Unit 6 met Friday, April 11 for a general membership meeting to vote on whether to send delegates to the 2014 NAGE National Convention. Members in attendance voted unanimously to send delegates.
There are two Unit 6 delegate positions open. Therefore, a secret ballot election will be held for Unit 6 members to select the two additional delegates from the nominations received in writing and made at the meeting.
The two nominees receiving the most number of votes will be delegates. The next six highest vote receivers will be alternate delegates. The nominees, in alphabetical order are:
All members will receive a ballot in the mail within the next two weeks.
The Group Insurance Commission this month voted for a 1 percent increase to state health insurance premiums for fiscal year 2015, the lowest rate increase in more than 10 years.
NAGE National Vice President Margaret Thompson, who serves on the Group Insurance Commission said, "Containing health care costs for our members and all state employees is obviously a huge priority. Keeping the rate increase to just 1 percent in the turbulent times we're facing in health care feels like a great victory. I'm proud that NAGE had a role in keeping costs down."
Thompson serves on the commission with NAGE attorney Richard Waring. NAGE is the only labor union to have two representatives on the GIC.
Waring said, “With this small increase, the GIC rate increases continue to be lower than the trend of employers across the country. Those organizations are predicted to raise rates by more than 5 percent in 2015. The GIC works very hard behind the scenes to try to keep health care costs for state employees as low as possible."
For FY2015, the GIC's carriers include: Fallon Health, Harvard Pilgrim health Care, Health New England, Neighborhood Health Plan, Tufts Health Plan, and UniCare. ANNUAL ENROLLMENT, which takes place APRIL 9 through MAY 7, gives state employees the opportunity to review these plans and enroll in or change plans, with changes taking effect July 1, 2014. (As a reminder: If you like the plan you're in, you do not need to take any action during the annual enrollment period.)
During the annual enrollment period, the GIC has scheduled health fairs throughout the state so that employees have the opportunity to review their current benefits and explore benefit options.
The Group Insurance Commission is a quasi-independent state agency governed by a seventeen-member Commission appointed by the Governor. The GIC was established by the Legislature in 1955 to provide and administer health insurance and other benefits to the Commonwealth's employees and retirees, and their dependents and survivors.
As you know, we began contract negotiations with the Commonwealth last fall. The Commonwealth agreed to our request to begin contract negotiations early to hopefully negotiate a new contract with the Patrick administration and to settle the new contract in advance of the expiration of our current contract.
The contract team you voted for last fall to represent you has been meeting with the Commonwealth for negotiations every three weeks since that time. In addition to main table negotiations, the union and the Commonwealth agreed to the formation of subcommittees. The subcommittee topics were selected based upon the online contract survey that many of our members participated in last fall. The subcommittees are as follows:
Safety and Health
Telecommuting and Flex Time
Article 14 Promotional Language
Classification and Career ladder
Both the union and the Commonwealth have submitted their proposals. The union team is working extremely hard to get the best deal for our members. We are also working as fast as possible in the hopes of beating the clock to get a contract before the next administration and by the expiration of the current contract. It is extremely important that we continue to work quickly and make every effort to get the best contract for our members during this administration and before the next one takes office in order to get the contract funded by the legislature. We will continue to update you on our progress.
We believe are already making significant progress and hope to have more definitive news that we can share with you in the near future.
Executive Vice President