Health Care Update
On Oct. 1, the Coalition of State Employee Unions (including PTE Local 17) reached tentative agreement with the state of Washington on health care for the second year of this biennium. This agreement maintains the current premium share and continues some protections against point of service (copays, co-insurance, deductibles) increases. It also calls for the employer and union to work together on a wellness program.
Because we reached agreement by Oct. 1, the negotiated terms can be included in the governor's budget request to the legislature for the 2014 session. If legislatively approved, this health-care agreement would go into effect July 1, 2014, and impact calendar-year 2015 health benefits.
Some specifics of the one-year agreement are:
Continuing the 85 percent employer “total weighted average” contribution to health-insurance premiums
Classic UMP (deductible, out-of-pocket maximums, and co-insurance) in effect in calendar year 2011 are maintained for calendar year 2015
Point-of-service (copays, co-insurance, deductibles) costs may be reduced as part of a wellness program
Medical out-of-pocket maximums may increase or a separate out-of-pocket maximum may be created for pharmacy (to contain the state's anticipated cost increases due to the Affordable Care Act)
Provisions on point-of-service (copays, co-insurance, deductibles) increases expire June 30, 2015, which means the terms after that date will need to be discussed during health-care negotiations for the next biennium
The employer and unions will start work right away on the details of a wellness program
Remember that during the legislative session earlier this year, a number of legislators called for a unilaterally imposed wellness plan, without negotiating with the state employee unions. PTE Local 17 testified against these proposals.
Take Action! Tell Gov. Inslee to Support Fair Health Care for State Employees!
Health care bargaining has resumed for state employees. We are now bargaining over premium share, co-pays, and deductibles for the plan year starting Jan. 1, 2015. Local 17, in conjunction with the Health Care Coalition of State Employee Unions, wants Gov. Inslee to stand with state employees' values for a fair employee health care agreement with cost protections and true collaboration on any wellness program. Please send a letter to Gov. Inslee using our template to let him know you support fair health care - click below!
Take Action Here!
Attend a Transportation Forum!
Tell Your Legislators: We Need Funding Now!
Visit the Local 17 Public Affairs Blog for more information on the transportation funding issue. You can also visit Keep Washington Rolling to send an easy letter directly to your legislators in support of increased funding for our roads and transit.
WSDOT News - August 2013
Step M in Effect July 1, 2013
Under our current contract, "[a]ll employees will progress to Step M six (6) years after being assigned to Step L in their permanent salary range." For guidance from the state on Step M, click here.
Be sure to calculate if and when you are eligible for Step M and check your earnings statement for that period. If you have questions, contact your steward or union rep.
PEBB Employee Premiums for 2014
In July 2013, the Public Employee Benefits Board approved premium and benefits changes for 2014. For information from PEBB about these changes, click here.
Gainsharing Case Reaches State Supreme Court
In 2007, the state legislature enacted enhanced Early Retirement Factors (ERFs) to benefit members of PERS, TRS and SERS pension plans 2 and 3. The legislation also eliminated the gainsharing benefit from plans 1 and 3. The legislation resulted in lawsuits that have finally found their way to the Washington State Supreme Court, with oral arguments scheduled for Oct. 24, 2013. Click here to read more about the issue and what's at stake.
Recent Accomplishments at WSDOT - June 2013
Transportation Budget-Funded Local 17 Members
Will Escape Fiscal Cliff
Local 17 received previous indication from the Office of Financial Management (OFM) that transportation budget-funded employees would not be impacted by a potential "fiscal cliff" related to the state Operating Budget. With an announcement from Governor Inslee this week, we can confirm that our transportation budget funded members at DOL, WSP and WSDOT will not be subject to furloughs and shutdown if there is a "fiscal cliff". Through further discussions with State OFM, Local 17 legislative staff also confirmed that the funding within the Transportation Budget will include all terms of the new 2013 - 2015 agreement including ending the 3% wage cut and implementation of the new Step M. Follow the Local 17 Public Affairs page for additional information on this and other state legislative news.
Reminder to use TSR leave
Temporary Salary Reduction (TSR) leave (associated with the three percent salary reduction) has no cash value and must be used before July 1, 2013, with the exception that employees may carry forward up to 16 hours of TSR leave, to be used by Sept. 1, 2013. Remember to use your TSR within these guidelines.
WSDOT Members Hold Labor Management Meeting about 520 Project
Local 17 members working for the 520 project and Union Representative Kristen Kussmann participated in a Labor Management Communications Committee meeting with WSDOT management at the 520 project in mid-April.
Local 17 members who prepared for and particpated (and are pictured above) include: John Collins, Julie Schurman, Arlene Rehm and were led by Kussman. Local 17 member Lauren Sullivan is not pictured. “The Local 17 team believes that the meeting went well and that it was an excellent vehicle for communication between the union and WSDOT management,” said Kussmann.
Communicating with Public Officials
Many Local 17 members attended the Public Affairs training in Tumwater on Tues., Mar. 5 and learned how to communicate important issues with legislators. Representatives Sam Hunt and Chris Reykdal (D-22) were guest speakers.
Arbitration Victory - RIF rights
In September 2012, Local 17 won an arbitration related to the rights of non-represented state employees under the WAC to bump into Local 17's bargaining units. Specifically, the arbitrator ruled that under the facts of this arbitration, a non-represented state employee subject to RIF could not "bump" a Local 17 member. The full decision can be read in the arbitration document here.
MOU - Temporary Salary Reduction
Local 17 and the State of Washington have entered into an MOU related to Temporary Salary Reduction (TSR) leave. The MOU takes effect on April 14, 2012 and allows members who have a requested and approved use of TSR leave for vacation purposes in the future to use both vacation and sick leave before such TSR leave, should members need to take such leave in the interim. Previously, members were only allowed to utilize sick leave prior to TSR leave in this instance, but the MOU adds vacation leave, providing an additional benefit to members. Click here to view the MOU.