Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Berkshire-Hathaway unit denied gay BNSF employees benefits in Washington State using same argument Jean Stothert did against Omaha cop union

(Via JMG)  Locomotive engineer Michael Hall and conductor Amie Garrand, of respectively, Pierce County and Vancouver have filed suit against against the railroad, owned by Warren Buffett's Berkshire-Hathaway, of Omaha (HRC score: 0), for refusing to add their legal same-sex spouses to their health plans. The railroad claims it cannot unilaterally change a collective bargaining agreement.
However, it wasn't clear why such discussions were necessary. An excerpt of health plan at issue, included as an exhibit to the lawsuit, says the husbands and wives of covered employees are dependents eligible for coverage. It makes no reference to whether those husbands and wives must be the opposite sex of the employee, and the company didn't immediately respond to an email asking why same-sex spouses wouldn't be covered under that language.
     Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert is using the same argument to deny spousal coverage to gay cops. Omaha's police union is not persuaded by her logic and will file a grievance.

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