Powell introduces legislation to protect health care benefits for striking workers

HARRISBURG, Dec. 13 – State Rep. Lindsay Powell, D-Allegheny, has introduced a bill that would ensure Pennsylvania workers do not lose health care coverage while on strike.

Powell’s legislation, H.B. 1911, would prohibit employers in Pennsylvania from denying health care benefits to workers who are on strike and is co-sponsored by PA House Majority Whip Dan Miller, D-Allegheny.

Nearly 159 million workers depend on health care coverage through their employers, according to a KFF survey from last year. As a result, employees often end up paying an annual average of more than $7,700 for single coverage and $22,000 for family coverage through COBRA during a strike’s duration.

“Compelling employees to choose between job security and safeguarding their well-being and that of their families is a dire proposition,” Powell said. “My bill keeps essential health coverage in place until the employer and employees reach a mutual compromise.”

“Stripping health care from workers who exercise their rights to collectively bargain places a tremendous burden on working families, especially those with children,” Miller added. “I want to thank Representative Powell for introducing this legislation, which along with other bills we have passed this year, aim to level the playing field between workers and large corporations so that workers can exercise their rights and have their voices heard.”

House Bill 1911 is Powell’s first bill as a state representative.