On June 4-7, Labor Education and Research Now (LEARN) held a customized advanced labor studies program for the National Labor Office of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBS) at The Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick. Approximately 15 of BCBS’s labor account sales executives from across the U.S. participated in the program and explored collective bargaining and healthcare industry transformations in order to meet the challenges encountered in their work. The program culminated in a graduation ceremony, during which participants received a certificate of completion.
“Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only health insurance company with a National Labor Office,” says School of Management and Labor Relations Dean Susan Schurman, who led a session on strategic planning and value-based organizations. “Unions and unionized employers are major purchasers of health insurance. The NLO of the Blues believe that if their sales execs have a deeper understanding of the collective bargaining process and the challenges faced by employers and unions in today’s economy, they’ll be better equipped to help them find good health care solutions.”
Several SMLR faculty members and expert practitioners in labor relations (see complete list of speakers below) spoke during each session. Professor Jeff Keefe conducted an engaging mock collective bargaining session, allowing participants to delve deeper into the process.
Roberta Reardon, co-president of SAG/AFTRA, explained some of the problems faced by multiemployer health care plans in the entertainment industry. In addition, Vince Giordano, executive director of the New Jersey Education Association, discussed challenges in the public sector collective bargaining environment.
“The quality of speakers was spot on. It’s amazing that all these experts were able to be brought together,” says Christian Fern, a program graduate from BCBS of Hawaii.
Lynni Wenborn from Blue Cross Blue Shields of Georgia also believes that the program was beneficial for executives. She says, “It was an excellent program and pertinent to what I’m doing at work. There are a lot of different bargaining techniques that I’ll take away and be able to use.”
Rutgers Faculty Members
Susan J. Schurman, Ph.D. School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University. Professor Schurman is an expert on interest-based negotiations, , life-long learning, and strategic planning and thinking.
Adrienne Eaton, Ph.D. School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University. Professor Eaton is an expert on interest-based collective bargaining, labor and management collaboration, and the healthcare industry.
Jeffrey H. Keefe, Ph.D. School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University. Professor Keefe is an expert on collective bargaining, public sector employee compensation, and healthcare policy.
Joel C. Cantor, Ph.D. Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University. Professor Cantor is an expert on healthcare insurance market regulation and delivery system performance.
Henry A. Coleman, Ph.D. Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University. Professor Coleman is an expert of state and local public finance and budgeting for public policy.
Dr. Peter Carmel, M.D. is a pediatric neurosurgeon and Professor at the University Hospital of the New Jersey Medical School and the President of the American Medical Association.
Mr. Gordon Pavy is the former director of the Collective Bargaining Department of the AFL-CIO and the former president of Labor and Employment Relations Association.
Ms. Bonnie Summers is the Executive Director of the National Labor Office of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
Mr. Jack Sweeney is theDirector of Mediation Services for the Northeastern Region section of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
Mr. Vince Giordano is the Executive Director of the New Jersey Education Association.
Ms. Roberta Reardon is the National Co-President SAG/AFTRA and a Vice President of the AFL-CIO. She serves on the Arts & Entertainment committee of the New York State Federation of the AFL-CIO.
Labor Education and Research Now (LEARN) is the continuing studies division of Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations’ Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations. Find out more about LEARN: www.ilearn.rutgers.edu
LEARN held a customized advanced labor studies program for the National Labor Office of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBS). The program culminated in a graduation ceremony for approximately 15 BCBS labor account sales executives.