Union protests insurance plan that costs less money and covers more employees

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NEW ORLEANS – Let’s get this straight.

violin-playerThe Jefferson Parish school board has found a way to purchase dental, vision and life insurance for less cost while providing coverage for more employees, and the teachers union is angry about it.

What kind of sense does that make? As it turns out, none whatsoever.

Over the years the Jefferson Parish school board has paid big money to the Jefferson Federation of Teachers’ Health and Welfare Fund, and the union has used the money to purchase dental, vision and life insurance for teachers. The annual cost to the district in recent years has been about $1.7 million, according to Nola.com.

But everything changed with the passage of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. The school district will soon be required “to expand this coverage to include all employees, including those who work as few as 20 hours a week,” the news report said.

That prompted board members to order an outside analysis of insurance costs. The results convinced them they could save money by purchasing coverage for employees on their own, without union involvement.

The board recently purchased insurance from several different carriers, at a cost of $24.38 per employee, compared to the $25 per employee previously paid into the union’s Health and Welfare Fund. The district expects to save about $68,000 per year while providing coverage for more employees, the news report said.

How did union officials react?

As the news report put it, “Union President Meladie Munch said the union is pleased that the new insurance will cover some part-time employees. Formerly (under the union ‘s system) they were not given vision, dental and life insurance coverage. The Health and Welfare Fund only covered teachers, who make up about half of the approximately 6,000 school system employees.

“But Munch said the board and administration are not cooperating with the union.” Or as the story described the disagreement in another section, “union members protested what they described as another effort by the board to reduce the federation’s influence.”

So the union’s influence, which was presumably more potent through the Health and Welfare Fund, is suffering due to the new insurance system. Maybe that’s because the union no longer gets to play the role of sugar daddy, handing out the insurance goodies to all the grateful teachers.

That poor union. Can we have a violin solo to mark this tragic occasion?

by Steve Gunn at EAGnews.org

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22 Comments
  1. Always Vigilant says

    Except in cases of impeachment, the president has the power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States.

  2. cdansreau says

    There may be something about the unions wanting to play sugar daddy with the union members thinking the union is benevolent in providing insurance but let’s look at Wisconsin. When the conservative governor (Scott Walker) took over the state was going into debt because of union expenses. the democratic legislature thought this was fine. The union selected insurance company was expensive, very expensive. when Scott walker opened this up for competitive bidding the cost was greatly reduced I believe it was over 50%) and the state now had a surplus. It turned out that the democrats supported the unions, the unions selected the insurance companies, and the insurance companies heavily donated to democratic fund raising organizations.

    All the protesting against scott walker was really about how the democrats were going to be caught using government money to indirectly finance their campaigns and they did not want the slush fund to end. all the political grandstanding, lies, slander, false claims were pigs squealing to prevent their corruption from being found out.

    It may be that the insurance company donations to political parties and 501c3 political non profits may be very worthwhile to investigate.

  3. Don Hauptman says

    Once again, I see some information holes in this article. First off, at one point I am sure the District was purchasing the benefits for its employees. It probably saved them money to pay the Union to do it. I speculate that the district found insurance plans that did what they describe, but also probably didn’t provide the coverage or created greater out-of-pocket expenses. I can’t see a union having a problem with comparable coverage. Employment contracts are made between the employers and the unions to protect all parties. Both sides agree to the contract and it becomes a court enforceable document. If one side tries to implement changes without following the ground rules, they are in violation of the contract.
    MPERKINS2; I have worked in the public sector for over 25 years. When I went into it, I knew I wouldn’t get rich doing it. Heck, my nephew is a software writer and makes more than 3x what I make a year, not counting any bonuses he receives. When the economy was booming in the 90’s, I remember contractors mocking government employees for working for so little.
    Clearly you do not understand govt./public entities or how they function. Let me tell you, they do not care how well someone is trained or how much experience you have. They are bean counters and care only about how much that employee cuts out of their play money. If they could hire $11 an hour kids to work as firemen, cops, engineers, they would. Is that what you want providing essential services to you? If you want to cut expenses in the public sector, take a look at people in management positions. There may be fewer of them, but that is where the benefits/perks start growing, especially with City/County Council members and their staff.
    I will say that usually there is about 70% of the employees that do the work while the other 30% do little or nothing. That is a problem that has existed for years.

    1. Bart says

      You need to take off the rose colored glasses if you think unions “protect all parties”. Unions look out for union leadership and how they can expand their power and line their pockets. They couldn’t care less about low level members.

      The fact that the district was able to find better coverage for more employees at a lower costs shows that the union was skimming money off the top and/or overpaying their buddy’s insurance company and getting kick backs. They are now upset because they’ve lost some of their control and a source of money for the union coffers.

