RX/TX Bargaining Report #2
The second round of Benefits Bargaining took place on January 25 and 26 at UCOP in Oakland. The first of the two days addressed Health Care issues, primarily, Health Net. Thus far, the University estimates that almost 40% of employees enrolled in Health Net in 2009 – 2010 changed OUT of Health Net HMO. This means that many TX/RX members were forced to find new primary providers for themselves and their family if the Blue & Gold Option didn’t have their provider or forced to switch to another Health Plan. UPTE is very concerned about the exclusion of major Health Care Providers, such as Sutter Health Medical group in northern California, and, the Scripps group in the San Diego area. Those employees and their families were, essentially, forced out of Health Net HMO, and subsequently ended relationships with their long time Primary Care Providers and Specialists.
The goal of this Bargaining with regard to Health Care, is to regain our members’ ability to continue affordable health care with their Primary Care Physicians and Specialists. UC is refusing to recognize this as a legitimate concern and is also refusing to discuss any other of the major 2011 premium increases, such as Blue Cross.
The second day of Bargaining, January 26, focused on the UC Pension Plan. TX/RX has previously agreed to a 1% Pension contribution effective July 1, 2011. UC now wants an additional .5%. UPTE’s position is that UC has not sufficiently shown that it needs our additional .5%, that we want a ‘say’ in how the UCRP is administered, and that any pension contributions must be offset by a comparable wage increase.
As a result of a 20 year hiatus from UCRP contributions and poor investment choices, the University is stating that the Pension Fund is severely underfunded. UC admits that part of the reason the Pension Fund is underfunded now is that it waited too long to resume employee contributions because the University was waiting for the State to increase their contributions to UC. As a result, the University intends to impose a 1.5% increase on employee contributions, along with the 2% DCP that is already being contributed. Next year the Regent’s plan to request an additional 1.5% pension contribution. Worse yet, the Regent’s are proposing a 2-tier pension plan starting in 2013 for all new hires and almost 50% of current employees. This new tier will offer much less of a pension upon retirement and compromise the health of the current UCRP.
We want to hear from you, let us know if you can come to one of the Bargaining Sessions to tell UC what you think about their health care premium increases or their plans for pension contribution increases. Please contact Wendi Felson, 310-948-9119, if you are interested.
The next Bargaining Sessions will be on February 9th and February 23rd in Oakland.
Bargaining Team Members:
Wendi Felson, Chief Negotiator
Anthony Fernandez, Radiation Safety Technician, LBNL
Karen Galbreath, Animal Health Technician, UCD
Bryan Pettengill, Computer Resource Specialist, UCSD