Health care costs underlie some of the most significant challenges facing Laborers and signatory employers, and, in this issue, we take a look at what can be done about them.

Soaring health care costs in the U.S. are a national crisis. These rising costs are driving up premiums both for workers’ compensation insurance and the health services provided by LIUNA health and welfare funds.

Ultimately, the solution must be provided by Congress and the President. Unfortunately, that could take years. In the meantime, the best way to manage rising costs is to stay healthy and work safely so there’s little or no need to use the system.

In this issue, we examine ways to control rising workers’ comp costs, and we consider the personal choices that Laborers and their families can make to ensure better health while also lowering costs for their health and welfare fund.

In our centerfold, we highlight a LIUNA signatory employer – Edward Kraemer &
Sons, Inc. – that appreciates union labor as the means to ensure safe work and high-quality production. This story is followed by one that examines how health and safety messages can help sell employers on the value of a union workforce.

Also in this issue, we report on some recent efforts to enhance occupational safety and health in regard to Portland cement and the backing operations of trucks in roadway work zones.

Finally, on page 15, we proudly announce the opening of the new LHSFNA website and our new, on-line publication – LIFELINES ONLINE. This monthly publication is filled with reports of interest to signatory employers and their safety officers, the administrators and trustees of our health and welfare funds and LIUNA business managers and agents. We’re excited about the potential of this new communications platform to reach a much broader range of our key constituents. We look forward to your comments and feedback.