Verizon Strike Could Create Mountain Of Medical Bills For Technician From Long Island

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Almost two weeks into their strike, thousands of Verizon workers are faced with the possibility of losing their health insurance coverage that expires at the end of the month.

Verizon field technician Robert Baricevac of Kings Park, who had a kidney transplant 6 1/2 years ago, said if a deal isn’t worked out soon, he will have to foot the bill for doctor’s appointments and medications totaling about $3,000 a month.

“If I would stop taking medication, my kidneys would fail and I guess I would die. It’s pretty much the way it is — without medication, without my kidneys functioning, nobody could really live,” Baricevac said.

To make potential financial woes even worse, Baricevac and his wife also have a 6-week-old baby. He said he is “really hoping” that the dispute between Verizon and his fellow workers is “resolved within the next two weeks.” In the meantime, however, Baricevac, 37, said he would stick with his co-workers “for the greater good.”

“If we caved to everything that they said, we’d have nothing anyway,” he said.

Verizon argues that the issue of insurance benefits expiring shouldn’t be a surprise because unions leaders were fully aware such a situation would occur in the event of a strike. Through a spokesman, the company said that the understanding about insurance was worked into the previous contract.

Union leaders have made mention of helping striking workers with medical needs, but Baricevac said he has not yet reached out to them. However, he said he simply “cannot afford to have a lapse in condition.”

“I’m just waiting and hoping during the picket lines, just hoping that they come to some kind of agreement,” Baricevac said. “Nobody wants to be out of work these days.”

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

  • Jesus Christ

    Union for Life

    • God


  • Justice

    Many of you people are bitter fools. Sucking on a corporate teat? Who’s really sucking the teat when you don’t agree that a multi-billion dollar corporation which not only didn’t pay taxes, but received a 1.3 billion dollar tax REFUND, shouldn’t help its employees pay their health care? Have any of you ever been on Medicare? Anyone remotely acquainted with the healthcare industry knows just how fouled up that system is. There’s no guarantee of anything with Medicare.

    Moreover, this strike is NOT about paying for health care. The company did not even give their workers the option of paying for their current health insurance. This is about the middle & working class; this is all the other 100+ concessions the company demanded; this is about keeping jobs in America; this is about good jobs not just today, but for your children.

    Put aside the jealousy and negativity that is tearing this county apart and open your eyes to the TRUTH. Instead of resenting the few workers left who get fair compensation, support a better working environment for all Americans. It’s a shame that you would rather support an amoral corporation with endless pockets rather than the working class. How can you deny their intentions when they knowingly try to take health care from people who won’t survive without it?

    I could out-argue any of you, especially considering that your arguments are worthless and paper-thin; it’s too bad that the internet provides cowards with such a safe haven to say the things they don’t have the guts to in real life. I will not be checking back, but the truth now has been spoken.

    • Dale Auburn

      Read the article. We can’t blame management for this one because THE UNION AGREED IN WRITING to let benefits expire in the event of a strike.

    • real truth

      I could out-argue you. I could also out wrestle a bear and out drink a lion.

      • realer truth

        i could out-wrestle an elephant. beat that.

      • Joe Biden

        I can wrestle a WHALE SHARK from the ocean onto dry land.

      • Realest truth

        I can sit through the entire “Pauly Shore is Dead” movie. There is no way to top that.

  • John

    Who wants to work on a job with no benefits. Get fired because a manager doesn’t like you, Pay hundreds of dollars if you get sick., no sick time, little vacation time, no pension. All your income goes to bills. How can you live? You’re the working poor. This is what Verizon wants. They don’t care about their workers or families. They want to outsource jobs to foreign countries as much as they can so they can to keep the billions to the CEO and themselves.

  • Concern

    Unions, Charity Search Engines cents for Central Falls, RI & Remote Area Medical Foundation

  • beenthere

    if its that bad at VZ go find something else…the teet you’ve been sucking on is going dry stop the crying…there is no entitlement



  • JustSaying

    Too bad they can’t get rid of all of them and the union. Then hire people who WANT to work and understand what it is to get a merit raise, contribute to their own healthcare and a 401k retirement fund. One of the biggest problems with a union, ANY union, is that they foster a sense of entitlement. In a non-union environment, if you aren’t satisfied with how you’re being treated you are free to seek employment elsewhere instead of crying on the shoulder of your union leaders.

