double testing. You should also keep a copy of your lab results for yourself so you have the information in case you see a new doctor or need to go to a walk in medical center. 

  • Anytime you see a discrepancy or a questionable charge, contact the United Welfare Fund at 718-658-4848



Consumers need to play a key role in all aspects of health care delivery. Remember that money you save the Fund in unnecessary charges will help hold down health care costs – including costs you pay in the form of premiums, deductibles, and copayments. Learning how to use health care services helps to maximize your benefits. Leading a healthy lifestyle reduces your risk for the leading causes of preventable death. Being a wise health care consumer is an important choice in leading a long and healthy life.