Even as healthcare costs skyrocket nationwide, the Detroit Federation of Teachers and the Coalition of Unions fought for and won an agreement that guarantees affordable access to quality healthcare and provides more options for school employees and their families. The new agreement with the Detroit Public Schools Community District was approved this week by the Financial Review Commission.
Under the plan, district employees have a new medical provider—the Blue Care Network (BCN-Blue Cross Blue Shield), and a new prescription drug provider—Employee Health Insurance Management (EHIM). Because BCN is a larger network, bargaining unit members will have access to more choices of medical providers. Dental insurance will continue to be provided through Delta Dental and other coverages, such as optical/vision care and life insurance, will remain unchanged from the current agreement.
The Coalition of Unions—the DFT, the Detroit Federation of Paraprofessionals, the Detroit Association of Education Office Employees, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Local 345, and the Organization of School Administrators and Supervisors (OSAS)—worked closely with Great Lakes Benefits, an independent healthcare consultant group. As a result, we have an agreement that keeps healthcare affordable for our members and contains costs for the district.
Additionally, the DFT and the Coalition of Unions secured an agreement with DPSCD that allocates savings realized through the new plan to bargaining unit members who opt out of district-provided health-related coverage. While the FRC would not approve a flat $2,000 opt-out payment to employees who decline the district-provided health coverage, we did get them to agree to create a pool of money—presently up to $850,000, and possibly more, based on certain savings in the insurance program. That pool will be divided among the bargaining unit members who choose to opt out. Those who opt out are presently estimated to receive $1,380, but may receive up to $2,000—depending on overall savings and the number of opt-outs. To reap the benefits of the opt-out agreement, a Coalition bargaining unit member must have been an employee with the district from Sept. 4, 2016 through June 1, 2017. The payment will be made to qualifying employees in June 2017.
We are requesting that DPSCD schedule informational meetings for bargaining unit members to provide greater details on the new healthcare agreement. The DFT will be reaching out to our members with more information over the next few days. Click here for a chart with proposed healthcare rates.
We are stronger when we all stand together. This healthcare agreement is just another example of how we win when we are united. We encourage you to help us build power by staying connected and getting involved with the union.