    • JM

      To Just Saying Nothing,

      It is because of unions that 9 year olds are not working in the coal mines anymore. It is because of unions that company owners dont pad lock emergency exits and subject people to real dangers in the work place. The Monday to Friday fourty hour work week was fought for by unions. Decent pay and benefits for the average worker was fought for by the unions. Verizon paid it’s top 5 executives over a quarter of a billion dollars. They are hugely profitable yet want over $20,000 in givebacks for each of their 45,000 unionized workers. To the short sighted ignorant people, try not to lay down like lambs when your profitable employer wants to take more and more from you. Try saying something when they sent your job overseas. Try fighting for something instead of being jealous of what others have fought for. All of us will be making minimum wage if we listened to jealous cowards like you.

      • Joe

        You took the words right out of my mouth! Thanks JM.

        My mom’s boss opened the bathroom door cause she was in there “too long”…Yup, they can get away with that in a non union shop…IT HAS HAPPENED!



  • Leon J. Mormann

    When you are a member of the union, you are expected to support a strike if one is voted for. However, if the union cannot handle your medical expenses you may wish to become a scab and cross the line.

  • Tyler Albert

    verizon made 24 BiLLiON doLLars in PROFiTS the Last two years thanks to the HARD WORK of skiLLed UNiON WORKERS of the C.W.A.. That equates to 1 BiLLiON doLLars a month; and Like G.E. paid no income taxes. On top of that, the Feds gave verizon a 1.3 BiLLiON doLLar rebate to boot. They shouLd have no probLem with taking care of their 45,000 empLoyees. But their CORPORATE GREED wiLL NOT aLLow them to.That same tax revenue couLd be used to hire more poLicemen,firefighters, teachers, & sanitation workers etc.The vz ceo makes $55,000 a DAy! Yeah that is not a typo. Sounds crazy huh? I doubt if he can hit a curve baLL or make a free throw. The UNiON WORKERS are the professionaLs who do aLL of the work in this scenario. bLah and gobLin this company wants to take back what this UNiON fought for fifty years ago. This UNiON has no use for peopLe LIke u2 who wiLL BOW DOWN to this GREEDy Corporation.They want to BREAK this UNiON. verizon wiLL NOT. The same ceo gets free Lifetime medicaL What about the WORKERS? When wiLL this hypocriticaL CORPORATE GREED END? $24 BiLLion in profits. What about the WORKERS?

    • goblin

      Oh please. You didn’t have to work there and Verizon owes you nothing but the paycheck you earned. Since when does entitlement become part of being hired?

    • Tyler Albert

      Someone hacked into my Facebook account and commented to this. THIS WAS NOT ME! I have enough sense not to bad mouth the company i work for on a public forum. i would like above comment removed asap. im upset that there is no way to remove this myself and no good way to contact someone from this department to have this removed

  • blah

    seriously, who’s the idiotic reporter that wrote this… we should file tons of complaints for negligence and his/her behind fired!!!

  • Grace

    An option for Mr. Baricevac would be to resign from the union and return to work. We all have hard choices to make.

    • blah


      • Niki

        that is not a true statement. Once you get the transplant you are on Medicare for 33 months. Then your personal insurance becomes primary again.
        And prior to the tansplant, your personal insurance is primary for 36 months.

      • blah

        niki… you’re talking to someone who has first hand knowledge… so blah blah blah. medicare stays on for 36months post transplant. but many continue to qualify as they met certain conditions!!! many do! so blah blah blah! and medicare remains active prior to transplant as medicare…

        Part A covers the following transplant services:
        • Inpatient services in an approved hospital
        • Kidney registry fee
        • Laboratory and other tests needed to evaluate your medical
        condition, and the conditions of your potential kidney donors
        • The costs of finding the proper kidney for your transplant
        • The full cost of care for your kidney donor
        • Blood (if a transfusion is needed)
        Part B helps pay for the following transplant services:
        • Doctors’ services for kidney transplant surgery
        • Doctors’ services for your kidney donor during his or her
        hospital stay
        • Immunosuppressive drugs (generally for a limited time after
        you leave the hospital following a transplant)
        • Blood (if a transfusion is needed)

  • truth

    omg! i feel sorry for Robert Baricevac… waaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! NOT! SUCH LIARS DO NOT DESERVE PITY! Now tell the truth! btw… the information is on MEDICARE’S WEBSITE! LMAO

    • real truth

      I am not LMAO. The real truth will be told.

      • realer truth

        do not confuse the real truth with the realer truth. the realer truth will be told…ps. the realest truth is a hack.

