An arbitrator has ruled that State employees are required to pay tobacco and spousal surcharges that the State imposed through a budget bill last year.

Teamsters Local 117, along with several others unions, challenged the State’s position through the grievance and arbitration process starting in 2014. 

The Union argued that the State’s imposition of surcharges violated the terms of the negotiated Health Care Agreement and undermined the agreed to 85%/15% split of the premium.

The Union’s grievance was heard by Arbitrator David Stiteler in July of 2015.

Ultimately, Arbitrator Stiteler ruled that the State’s surcharges are a “charge or fee that is not related to the cost of providing health care benefits, but rather is based on behavior (tobacco) or status (availability of comparable insurance for spouse/partner).”

Obviously, we are disappointed with the Arbitrator’s ruling and disagree with his assessment of what constitutes health care costs for State employees.  We will continue to challenge the State whenever we believe your rights as union members have been violated.

You can view Arbitrator’s Stiteler’s complete decision here.