For generations, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies have been providing organized labor with secure and stable healthcare coverage. The Blue System was the first to establish an office solely devoted to servicing organized labor’s healthcare needs—The Blue Cross Blue Shield National Labor Office (NLO). Our longstanding commitment is one of the reasons why today, more than 17 million unionized workers, retirees and their families have chosen Blue Cross Blue Shield as their healthcare partner of choice. Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the #1 choice of American unions, a testament to our longstanding dedication to customer service. Our local labor representatives are dedicated specifically to health coverage solutions that fulfill the healthcare needs of unionized workers in the communities we serve. Each year, the NLO recognizes an outstanding labor representative who has demonstrated excellence in supporting working families and the unions representing them with the Labor Representative of the Year Award. On this Labor Day, we sit down with our most recent Labor Representative of the Year award winner, David Gieselman, to ask him a few questions about his role as Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois’ Director of Labor Accounts: NLO: What would you most like the labor community to know about Blue Cross Blue Shield and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois' (BCBSIL) approach to serving organized labor? David: I’d like them to know that, in this transformational time, our team and BCBSIL is fully invested in keeping labor’s health and benefits on solid footing. Our initiative, attentiveness and experience enables us explain “the why” behind recent healthcare changes or challenges and the “what” we’re going to do about them. Working families have trusted us for generations, and they can continue to trust that we will be there for them, now and in the future, to provide quality and affordable healthcare benefits. NLO: How do you ensure that BCBSIL effectively meets the needs of its labor customers? David: We have a highly engaged and motivated staff, many of whom have more than 15 years of experience working with, and forging strong relationships across, the local and national labor community. That type of tenure assures that our staff understands the unique challenges unions face, and can use this perspective to deliver relevant products, reinvest in innovative solutions, and support the labor movement in the many different ways it connects with the communities we all live in. Regular communication and collaboration with our accounts is critically important to building trust, sharing ideas, and ensuring that our accounts are receiving the service and attention they expect. In the past year, I hired two additional representatives to ensure all of our clients—big and small—have access to an accountable and responsive BCBSIL representative. NLO: What are some of your goals for next year? David: I believe that communication is the foundation of excellent customer service. I’m looking to discover new ways to collaborate and engage with our labor accounts. Nothing is off the table—perhaps even having our staff take up a desk in our clients’ offices once or twice a month. New approaches to client service will allow us to forge connections and inspire the thinking that will help us meet new challenges and discover alternative solutions for our customers so they can continue to provide their members with affordable and reliable healthcare coverage. Communication is also critical to ensuring our customers are aware of the products and services available to them, such as our transparency tools and network innovations, so that they can tailor benefits to meet members’ unique needs. NLO: What is your favorite part of your job? David: Variability. Each and every day that I arrive to work, I encounter healthcare changes or challenges that impact our labor customers. These experiences put me to the test to find solutions for our labor customers and their members so that they can go about their lives, without having concerns tied to coverage or claims payment. This solution- driven culture at BCBSIL is essential to earn (and hold on to) both loyalty and trust of our labor accounts. ### The BCBS NLO would like to wish our more than 17 million labor customers a happy and healthy Labor Day. Whether you are at work, at home or on vacation this weekend, Blue Cross Blue Shield has got you covered.