Below is the press release from UAW:

On Sunday morning, the United Auto Workers Local 376 and Colt Firearms in West Hartford unanimously voted to accept a 3 year contract that includes an endorsement by Colt of a single payer system of health care for Connecticut residents – something that the UAW has been supporting nationally and in CT for years.

C.E.O. and UAW have been avid proponents of a single payer system of health care in Connecticut.  “It is by far the most efficient way to reform our system so that health care is universal, accessible and affordable, sustainable, portable and health enhancing,”  stated Beverley Brakeman, C.E.O. Director.

“We are very excited about this agreement.  Health care is the biggest issue on the bargaining table today.  To be able to use the bargaining table to discuss larger issues of social justice that impact all workers is historic and innovative.” said Phil Wheeler, C.E.O. President and Retired UAW Region 9A Director who lead a 4 year strike at Colt Firearms in the 80’s, largely having to do with health care, that resulted in one of the largest settlements for workers in the State.

“To our knowledge, this is the first big company in Connecticut to say they support a single payer system of health care reform.  Clearly Colt recognizes the need for real reform and puts their money where their mouth is.”, stated Robert Madore, C.E.O. Coalition partner and Director of UAW Region 9A. 

He continued to note that just today, Colt signed an acquisition to hire 80 new employees.  “This entire contract agreement goes to show how relationships can change when labor unions and employers partner together to keep jobs in the state and protect the health security of all workers in Connecticut”, Madore continued.

“Our health care system is bogged down by administrative waste, exorbitant CEO salaries and excessive company profits.  CT needs a single payer system of health care that provides universal coverage and strips out the waste and profit that is driving up our health care premiums and driving down the value of our health care dollar”, said Phil Wheeler. 

Wheeler cites examples just from the past month that point to such excessive corporate greed.  Aetna’s past CEO Jack Rowe and current CEO Ronald Williams collectively making $68 million dollars last year, Assurant Health Company refusing to pay for the care of a policyholder with HIV resulting in a $15 million dollar punitive damages award against them, and top executives of now bankrupt Mortgage Lenders Network barely missing a beat in their zeal to re-enter the mortgage business after leaving 900 CT workers out of a job with their health benefits severed. 

“It’s refreshing to have a large company such as Colt willing to stand up and say the time is now for real health care reform where everyone has access to health care”, states Madore.