Workers at Express Scripts, Inc. facilities in Bensalem, PA - members of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania - voted overwhelmingly yesterday and today to ratify a settlement agreement that will preserve approximately 400 jobs at the Street Road facility, reversing the Company's announcement of plans to shutter all of its Bensalem operations.
In addition to maintaining most of the company's workforce at the Street Road facility in Bensalem, the settlement provides a substantial severance package to approximately 500 workers facing layoff as a result of the closure of the Marshall Lane facility and some downsizing at Street Road.
The settlement resolves a months-long conflict between the company and the Union. Express Scripts is the country's 2nd largest pharmacy benefit manager, and SEIU is the largest labor union in North America.
"This settlement will keep hundreds of good jobs here in Bensalem, and make sure anyone who gets laid off will be able to provide for their families in this harsh economy," said Linda Chan, a Pharmacy Tech at the Marshall Lane facility, and a member of the union bargaining committee.
In mid-October, the company announced it would close the Marshall Lane facility on December 16th, 2010. Then, following the workers' overwhelming rejection of the company's previous final settlement offer, Express Scripts announced it would close the Street Road facility effective February 1st, 2011.
SEIU members have engaged in a national campaign to garner support and urge Express Scripts to maintain quality jobs in Bensalem.
The 2-year agreement approved today:
• Rescinds the company's decision to close the Street Road facility and maintains approximately 400 jobs there, with a commitment to keep the facility open over the life of the agreement.
• Maintains affordable, family health care in the workers' current health insurance plan.
• Reinstates, with back pay, the three workers who were suspended for activity in support of the fight to save these jobs.
• Provides a substantial severance package for workers being laid off - including a lump sum payment of $10,000 plus an additional week of pay for every year of service up to 10 weeks. In addition, workers will receive 5 months of employer-paid health care benefits or an additional $5,000 in severance pay, at employees' option. For an employee earning $12 per hour, the severance package is the equivalent of up to 10 months and 1 week of full pay.
• Gives recall rights for laid off workers if the facility reopens in the future.
"This has been a very difficult challenge. I am saddened that many people who helped build this company are being laid off. But by sticking together we saved 400 good jobs for this community and won an excellent severance package for laid off workers that most non-union workers could only dream about," said Rickie Stemley, a Pharmacy Tech at the Marshall Lane facility.
"I am proud that we were able to save these jobs," said Pam Rogers, President of the union at the two facilities. "The support we got from the community, other labor unions and people across the country was overwhelming."