Guild makes new health care proposal (updated)

The Newspaper Guild of Albany presented a new proposal today to the Company on health care for 2013.

The impact would be that members would pay $8.09 more a week, a 22 percent increase. Members would pay $45.05 a week rather than the current $37.76.

That is only slightly lower than the $9.24 increase the Company had proposed. But under the Guild proposal, members would also start getting reimbursed 77 percent of their costs for the first $750 of medical care.

(UPDATE: After we presented our proposal, the Company asked for time to review it. We will meet again at 11 a.m. Thursday.)

The union proposed its members would pay 23 percent of the Company reimbursement.

The Company estimated the annual reimbursement at $600,000, but data the Guild sought shows that number is much higher than the Company has ever paid out. In 2010, the company paid $452,693.85 in reimbursements. A year later, that amount rose to $515,060.56.

As of December 10 this year, the company has reimbursed $463,701.99.

Rather than charge members for a hypothetical — and inflated — estimate, the Guild proposed using the actual numbers. We proposed using the 2011 year figure of $515,060.56.

To make that calculation accurate, the union proposed determining the cost per person by using the actual number of workers under the plan that year, which was 320. This way, Guild members aren’t being asked to pay a portion of benefits for people who have left the newspaper or who gave up getting their insurance through the Times Union.

Both the company’s and employee’s shares would be phased in under the union proposal at 50 percent the first year and 10 percent more a year each year after. Beginning in 2014, the union proposal calls for an annual cap of 8 percent in increases.

The union also continued to propose a $1,000 signing bonus in return for the definition of total costs being changed.

The Guild also continued to insist the Company pay for its chosen plan administrator. The union asked for documents breaking down the costs of the firm and showing what it does, information the company refused to provide.

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