Quote Originally Posted by kb3lms View Post
...The legal precedent I am concerned about is such decisions make it harder for the working employee to find recourse when the benefits are cut...The courts said it was OK to cut for retirees, next the courts say it's OK for active employees. Soon after that it becomes the "new normal" to not offer medical coverage at all because the courts said they didn't have to...
The courts don't have to say it's OK to terminate benefits for active employees. Unless you're bound by some collective bargaining agreement, there is no recourse should your employer announce the end of medical or any other non-vested benefit. If a trend develops and offering no medical coverage becomes the norm, it won't be because a bankruptcy court approved one corporation's request. It'll be because the supply of labor is greater than the demand and employers can purchase the labor they need without offering medical coverage.

Quote Originally Posted by kb3lms View Post
...I don't feel that the employer/employee relationship is necessarily adversarial and that unions are the answer, although at times they serve their purpose. As benfits provided decline, union importance/usefulness will, of course, rise. I see the relationship with my employer as more cooperative. I take care of them, they take care of me, and that starts with the old hip pocket. But medical benefits run a real close second...
Labor is a commodity. Employers purchase that commodity. You can elect to view the relationship any way you like but, like all other purchase and sale negotiations, the parties involved are adversaries, each trying to get what they want. I don't see unions as a panacea, since forces conspiring against employees control so much more than just individual employers, but instead think of collective bargaining as a last stand. Recent history has shown that, without it, there's essentially no way to push back.