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BlueCross BlueShield reaches tentative deal with unions

By Eileen Buckley

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wbfo/local-wbfo-976767.mp3

Buffalo, NY – BlueCross BlueShield reached a tentative agreement with representatives of Local 212 of the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) early Friday morning.

It is a new, three year collective bargaining agreement.

"As we stated from the outset, we were determined to resolve our differences at the bargaining table," said Julie Snyder, Director, Corporate Relations for BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York. "After nearly forty (40) hours of bargaining over the last three days, that is precisely what the parties did."

390 employees have been locked out of their jobs when their union contract expired April 26th. The agreement must now be ratified by employees. If approved, the agreement will end the lock out and employees will be advised by their union of the date of their return to work.

The unionized workers conduct various clerical, support, customer service and claim processing. "We are very pleased that we have reached a tentative agreement," Melissa Tucker, Vice President of Employee and Labor Relations, stated, "Obviously, these negotiations were very complex, but we are satisfied with the results."

Blue Cross Blue Shield, OPEIU and BCBS of WNY have met 38 times to negotiate a new deal since February 15th.