ILWU leadership slams worker benefit plan fraud

The ILWU-PMA benefits plan covers tens of thousands of workers and their family members

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) has exposed fraudulent claims allegedly made against its ILWU-PMA welfare plan by seven workers and three health care providers following an investigation federal authorities. On September 14, authorities alleged that seven dockworkers received sexual services in exchange for providers being able to bill the union’s plan for physiotherapy, acupuncture and chiropractic services that never took place.

“Our benefits plan has been in the works for generations and today ensures that 17,000 working men and women and their family members can seek medical care without the fear of crippling debt that too many Americans face,” said Frank Ponce De Leon, a member of the ILWU Coastal Committee. “Our union is proud to have negotiated with our employer health benefits that we believe all Americans should have. We will not tolerate the fraudulent use of our contract benefits that longshore workers have fought for, and are sometimes dead over the past 90 years.

“The benefits of the ILWU-PMA welfare plan offset the hard work that stevedores do every day at the docks, and they are vitally important to tens of thousands of people working in ports in California, the United States. Oregon and Washington,” said Cam Williams, ILWU Coast Committee Member. “ILWU officers take any fraudulent acts against the plan seriously and want such abuses rooted out.”

The ILWU Bargaining Committee has spent the first two and a half months of the current round of negotiations with the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) negotiating benefits. The July 26, 2022 ILWU-PMA joint announcement of the parties’ agreement on health benefits was a major step forward in the negotiations for a new contract.

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