Thursday, March 23, 2006

Teachers Picket Board Meeting

On Monday, March 20, 125 Holland teachers picketed the school board meeting. Click here to read the Grand Rapids Press article.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Imposed Insurance Doesn't Cost $1085

On March 1 the bargaining team sent an e-mail to Frank and Carol. In it, we asked which paycheck we could expect our money for the difference between their cheap insurance plans and the illegally imposed $1,085 cap.
You need to know that prior to sending this email, this savings was dangled in front of the members of your bargaining team as a "carrot." The district actually bargained with it as though it was "new money they had found to settle our contract." No doubt, they'll be trying to do this with each of you as well, hence this update.
So far as we can tell, this dishonest "spin" of the facts must have been the source of Board member Gavette's "hopefulness" he expressed at the February 20 board meeting.
It is the HEA’s position that the money saved on insurance premiums can’t be used as an incentive to convince your bargaining team that the Board has changed their position or is serious about settling a fair contract.
Frank responded to my request last Wednesday, and stated, “Carol is out of town until Monday. I will make sure and discuss this with her upon her return.” He emailed again on Thursday saying that he spoke with Carol and “we both agreed to refer your email to Barb Ruga for a response.”
Barb emailed later that day. A portion of that email: “The Board team absolutely agrees that, absent any other agreement with the HEA, the difference should be paid to HEA members who elected one of the BCBS plans.”
Carol and Barb are now determining how the difference should be paid each month. The difference between the HRA and the $1,085 board imposed cap is $90.43, and the difference between the HSA and the $1,085 board imposed cap is $239.37. Your team will notify you when we have additional information.
Please don’t be fooled by these monthly payments. The Board never told you about the savings above and beyond what their stated needs have been for months. They didn’t tell you when you had to choose what was best for your family, and the payments will only last until the premiums increase or until the Board unilaterally changes the policies.