Guild makes health care proposal

The Guild made a health care proposal Wednesday, and the company said it would respond Thursday.

The union began the meeting by producing the company’s own document from 2010 about the proposed 2011 health care coverage.

The document stated that the contribution percentage was based on the “total cost of the health care plan.” Nowhere does it include paying part of the company reimbursement or the plan administrator.

The company document also lists the components of the plan. One listed is the employee deductible of $750; another is the company contribution to the deductible.

“The company’s own document shows that total cost has not included the expenses they are now trying to add,” Guild President Tim O’Brien said, “and it shows the company share of the deductible is a part of the plan and cannot be dropped as the company threatened last week.”

Despite all that, the union made an offer even as O’Brien noted it was not required to do so. The Guild could just insist the members pay the same year over year increase as the company, which would amount to $4.53 a week.

Under the union proposal, the company would pay 77 percent of the first $750 of medical bills and Guild members would pay 23 percent of the company reimbursement. The net result would be about even or a slight increase of less than $1 or $2 a week.

The Guild proposed that share be phased in at 50 percent the first year and 10 percent a year for each year following.

If the parties’ estimate of the reimbursement proved too high, Guild members would be given a check for the overpayment by January 15. Under the Guild proposal, the company would cover any underestimate rather than billing members the next year.

Under the union proposal, Guild members would not pay the company’s chosen administrator and the annual discussion would have to begin by October 1. The union also would get monthly reports to be able to track the reimbursements.

In return for allowing the company to redefine what total cost includes, the Guild proposed a $1,000 signing bonus upon ratification of the plan.

The meeting was well-attended by members, and the union is grateful employees took the time to observe. The Guild invites people to share their stories with us in what the health care costs increasing would mean to them.

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