1,000 firings as Municipal Labor Committee accepts health-care savings
city agreed to postpone the layoffs of 1,000 permanent, noncompetitive and labor-class
workers for 90 days under an agreement announced June 2 with the Municipal Labor
Committee that will save $400 million in health-care costs over the next two years.
pact calls for the city to provide a one-time $200 payment to union welfare funds
for each worker and retiree. The money should let the DC 37 Health & Security
Plan maintain current benefits despite rising costs.
This deal provides
the budgetary relief the city needs with a minimum disruption to our benefits,
said MLC Chair Harry Nespoli, president of the Uniformed Sanitationmens
Association. In addition, we achieved two important goals, which are additional
money for our welfare funds and the suspension of layoffs of permanent workers
for a period of time.
In negotiations, the MLC rejected Mayor Bloombergs
demand for a new pension tier that would delay retirement and lengthen the contribution
period for future city employees. Bloomberg said he would push for the new plan
again next year.
Two major state unions recently agreed to a new pension
tier to avert 8,900 layoffs, but the plans fate in the stalemated Legislature
was in question as PEP went to press.
Bloomberg also dropped his demand
that city employees and retirees pay 10 percent of their health-care premiums
at a total cost to them of approximately $350 million per year.
agreement calls for the following changes in the HIP/HMO health plan:
$50 co-payment for hospital emergency room visits, which will be waived if the
patient is admitted.
- a $100 co-pay for hospitalization.
$50 co-payment for treatment at an ambulatory surgery facility.
the preventive dental rider from the basic benefit. (Most members and retirees
have union dental coverage.)
In the GHI Senior Care Plan,
the agreement establishes a $50 emergency room co-pay for retirees (waived if
the patient is admitted).
A series of other changes in the GHI-CBP/Blue
Cross plan are largely administrative and will not substantially affect services
or costs to members and retirees.
Under the changes, GHI subscribers must
use ambulatory surgery facilities and freestanding kidney dialysis facilities
that are participating providers in Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield. Subscribers
are also required to stay within the EBCBS hospital network.
of the layoffs will be funded through the Stabilization Fund established by municipal
unions in the 1980s as a rainy day fund for benefits.
is as good as the MLC could expect under the current circumstances, said
DC 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts, who is the executive vice chair of the
group, which represents 550,000 city workers and retirees.
time for the workers who face layoffs. In the next three months, we will be looking
at whatever we can do to protect their jobs. We have already managed to have some
people facing the chopping block move into new positions in the city.
Gregory N. Heires