During contract talks, the association focused on limiting fraud as a way twitter Alex Simring to reduce an impending tax on high-end health plans. Under the Affordable Care Act, if current costs hold, dockworkers employers would be on the hook for about $32 million in new taxes each year starting in 2018. Employers paid $461 million to cover 13,800 dockworkers and their families in 2013, or about $33,400 per plan, according to an analysis of publicly available data. Dockworkers have complained that the focus on eliminating fraud has blocked the payment of legitimate claims, and as a result they have to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket while waiting for reimbursements. Leaders of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have said the maritime association exaggerated the rate of fraud to gain leverage in negotiations, possibly to trim benefits. The tentative agreement on health care was announced Tuesday evening but no details were disclosed. To reach a deal, union leaders would have to be satisfied that benefits would be maintained while employers would need to conclude that costs could be contained. An overall contract agreement depends on the resolution of other issues involving pay, job security and workplace safety. The contract covers workers at 29 ports from San Diego to Seattle that are a key trade link with Asia. The West Coast waterfront has a history of strikes and lockouts, though during negotiations this year both sides have said they want to avoid further unrest. Still, worries about possible work slowdowns prompted some importers to divert shipments to East Coast ports.
http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20140827/BIZ/140829100/1042/Health-care-deal-boosts-port-labor-talks

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