Thursday, July 23, 2009

Protect Your Health Benefits and Bargaining Rights

All members are encouraged to contract your state representatives NOW and implore them to not support the "Dillon Health Plan."

All of us need to respond to this action alert for two reasons:

1) It directly pertains to your current and future choices about health care.

2) Our strong, unified and immediate response is of the utmost urgency.

You have consistently told your bargaining teams – “Protect our health benefits.” Time and again the rising costs of health coverage have put the squeeze on district budgets and employee wages. School employees have responded time and again by paying more out of pocket for health coverage in lieu of the wage increases they would otherwise win… a sad state of affairs that could get drastically worse very quickly if we don’t act in unison right now.

Michigan House Speaker Andy Dillon has proposed that all state employees, including all school employees, be forced into a single statewide plan. The potential impact upon you and your family:

1) You would have no choice of health plans. All of negotiated health choices would disappear.

2) Blue Cross would probably be chosen to administer the plan, but the plan’s benefits would be determined by how much the state can afford. It would be the state’s plan run by BCBS. Translation: Your hostage health coverage would be dialed up and down every year according to the state’s budget. As the state’s fortunes shift, so would your coverage. Make no mistake… your coverage will be dialed down more in hard times than it might be dialed up in good times… they would balance Michigan’s budget on our backs any time they want to spend more elsewhere.

3) You would lose your right to bargain your health care. In terms of health coverage, you would be a union member with the (non)rights of an at-will employee. Your choice of health coverage would be “take it” or “take it”... no discussion allowed, period. But thanks for asking.

4) Dillon’s numbers are “fuzzy” by design. His plan does not save the state money. It merely shifts the state’s burden to your shoulders, now and into the future. You, among all of Michigan’s taxpayers, are being selected to carry the load the state has failed to carry.

For more detailed info:

MEA has identified key legislators to contact. Please follow these steps to send the same email to each of them (saves time!):

1) Take 3 minutes to write a brief paragraph or two in Word based upon the above.

2) Block and copy your final text. You’ll be pasting it into several emails.

3) Click the links further below one at a time. That legislator’s bio will pop up.

4) Click the “contact” tab above that legislator’s bio picture. Then click her/his email address.

5) A pre-addressed email from to that legislator will pop up. Paste your text into the email box and fill out your personal info further down. Make sure to check “Send a copy of this letter to MEA” at the very bottom. This will help us track what is being done.

6) Click preview and/or send (red buttons at the bottom). Repeat steps 3-6 for each legislator.

Here are the legislators MEA has identified as being key to this issue:
Rep. Dillon
Rep. Byrnes
Rep. Melton
Rep. Meadows
Rep. Angerer

Also contact your local legislators:
Rep. Dean
Rep. Schmidt