We have some tremendous news to report for members of Local 117 at King County involving their health care benefits.
Working as the lead negotiator in a coalition of King County Unions, Local 117’s General Counsel Spencer Thal has bargained an agreement with the County that will preserve your benefits without the risk of premium share or plan change through 2014 and likely beyond.
The deal provides for a “Protected Fund Reserve” of at least $25 million and possibly more to be set aside for health care increases impacting JLMIC-eligible employees. The fund cannot be used for any other purpose unless mutually agreed to by the parties. Any additional savings achieved will be added to build the Protected Fund Reserve.
The County has also agreed to provide an additional 4% increase per year to cover rising health care expenses for JLMIC employees.
View the complete JLMIC agreement here.
Before any future discussions involving required changes to your health care coverage are triggered, the County’s newly-established reserve fund will have to fall below a $10 million threshold.
That guarantees that there will be no change in your coverage for 2013 and 2014; it is likely that there will be no change in 2015 as well.
In addition, the parties agreed to a neutral dispute resolution process if they cannot reach agreement as to how to fund the cost of health care increases in future years.
This agreement would not have been possible without a willingness by union members to make significant sacrifices to help the County through its fiscal crisis in 2008-2009.
In the end, public employees helped saved King County as much as $75 million, which ultimately put the County on stable economic footing. In addition, Unions worked with the County to preserve 200 jobs, maintain public services, and cap County health care increases at a manageable 4% when the market is expecting increases of 6-7% annually.
“At King County, public employees and their unions can be proud of their recent accomplishments,” said Tracey A. Thompson, Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer.
“Not only did we step up and help the County successfully navigate its financial crisis, we have now protected the health benefits of thousands of working families by pooling all of the cost savings into a dedicated reserve fund.”
If you have questions about the JLMIC agreement or the MOU with the County, please talk to your Business Representative.