Dear Union Sisters and Brothers,
Recently, I was asked by our Local 1600 Vice President, Rochelle Robinson-Dukes to serve on the joint Union-District Insurance Committee because a faculty member (CM! Winters Palacios or union-wide Grievance Chair) had left the committee. I happily agreed to join this committee, which to this point I thought was not functioning or was defunct. I went to the first meeting this last Tuesday, November 17th. I was there along with Matt, the chair at Truman, who is a professional, and Brenda Pryor, our Local 1600 lawyer. Also present were two H.R. representatives and one of their lawyers.
Unfortunately, I did not join the committee in time to shape the discussions regarding the changes to PPO and HMO, but I will stay on this committee and will represent you all faithfully. That work happened before Obama Care was passed, which could explain some of the decisions that were made, by David Richmond, although I am not clear, yet what all was agreed to. (I am trying to get to the bottom of this.)
However, at the meeting last Tuesday, I made sure to emphasize a number of points. First, the email communication from District was not clear, at all. As a solution, their HR people drafted a clearer communication that will be posted on the CCCTU website, and that I will distribute digitally, once it’s finalized. I think that email needs to go out via our email, if it hasn’t already, and if it doesn’t happen, I will have President Martyn send it out.
Second, we also asked if members could enroll after the deadline, and I ascertained that you better comply by November 25, 5:30p.m. I also asked that they send out an email reminder for members who had not updated their insurance benefits, and they assured me that they planned on doing that and would make personal phone calls. I also suggested that they text employees, but they didn’t agree to that. They also claimed that H.R. personnel were walking the building talking one-on-one with members; thus far, I have not seen that or the informative posters they displayed during the meeting (although, they could very well be on campus, somewhere).
We also asked that they widen the enrollment window in the future, but they replied that they had to comply with the vendors’ time frame and give time for our insurance cards to be sent out.
We also asked that we get a screen confirmation, once members finish confirming their benefits; you do get one, although it is not a certificate. In the future, they will have a clearer print screen like they do with ethics training.
Besides better communication, we asked why we all had to go through this process, again, especially since we have never had to do so.
The claimed three reasons for the update:
- They have to audit the insurance plan, annually. (I would add that they didn’t want to pay for people who were on the plan, but should not be.)
- There were many improvements to the plan, and people were not aware of and District wanted to educate members.
- They wanted to make sure people knew the value of what as being put before them, like the fact that District pays for 85% of our insurance cost.
We asked other questions, which they answered. For instance, if people are on leave or have technological access issues, they can call the benefits number and get help. Brenda and I also asked questions about retirees, which will be answered in the forthcoming message from District.
That is all the information I got from this meeting. There is a future meeting scheduled for December 14th, which I will call into, while I am on vacation. That meeting is for us to give them a report on the success of the campaign for all members to enroll. I would love some feedback, regarding the effectiveness, or not, of their communication.
Finally, I would ask that you all keep informing each other, even our 1708 sisters and brothers, so that no one loses his or her benefits. Please, help out with this important task. I still run into members who are not aware that everyone must confirm benefits to keep his/her benefits.
I will give you a report from the next meeting and will keep you posted of any happenings with insurance benefits.
H.W.C./District Local 1600, Grievance Committee Member