Labor Law-Duty to Bargain-Disclosure to Union of Costs of Noncontributory Group Insurance
In the course of bargaining for a new contract with an employer, the union requested information regarding the costs and benefits of a noncontributory group health insurance program which the employer provided for its employees. Petitioner provided a breakdown of the plan’s benefits but refused to disclose its cost. Charging that this refusal amounted to a violation of the employer’s statutory duty to bargain in good faith about “wages,” the union procured the issuance of a complaint by the National Labor Relations Board. The trial examiner concluded that such costs were costs of production rather than wages and consequently did not have to be disclosed. The Board disagreed and entered a cease-and-desist order. On petition to set aside the order, and cross-petition for enforcement, held, order set aside. Only the benefits of a health insurance program are emoluments of value includible under the term “wages,” and an employer is under no duty to disclose the cost of an insurance plan unless the employees contribute to the financing of the plan or the employer interposes cost as a ground for refusing a demand for increased coverage. Sylvania Elec. Prods., Inc. v. NLRB, 291 F.2d 128 (1st Cir.), cert. denied, 368 U.S. 926 (1961).