Proposals on Hours of Work, Reassignments, and Salaries:
The District and LMUTA teams met on Tuesday and Wednesday, April 24-25, in order to make progress on our bargaining goals. Our initial proposal is attached below.
- The District proposed continuing the one-time signing bonuses for applicants in hard-to-fill positions.
- The District proposed to increase the maximum number of service credit for new employees to 12 years.
- The district countered our proposal to increase the number of allowable sub release or paid days for involuntary transfers. As the modernization efforts will continue over 8 years, we want to make sure that teachers are adequately compensated for their efforts. The district counter was for four days of substitute time or equivalent pay at the long-term sub rate ($120 per day).
- At the end of the two days of bargaining, the district agreed to counter our salary proposal, offering 0.7% for the 2018/19 school year.
We did not reach a comprehensive agreement at this time.
A Memorandum of Understanding was reached on Health and Welfare Benefits.
The LMUTA insurance committee and bargaining team have been working hard to solve some structural and funding issues with our health benefits. We were successful in agreeing to a one-time $500 contribution from the district.
Insurance premium rates are going up slightly next year, and for the first time, the option A single-plan would cost slightly more than the district contribution of $10,000. Health benefits for the 2019/20 school year are anticipated to rise sharply by 10% or more. This means that if you are already paying out of pocket or are at the cap, your insurance premium costs would increase by 10% of the TOTAL COST of the premium, not 10% of your out-of-pocket expense. Because of this pending increase in our premium costs, the team felt that it was important to carefully analyze SISC plans, and choose options which would more efficiently use district contribution dollars in order to provide the same or better coverage for more of our members.
In conjunction with an Insurance Analyst on CTA staff, we determined that a significant number of our single-plan members are incentivized to be over-insured, or are paying higher-than-necessary premiums for coverage. Our analysis showed that the 0% deductible Plan A costs $624 more than identical coverage with a $500 deductible. The majority of our members never meet this deductible, so are never accessing this benefit. Our proposal was to ask the district to fund a $500 Flexible Spending Account (FSA), which would cover the cost of the deductible in the rare case when an individual member reaches the maximum. In this way, no member will be harmed by this change in policy options. Since the $500 FSA money could be used for much more than a potential deductible expense—such as for co-pays, alternative care not covered or covered only in part, over-the-counter medications with a doctor’s prescription, etc.—this would significantly benefit our members. Many would receive additional benefits, and all would have more flexibility in how they spend their health care dollars. The $500 one-time off-schedule contribution would be included in the September paycheck, and we would encourage members to redirect that amount to a pre-tax FSA account. These accounts allow a $500 roll-over every year. Alternatively, the $500 can be taken as a one-time bonus, subject to tax.
This MOU is a pilot effort to improve our health and welfare benefits, and will expire on June 30, 2019. This will give the District and the Association an opportunity to analyze the cost benefits of this program.
LMUTA will have an Open House and an informational meeting on Tuesday, May 8, 3:00-5:00 PM at our LMUTA office
200 S. 13th St., Suite 110