      • Joe Biden

        This is all very confusing. I will withold judgment untilIspeak with Greatest Truth.

  • Poul

    If nobody will strike, all companies will pay miser and there will be no medical insurances, no pension, nothing. The dream of tea Party and many republicans that labor will get payment us chines workers. Look. All federal; employee get very nice medical insurances, but they don’t wont that others have something

    • Bob Fowler

      I bet that if nobody struck, employers would provide better benefits to the employees that they valued, and nothing to those who don’t earn their way. Much like free agency in sports, the employers would be bidding against themselves for the quality employees, and those who are better will get more.

  • truth

    Government issued statement: In 1972, Congress passed legislation making people of any age with permanent kidney failure eligible for Medicare, a program that helps people age 65 or older and people with disabilities pay for medical care, usually up to 80 percent. The remaining 20 percent comes from NY Medicaid!

  • truth

    Robert Baricevac is a liar! Everyone who has kidney failure, on dialysis, or had a kidney transplant qualifies for MEDICARE AND MEDICAID! That’s free medical care!!! Such a liar! The reporter needs to stop being so one-sided and start being neutral!!! REPORT THE TRUTH!





      • Truth

        You mean ILLEGAL, apologies!

    • Jerryj

      Tony, Tony Tony,

      If unions didn’t play hardball w/ management service would suffer further AND Mgmt would get fatter and fatter paychecks AND all tele services would go to Pakistan further reducing jobs already scarce in the U.S.


  • Francis

    The strike vote before the deadline is usally a bargaining chip. The members may not really want to go on strike. From then on the members are at the mercy of the union leadership to take them out on strike. If there’s bad blood between the Union leadership and the Company they will go out and take the membership with them. Let us not forget the Union leadership is a separate entity and get paid and full benefits during the strike. They are separate from the membership and receive salary, health benefits and pension from the main Union organization. I know. I went through a strike in the 80’s. This strike may be one like that since no progress. no talks. A standoff disliking one another. It’s a diservice to the membership.

  • DEE


  • billrny

    Verizon has been a rip off. To pay over $75. a month for a simple internet connection is criminal . There ceo makes around 14 million dollars a year. on our backs. I support the workers, not Verizon.

    • blah

      the workers’ and their union are the reason why you’re paying $75. stupid idiot can’t think!

    • shebdoggie

      If their that bad, then why do you have them for your internet connection, just wondering.

  • goblin

    Well who told these guys to go on strike knowing full well Verizon isn’t responsible for their medical bills? Reap what you sow.

    • ProFromDover

      Actually, Verizon was contractually obligated to provide a health plan to union workers under the previous contract that expired. They will still provide medical coverage when a new contract is inked, but the membership will likely have to contribute a portion of the premiums. Verizon provides healthcare coverage to its management and non-represented employees as well, but no doubt they already have to pay a portion of it.

  • Joe

    Sorry Robert but VERIZON would rather see you dead along with your family before parting with any of their BILLIONS! I wish you the best of luck & hope this strike ends soon…We have great support from the UFT & other unions so YOU SHOULD NOT FEEL ALONE! Stay strong & we will get through this together!

  • Frank nbeanz

    The CWA strike fund should take his case and pay his COBRA bills.I did it for workers during the 1989 nynex strike.I worked at the CWA 1109 union hall in Brooklyn and dire need cases were their COBRA bills by the union.Now for 57 CHEVY why don’t you shut up and learn how things are done by union workers.We will help our brothers but you my friend sound like a very bitter man .

  • Mark

    If Mr. Baricevac had read the letter from Verizon, or the CBS reporter had done even a tiny amount of basic research, we’d know that he’s eligble for Cobra and will pay the same as any other union worker with a family. His health problems are not a factor. Makes a good headline, but bad reporting.

    • blah

      he said he has kidney failure and transplant… HE AUTOMATICALLY QUALIFIES FOR MEDICARE! Even my high school kids know those with kidney failure can get Medicare by the federal government at any age. He’s a liar… and the reporter is dumb

    • Nick

      agree w your comments. it’s all to get people to read their article, but bad reporting.

    • Joaquin

      With Cobra you you pay alot of money to have this medical. It’s just like paying a medical bill. It’s expensive to have cobra.

  • 57CHEVY454

    BOOHOO JOIN THE CLUB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get no sympathy here. I’m sure some moron will give this jerk a handout.

    • sal

      I suppose you are for Obama Care? I mean, what you are saying is that is what this man needs; if anyone deserves it, it is him.

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