Monday, August 29, 2011

Why I Voted "No"

The following statement was provided to PEF members by an elected member of the PEF Executive Board, an explanation to his constituents. The author encourages people to share this document (pdf link here and at the bottom).

Why I Voted "No"

On Thursday, August 11, 2011, the PEF Executive Board decided by a vote of 85 to 38 to send the tentative contract to the membership for ratification. I voted “no” because I think that acceptance of this agreement is not in our best interest for the following reasons:

• While the current threatened layoffs may be cancelled if the contract is ratified, there is no guarantee against future layoffs.

• We are locked into a five year contract with no protection against future inflation.

• The five unpaid furlough days by the end of March 2012 would result in an approximately 4% pay cut spread over the remainder of the current fiscal year. For a Grade 18, there could be a decrease in pay of up to $1,300 by March 31, 2012.

• The change in the employee share of the cost of health insurance would increase your premium for family Empire Plan coverage by just under $1,000 per year, almost $5,000 over the term of the contract. For individual coverage, your premium would increase by around $425 per year, almost $2,000 over the contract.

• The Empire Plan out of network provider annual deductible would increase to $1,000 per person from the current $388. The maximum out of pocket would go from $1,069 to $3,000.

• Empire Plan prescription co-pays for a 90 day supply of a brand name drug would go from $30 to $50 and $70 to $90.

• Updated life expectancy tables would be used to determine the monthly value of unused sick leave for employees who retire on or after October 1, 2011. While the affect would vary based on your age, salary and amount of unused sick leave, for me it would increase my retiree health insurance cost by almost $40 per month or more than $8,000 over my life expectancy.

• According to a press release issued by the Governor’s Office, the proposed contract will result in almost $400 million in savings over the contract term. Based on 54,000 PEF members, this means that we are giving up over $7,000 a member.

While the majority of the Executive Board voted to send the contract to the membership, several Board members who voted “yes” have told me that they wanted to give their members a chance to vote but will campaign against it.

Ron Goldstein

The author represents members at the Department of Labor on the PEF Executive Board.

printable version available here