10/11/18 - Healthcare Bargaining Update #3

Healthcare Coalition Bargaining Update #3
10/11/18

FAIR DEAL or NO DEAL!
Worksite Actions Begin Next Week
 
Negotiations continued this week between the nine union Healthcare Coalition and the County over a fix for the healthcare cost crisis impacting our members and our families.
 
The Union Coalition maintains that we need a real system fix that will pull Contra Costa out of last place among Bay Area public employers and make us more competitive when it comes to healthcare premium costs for employees. This means, in part, that the County will have to pay significantly more for our healthcare than it is paying now to put an end to the crisis.
 
However, the Coalition is equally insistent that the overall system FIX must also ensure a level playing field for the health plan carriers in Contra Costa County to create healthy competition and REAL cost controls that will save employees (and ultimately, the County) money moving forward. The County must stop thinking short term and start thinking long term about how to stabilize costs moving forward.
 
At the negotiations table, we continue to make progress. The County wants a three-year contract extension deal that will give the County some assurances for the next few years. Our side is demanding significant and lasting changes to the healthcare system as part of any long term contract extension. At each bargaining session, the gap between where our Coalition knows we need to be and where the County is willing to go grows smaller. The Coalition will continue emphasizing that the County must do more than temporary premium relief in 2019 for any long term deal to work.  We cannot accept an agreement that only partially fixes the problem but fails to control employee healthcare costs in the second and third year of the deal or beyond.
 
We need a fair deal, or we will take this important fight to the bargaining table next year when our contracts are open and we have more options. 
 
The County has now indicated a willingness to move toward a set percentage-based cost model, which would mean the County would always pay a certain share of premium costs rather than a set dollar amount. Additionally, the County is signaling it may start moving in the right direction toward basing the percentage it pays towards healthcare on a rich enough plan model to truly impact the healthcare cost crisis for our members. But we just aren’t there yet.
 
We recognize that Annual Health Plan Open Enrollment is upon us. We cannot predict at this point whether the County will do the right thing and agree to TRULY FIX this problem during the current negotiations. If an agreement is reached any time this calendar year that will impact employee health costs for 2019, we have received assurance that a second open enrollment period will be offered for those employees in classifications represented by the Coalition Unions -- DDAA, Defenders, PDOCC, AFSCME 512, AFSCME 2700, IFPTE Local 21, PEU Local 1, SEIU 1021, WCE – as well as for all unrepresented employees. Because we can’t predict yet whether an agreement can be reached, all employees are encouraged to make your healthcare enrollment choice based on current information only.
 
Negotiations will continue over the next three weeks and updates will follow. Please support your Coalition Bargaining Team by attending our upcoming worksite actions, posting the “Affordable Healthcare Now” sign at your work station, signing our petition, wearing black every Tuesday, and telling all of your co-workers to join you in all of these actions. Together we will fix this healthcare crisis for Contra Costa County employees!
 

Attend an Upcoming Worksite Informational Picket 

WE NEED YOU THERE!
 
 

HERE ARE FIVE WAYS TO TAKE ACTION TODAY

 
 


Coalition members are showing their support every Tuesday. Let's show them how many of us want affordable healthcare in Contra Costa County!
 
  • Wear Black every Tuesday
  • Wear a Healthcare Coalition sticker, button, or your union swag to work.

Need a sticker or other swag? Chapter leaders will be getting some soon. Find your chapter leader here.