Option presented for 2.2% raise-
2.2% raise on the base
Elimination of District Dental Coverage and offer a Voluntary Dental Plan- Monthly cost would be passed on to employee
Employee and Child- $54.22/month
Option 8 for Insurance
- Deductible $300/600 would increase to $1,000/2,000
- Out of Pocket Maximum
- In Network- $1,800/3,600, Out of Network $3,300/6,600 would increase to In Network $2,500/5,000, Out of Network $4,000/8,000
- Office Copay $20 would increase to $30, 60%/40%
- Specialist Copay $20 would increase to $30, 60%/40%
What many people don’t know or get to be privy to are the conversations that occur in the caucus room. The purpose of the caucus during negotiations is to allow negotiators to do research and candidly discuss any options and their consequences. What we discussed in caucus was that this option was no raise. The proposal would have eliminated dental coverage unless the employee picked up the monthly premium. It would have significantly increased the deductibles and copay's for insurance. The District admitted that they did not budget for insurance premium increases last year, this year, or next year. The premium increase this year was 5.7% and this proposal pushed the cost of this increase on to the employee. The District also only budgeted one percent for salary increases. There was not going to be a salary increase if we maintain our current level of health benefits or, we would have to significantly cut our benefits in order to get a salary increase. As this was discussed in the caucus room it became clear that this proposal was robbing Peter to pay Paul.
When looking at scattergrams of where people are on the pay scale we understand that many employees are highly experienced in years which means they are approaching retirement age. With age, comes health issues. We all know this and many of us experience it as we trudge off to doctor’s appointments to deal with our kidney stones, high cholesterol, and arthritis. Many of our staff is active and fit but that comes with a host of potential orthopedic injuries such as knee and hip replacements. And, unfortunately, we have unusually high rates of cancer in our Valley. At the other end of the pay scale young teachers are having children which is also an expensive proposition. A high risk pregnancy can cost an immense amount of money. All of this adds up and means that comprehensive health coverage is important to our members and our survey data supports this. Additionally, any changes to insurance not only impacts current employees but it also impacts retirees who pay for continuing coverage with their PERSI sick day benefits. As a negotiations team we have to balance our desire to get real raises for employees with the need to maintain our other benefits. It was our opinion that this would not have been a raise at all. In dental cleanings alone, most of us would have lost what little benefit we would have seen with a bump in salary.
The Master Agreement includes a Memorandum of Understanding that recommends the $122,000 (the money left over after the District picks up the premium increase) is saved by the District for future premium increases. If this had been added to the base it would have been a .3% increase. This is not a raise. It was not our intent to “leave money on the table.” Our intent is to maintain our excellent salary and benefits, to encourage the District to adequately and appropriately budget for the future, and to leave the table with an agreement that all parties can live with. That is what Interest Based Bargaining is supposed to be about.
If you have any specific questions regarding the 2016 negotiations sessions please contact one of our negotiations team members.