Negotiating health care benefits

Columbia’s Board of Trustees has issued a directive to change benefits to align Columbia with the higher education market and cut $3 million in health benefits costs. President Kim announced in an email Wednesday that the College would “Negotiate with new benefit plan providers to ensure quality plans are offered that align with local market realities.”

Last Thursday the College presented USofCC with its first proposal for this new health care benefit plan.

This proposal was unacceptable to the USofCC negotiating team, since it would create a severe financial burden for staff. The proposed plan would mean drastically higher deductibles and co-insurance, higher premiums, and much higher co-pays of up to 500% of our current rates. For some staff members, it would mean an increased cost of $2,000-$6,000 a year, and this is not acceptable.

The College Administration heard our concerns and is now working on another proposal to be presented to the USofCC negotiating team on August 20th. Now however we need your feedback. Before August 20th, please fill out the USofCC Healthcare Questionnaire about how increased health care costs would affect you and your family. We will present your stories and your feedback to the College.

USofCC is committed to working with the Administration to ensure that staff members have a comprehensive benefits package that attracts and retains talent to further the College’s mission and contributes to the well-being of employees and their families.

However, union contracts and health care benefits are not won at the negotiating table, they are won through the active vocal support of all members, and allies. Please watch for further updates on this proposal and other contract matters including USofCC’s full membership meeting to be held in September.

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