I would like to start out by saying that I have been employed by Wegmans, working in the warehouse for 29 years. I truly appreciate the opportunity that I have been given to provide for my family over the years and especially in today's economy. But... providing someone with a job does not automatically entitle that employer to collect personal information about the employee unless it is directly job related. MY PERSONAL MEDICAL INFORMATION does not belong to Wegmans and they have no right asking me personal medical questions. Nor do they have the right to blackmail me into answering personal questions by charging me more for my health care if I refuse to answer the questions.
Unfortunately that is exactly what they (Wegmans) are doing. Why? The number one reason why, is that our union, Teamsters Local 118, is weak, uneducated and corrupt. They have not even attempted to prevent the Company from committing these illegal, contractual violations.
Back in the beginning of the year Wegmans passed out a survey to the warehouse employees about smoking. One question is on the survey, Do you smoke? If you answered yes, you were charged $5 more per week for health insurance. If you refuse to answer, you were charged $5 more per week for health insurance. I answered this survey because I had quit smoking a couple of years ago. I was still unhappy about the fact that Wegmans thought they could ask that type of thing anyway. I voiced my concerns to my union rep but to no avail.
Now we are being forced to take another survey about our blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Refusal to take the survey will result in another extra $5 per week charge for health care. So it was time to take a stand. I refused to take the survey. I told my Union Steward that if I was charged another $5 for health insurance that I would have someone charged with theft for unauthorized deductions from my paycheck. There will also be discrimination charges filed if I do not receive the same level of benefits as ALL other employees. I would file a grievance, but I can't waste my time.
In our last contract, the grievance procedure was purposely decimated. We used to have explicit language in our contract that gave the company only ten days to answer a grievance or they must pay it. Now, the length of time that the company has to answer a grievance, was extended by 50% to 15 days and the penalty for not answering was removed. So the Company does not answer the tough ones and there is no penalty. Yea Teamsters!!
A couple of contracts before that, our Union President and his underling, who is now our current President gave up the right to negotiate health care altogether and agreed to accept whatever level of benefits that the Company offered to the non-union employees. This concession was made without getting anything in return. It makes me sick just talking about it. It is no wonder that Wegmans thinks that they can do whatever they want.
Where is this all going to end? What's next?, asking me how many girlfriends I have and if I refuse to answer another $5 charge? Personally if questions are going to be asked, I think some questions about deviant sexual behavior should be asked. People at a higher risk of Aids should be forced to pay more too. Why just pick on fat people and smokers?