Monday, July 09, 2007

UPS denies gay partner benefits

I have been contemplating the service my firm uses for overnight delivery services. It appears that UPS just took itself off of the list of possible replacement carriers.

A company that provides health care coverage to married gay couples in Massachusetts has denied the same benefits to a couple who entered a civil union in New Jersey. United Parcel Service's decision to deny coverage to a Toms River couple boils down to a single word: New Jersey law does not call them "spouses."

"We were supposed to be treated equally. We should be treated equally," said Heather Aurand, who was denied health care coverage by UPS, which employs Aurand's civil union partner, Gabriael "Nickie" Brazier. In its letter denying coverage, UPS said it does provide health benefits to its employees' spouses, including spouses of the same sex who are married in Massachusetts. But it said New Jersey's decision to recognize same-sex relationships as civil unions rather than marriages tied its hands.

UPS's explanation is pretty lame inasmuch as even here in Virginia - hardly a gay friendly state, a number of corporations provided gays with domestic partnership benefits. Sounds to me like UPS is merely trying to save money. See the full story at:


BostonPobble said...

Insert expletive here.

Anonymous said...

Wait. The logic is sound.

Once the law "allows" civil unions, then to persist with "domestic benefits" opens the company to special treatment, unequal opportunity, favored employment, and all sorts of legal challenges. UPS is NOT yanking our chain, this is a real problem.

LESSON: ALL OR NOTHING. Besides, "benefits" by all GLBT's partners are still taxable on the federal level as "unearned income," unlike that of spouses, even in MA, NJ, CA, etc.

Anonymous said...

Here's UPS's response. First, UPS does provide benefits to domestic partners. As a matter of corporate policy, UPS currently offers same sex benefits to all non-union employees -- management as well as administrative workers. This includes all such employees in NJ, even though the state has failed to recognize gay partner as married spouses. Beyond health care, UPS also offers benefits such as medical leave, pension rights, funeral leave and other that are beyond what's required.

In the case of drivers, the situation is different because those workers are part of a union. Any changes have to be part of acollective bargaining process. Or it violates the NLRB regulations. The current contract expires in 2008. Absent a law that specifically categorizes same sex partners as married spouses such as in Mass., UPS cannot unilaterally change a union contract to offer same sex benefits.

UPS has already brought this up with the union for their consideration. And UPS was successful in getting UPS Pilots to agree to same sex benefits during its last contract talks.

Hopefully the same will happen with the Teamsters.

Lynnette McIntire, UPS PR