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Union Pacific vs. women: A federal court in Nebraska has granted two female train engineers class-action status for a sexual discrimination suit filed against Union Pacific alleging that it violated the Civil Rights Act by not providing prescription contraception coverage in health plans for unionized employees.

Union Pacific claims that unionized female employees can circumvent the restriction by having their doctors write contraceptive prescriptions for non-contraceptive use such as acne. Yet, the railroad has allowed contraception coverage in manager-level health plans for more than a decade.

As the first nationwide class-action suit of its kind the suit could affect current and future contraceptive equity cases. Nationally, one in three women with health-care coverage don't have contraception coverage.

Union Pacific has 8,213 employees in Texas. The suit, which seeks reimbursement for prescription payments, is estimated to include more than 400 female employees.

- Susan Pagani


A is for apathy: Only seven people attended the District 8 candidates' debate at UTSA on April 8. Initially there were only four audience members - one for each candidate: incumbent Art Hall, insurance agent Mike Keogh, dentist Bert Cecconi, and UTSA graduate student Carlos Cardenas. Attorney Gabe Perales Jr. was a no-show.

Cardenas said the 11 a.m. debate conflicted with prime class time, adding the the provost's office scheduled it at that hour. Although several student organizations sponsored the debate, it was not a university-sanctioned event, which meant students could not receive an excused absence from class to attend. And instead of holding the debate in a prominent spot, such as the Sombrilla, where passersby could participate, it was relegated to a ground-floor auditorium in the Main Building.

UTSA lies within District 8 and is an Early Voting site. For more debate news, see Briefs in this issue of the Current.

- Lisa Sorg


Cleanup continues: The Kelly Restoration Advisory Board meets Tuesday, April 19 to discuss issues related to the ongoing cleanup of contamination near and on the former Air Force Base. The meeting is held quarterly at Kennedy High School, 1922 S. General McMullen from 6:30-9:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend.


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