Update: Health Care Benefit Plan & More

NewsboyOn August 20th  the College Administration’s bargaining team presented USofCC’s team with its second proposal for the new health care benefit plan.

The Administration’s second proposal was an improvement from its first, but it is still not viable because of the financial burden it would place on our members. The second proposal continues to include drastically higher deductibles, co-insurance, premiums (which would increase 20-30% every year for the next 5 years), and much higher co-pays.

In response to this proposal by the Administration to severely increase the cost of health benefits in order to cut $3 million from the budget, the staff union requested to meet with the President and the Interim Chief Financial Officer to discuss the College’s current financial situation.

To preserve the benefits we have, all full-time employees — union and non-union, staff and faculty — need to care about this issue and get involved any way they can. Thanks to all who took action and filled out the USofCC Healthcare Questionnaire. Please keep the conversation going–talk to everyone in your department! If you would like to get involved please contact Cat at littlered.rebelvoice@gmail.com.

USofCC and the Administration will resume contract negotiations on September 10th.  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.

Health Care Benefits under the Affordable Care Act (“ObamaCare”)

At the same time USofCC is working to protect the benefits of full-time staff, we want to make sure our part-time staff have access to affordable health care, too.

Please take this short survey to assess the health insurance needs of our members (part time and full time) to provide statewide data for the purposes of developing bargaining strategies against administrations that want to avoid their obligation to the Affordable Care Act.  The results of the survey data may also help determine planning to assist members in signing up for the insurance exchange or apply for available subsidies. The survey will close Sunday, September 8st at midnight.  http://site.ieanea.org/survey/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=l4K29mm1

The survey also allows for a drawing for an iPad mini, Kindle Fire, and one of four $25 Starbucks cards. Your drawing entry as well as any contact information provided in the survey will not be associated with your survey responses.  Your responses are anonymous and will be viewed in aggregate.

We urge members to get involved in the IEA’s efforts to make this law work for them.  Want to help?  Contact Higher Education Council Chair Beverly Stewart at bstewart1332@gmail.com.

New Contract Between P-fac and College Administration:

What Does it Mean for Full-time Staff Who Teach?

After 3-1/2 years of negotiations, the College’s adjunct faculty union (P-fac) and the Administration reached a contract agreement.  While many of the contract changes are beneficial to P-fac’s members, the change in how classes are assigned could significantly impact full-time staff members who are also adjuncts and are often among the College’s best instructors.

Under the new contract, P-fac unit members would be given greater preference in class assignments and reassignments (bumping).  Columbia’s full-time staff have been excluded from becoming members of P-fac since its organization in 1997, but staff have historically enjoyed the benefits of  P-fac contracts, particularly the pay rates. Part-time staff members who are also adjuncts will not be adversely affected since they are allowed to hold dual membership in both P-fac and USofCC locals.

While P-fac members prepare to vote on whether to ratify the new contract, the USofCC is preparing to send the Administration a demand to bargain over the impact of this change on USofCC members. Neither P-fac nor the College Administration consulted with USofCC before they reached a new agreement that affects some of our members.

Some of our members have contacted USofCC with their concerns about this change and questions of how to move forward.  They have organized an informal meeting of staff who teach following President Kim’s Convocation on Monday, August 26.  The group will gather in one of the two corners on the southside of the 8th floor at 1104 S. Wabash.  If you are affected by these changes, please plan to attend to have your voices heard. USofCC will keep you updated as events unfold.

Save The Date: General Membership Meetings

Our next general membership meetings will be held on Wednesday, September 18th and Thursday, September 19th during the lunch hours to discuss these as well as other pressing issues. Watch your email for the agenda, but in the meantime send your concerns to us at usofcc@yahoo.com and visit our website http://www.usofcc.org.

IEA Higher Education Conference October 4-5 in Elk Grove Village

Join with higher education faculty and staff from around Illinois at this year’s IEA Higher Education Conference Unionism: Making Knowledge Work.  Stay at the Sheraton Suites Friday night to socialize and enjoy performance artist Aaron Calafato’s labor comedy, or arrive Saturday morning for the chock-full agenda.  Either way this conference promises to be relevant and fun. Plus, USofCC has a limited number of full grants available–registration and hotel! Two for one registration before August 31st.  Check out the full agenda here,  then contact Mike Bright at mbright@colum.edu if you want to attend.

Small Increase in Membership Dues Beginning Fall 2013

Proposals to increase membership dues and agency fees are voted on at Representative Assemblies of the National Education Association (NEA-RA) and the Illinois Education Association (IEA-RA), the annual conferences of both associations.* Small increases were approved by a majority vote of the delegates this year.

Effective in September 2013, deductions will increase as follows:

Full-time Member:  $16.06 per paycheck (up from 15.90)
Part-time Member:  $  6.63 per paycheck (up from 6.47)

Full-time Agency Fee Payer:  $14.81 per paycheck (up from 14.65)
Part-time Agency Fee Payer:  $  5.39 per paycheck (up from 5.21)

Dual members of USofCC and P-fac (or another IEA adjunct union) please contact jmcgrath@colum.edu to ensure you are not being overcharged.

*For more about the annual increase in NEA dues: http://www.nea.org/grants/56054.htm

2 responses to “Update: Health Care Benefit Plan & More

  1. Lena Renteria (former staff)

    I was under the impression that College Administration could not make a change to the USofCC contract, WITHOUT FIRST CONSULTING THE STAFF UNION. Has that all changed?

    • No, you are correct, Lena. The changes discussed above are PROPOSED changes. And changes to the contract require the administration to not merely consult the staff union, but rather, to negotiate an agreement with union.

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