Negotiations Summary Report #5 – June 24, 2015

Throughout negotiations, summary reports will be added to the Negotiations page of this website for future reference.

Meeting #5

FA: Loveland, Lynch, Shepard
Admin: Allen, Behnke, Berchtold, Fedorchak, Losinger

We caucused for 15 minutes at the beginning of the session.
Formal negotiations began at 1:15.

  1. Mike began by asking if there was any response to Suzanne’s PowerPoint. Regina responded that there was some confusion about the current contract, and her gut feeling is to let Francis discuss this with our chosen delegate. Mike agreed and Dave and Suzanne volunteered to meet with Francis.
  2. Regina noted that an MOU had been signed regarding Fast Forward, and she wanted all matters regarding Fast Forward taken out of our proposal. Mike stated that only the Article on page 9 comes out. Regina stated that she hoped the retrenchment issue had been worked out. Mike responded, “No.”
  3. Mike stated that he had a couple of things to say about the Health Insurance.
    1. First, there is a growing concern about how your health insurance relates to your experience and how the 3 plans function.
      • He indicated that “You have been clear that your proposals are based on “skyrocketing” costs, but that is not born out by the evidence. Costs are not increasing at an alarming rate.”
    2. Second, the Red and Green already have three tier prescriptions in place: Red and Green have the same premium, but different copays.
      • By design, the formula is the higher the deductible, the lower the premium.
      • They should balance out.
      • However, the Traditional has a 2 tier prescription plan and its premium is 1% more than the Red and Green. So something is not working: it is not clear why anyone would choose the Red or Green.
      • If you give people choices, the healthy would choose a higher copay. Are the Red and Green unique in some way to attract certain people?
      • There seem to be certain things that are “upside down” in the Red and Green plans.
      • It seems that they keep costs down because there is more burden to the subscriber, and the prescription plan sorts the drugs.
    3. Third, the Red and Green prescription plans are in violation of our contract. The contract states that members will pay $5 for generic and $20 for name brand. However the Red has $5/20/40, and the Green has $5/20/35. We are considering our options as to how we proceed.
  4. Regina responded that they were just learning about this. She asked Mike to check the numbers and she said she would ask Tom how Broome County managed to keep costs down.
  5. Mike shared the numbers of the three plans. He believes that the Red and Green were originally HMOs but costs have gone up. Has the benefit structure changed over the years or has it been left alone?
  6. Regina stated that it would be interesting to know why employees might choose Red or Green. What do they see there?
  7. Mike responded that this would be important for new hires.
  8. Mike concluded: These are our questions.
  9. Regina responded, “We will try to get the information.”
  10. Mike stated, “Our members do NOT want cost shifting, so if we can proceed without the health care piece, OK. However, our parameters for settlement do not include cost shifting.”
  11. Mike added, “Otherwise we need to go back to our NRC and members.”
  12. In addition, he stated, “We may file a grievance because people are paying more than stated in the contract.” Mr. Benke responded, “This will impact the premiums for the plans and drive the cost up.” Mike replied, “No! Your Traditional plan costs only 1% more. Your system is not consistent and there should be a bigger stretch between the 2 and 3 tier plans.”
  13. There followed a brief exchange between Mike and Regina:
    • Regina: We will take these up with Tom Behan and Tom Dellapenna, the Broome County Director of Risk and Insurance, and come back with their responses.
    • Mike: We could settle without the health piece
    • Regina: What is your bottom line?
    • Mike: Our members will not absorb the cost. If we give on health every negotiation, 50% is in our future. Why would we do that?
    • Regina: is this a brick wall?
    • Mike: Yes. But we understand that this has implications.
  14. Regina stated that she will inform the Negotiations Subcommittee of the Board of Trustees (Nick Serafini, Jim Orband, Mark Newman).
  15. Mike stated that we must meet with the NRC, so we won’t set another negotiation date until fall.

Adjourned at 1:40.

Respectfully submitted,
Suzanne V. Shepard, Ph.D.
Member, Faculty Association Negotiating Team