McClenty believes that such spiraling costs have convinced the union's members that they need to make a stand. "This is real. People are saying, 'We're not going to accept this anymore.'"
Elva Neubauer, the United Hospital housekeeper who was forced to drop her family coverage in November, echoes that sentiment: "In my place many people would shut their mouth, thinking, 'I could lose my job for saying this,'" she says. "But we have to fight. We have no choice."