FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, OCTOBER 4
Contact: Stephanie Haynes, 412-848-9033; or Matt Richards, 412-512-4943
Workers from Two Pennsylvania Express Scripts, Inc. (ESRX) Facilities
Traveling to Washington, DC on Tuesday, October 5th To Meet With US
House Committees, Department Of Defense, and White House Officials
to Stop Threatened Plant Closures
SEIU President Mary Kay Henry will welcome the delegation at SEIU Headquarters
WASHINGTON — A delegation of 30 angry Pennsylvania-based workers who’ve been threatened with the loss of their jobs if they don’t knuckle under to concession demands by giant pharmaceutical benefits manager Express Scripts, Inc. (ESRX) is coming to the nation’s capital to meet with staffers from key congressional committees, top White House officials and the U.S. Department of Defense, one of ESI’s biggest customers.
“We think our leaders in Washington need to know this highly-profitable
company wants to freeze the pay and cut the health care benefits of these workers,” said Stephanie Haynes, a Vice President of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, the labor union representing 950 workers at two ESI facilities in Bensalem, Pennsylvania just outside Philadelphia.
“While the White House and Congress are working to create jobs and put people back to work, ESI wants to either downgrade jobs, or destroy them altogether. This kind of corporate behavior only digs us deeper into the economic ditch.”
The company, Haynes said, is moving ahead with plans to issue a plant closure
notification required under the WARN Act on October 15th. The Pennsylvania ESI workers will meet Tuesday with staffs of the House Health and Education Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the White House and
the DOD and will be guests at a “meet and greet” hosted by SEIU International President Mary Henry which is open to interested reporters.
Express Scripts, which is headquartered in St. Louis, is the second-largest pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) in the United States. Employers and health plans pay PBMs like Express Scripts to manage pharmacy claims for employees and plan members. Last year, the company posted earnings of $1.7 billion, a 23 percent increase from the year before. So far this year, ESI has recorded $555 million in profit, up more than 50 percent from FY2009.
Haynes said many of the workers have been on the job for more than 20 years,
and that their experience is critical to maintaining high safety and quality standards.
She said the workers are especially upset that ESI CEO George Paz took home $12.8 million in total compensation in 2008, or about 313 times the pay of an average U.S. worker.
ESI (ESRX) is a publicly-held corporation whose stock is traded on the NASDAQ
exchange and its customers include many union health and welfare funds. It has contracts with many state and federal government agencies, including a $2.8 billion dollar deal with the Department of Defense to fill prescriptions for military families.
The company’s Pennsylvania operations, which employ large numbers of Asian, Indian, Russian and African American workers, have been under union contract for about 20 years. The current contract expires on December 15th.
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SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania is the state’s largest and fastest growing union of health care workers, representing 23,000 registered nurses, nurses aides and ancillary staff in hospitals, nursing homes and public health care facilities.