UPS Submits to Push for Health Benefits for NJ Civil Union Partners

July 30, 2007 ( - United Parcel Service (UPS) said it would offer health care benefits to all civil union partners of hourly workers in New Jersey who are covered by union plans, going back on its previous stance that state law does not treat civil unions the same as marriages.

After receiving legal guidance on the matter, Alan Hill, UPS’s senior vice president for human resources, said in a  press release that the company “received clear guidance that at least in New Jersey, the state truly views civil union partners as married.”

New Jersey was the third state in the U.S. to offer civil unions (See Garden State Passes Civil Unions Bill ). However, the legislature stopped short of using the term “marriage” to describe the civil unions. Civil unions extend to gays and lesbians all the rights state law affords married people, but gives them a status separate from heterosexuals.

According to the press release from UPS,the extension of benefits to civil union partners of hourly employees in New Jersey will affect approximately 8,700 workers, although it’s impossible to know how many of those employees have joined in civil unions. About 5,400 non-union UPS workers in New Jersey already are eligible.

Media reports earlier this month indicated that the shipping company was not extending benefits to civil union partners of its New Jersey hourly employees despite the state civil union law (See Workers Still Denied Benefits after Civil Union Bill ).