  4. anarchyst says

    In the early 20th century,unions have had a purpose in promoting safe working conditions, fair wages and benefits and curbing abuse by employers. Those days are long gone.
    It has been my personal experience that unions promote and foster a form of mediocrity.
    I was employed by a large Detroit-area firm to perform complicated processes. In my course of employment with this company, I was able to eliminate the use of “outside contractors”, thereby saving my company a considerable amount of money. My employer attempted to give me a substantial “raise”. All was well until my “union” (that I was FORCED to belong to under “agency shop” laws) found out about it. My “union” forced my employer to rescind my “raise”. The union officials’ rationale was that “if he gets a raise, everyone else in the “bargaining unit” must get a “raise”. Here I am, FORCED to belong to a “union” that is “keeping me down”. (I know about the Beck decision–it would not have helped my case). It took TWO YEARS and during “contract negotiations” to form an additional “job classification” for me to be justly compensated.
    To this day, I HAVE NO USE FOR UNIONS, either private or public sector. I can stand on my own merits. . .
    To Michigan’s credit, “right to work” legislation is now the “law” (except for police and fire department personnel).

  5. monacall says

    OUTLAW PUBILIC UNIONS

    1. Sam W says

      Unions have OUTGROWN their need. In the past when companies got away with some pretty rotten tactics they were needed. NOT so today!

  6. Chicago720 says

    As an educator with no option but to be in the local school union, I see these types of things all the time. Unions do not care about what’s best for the students, district, or state. They want the most money and control that they can possible harness. There is an enormous amount of energy and money, by extension, spent in getting members to vote for “approved” candidates -which to this point of my career have been 100% Democratic candidates without a single deviation. The union does have it’s place in providing reasonable protection for teachers from autocratic administrators, but their zeal for power and control and money far exceed that necessary mission all too often.

    1. SSBohio says

      You could be an educator working for any of the schools that aren’t unionized, couldn’t you? You could elect not to join the union at your employer, as is your right, couldn’t you? How is it you have “no option” but to join the union?

      1. mperkins2 says

        There are many places you can’t work if you don’t join the union. After hurricane Sandy many power companies from out of state were not allowed to even help during this terrible crisis because they were non-union. I think eventually they worked it out but it took a while and people were without power that much longer.

        1. Sam W says

          Do you think the Unions cared that people went days without power because of their restrictions of Union people? NOT, they only care about $$$$ from the rank and file. NOT people suffering without heat!

          1. mperkins2 says

            Money and power is all they care for.

        2. Bart says

          After Sandy it was much worse than simply not allowing non-union members to help. A good friend of my father, who had traveled at his own expense from Florida to help out, was attacked by union thugs and badly beaten. He was an older gentleman and he nearly died from the injuries.

          His “crime”: fixing the electrical system in the home of some elderly folks so they could get their electricity turned back on and have heat. He did it free of charge and without a union membership.

          A friend of mine from NJ, told me incidents like that were a common occurrence. The worst part is, they get away with it and have no fear of prosecution thanks to the Hobbs Exemption and a complicit government. The way they act these days, unions do not belong in a civilized society.

          I urge everyone to let their Congress critters know you support the “Freedom from Union Violence Act”. I would also encourage you to join and support Mark Mix’s “National Right to Work Foundation”. They offer pro bono legal help and representation to employees fighting back against union abuses.

          1. mperkins2 says

            I’m sorry to here that and I hope he is doing all right. I know how they are as I was a lineman myself. There would be places you would go where we would go to work with the contractor I worked for and if they went on strike you could not even go on their lot. They would call us scabs, come by while we were working and throw things at us, and at night vandalize our equipment. This would happen even if we had a contract to work for them. Even in the private sector they can be bad and that is why we do not need them in our government. That includes public schools because we pay the teachers with our tax dollars.

          2. I'mBaaaatmaaaan! says

            I hope he is ok. He is fortunate that they didn’t outright murder him. These union THUGS need to receive a dose of lead at 850 fps. Although, in “Joisy” , you aint lowd to pertect yo sef…

        3. I'mBaaaatmaaaan! says

          Yeah, they “worked it out”. The non-union people had to pay “dobey” (legal extortion) to the union in order to provide a much needed emergency service to a disaster area.

          1. mperkins2 says

            Your right. I couldn’t remember that at the time so I just didn’t try to guess.

  7. mperkins2 says

    Unions should be banned from all public positions paid for by tax payers. That would include any government office or offshoot of the government. We the people, that is to say tax payers are the ones who should say this job pays this much money so take it or leave it and be the ones who say if they need a raise or not. Unions in government is un-Constitutional and they all should be run out of the public sector.

    1. SSBohio says

      The First Amendment guarantees freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of association. How is associating with a union, assembling together and speaking not Constitutionally-protected activity?

      1. mperkins2 says

        You must not have read my comment very carefully. I never said a union is un-Constitutional. What I said is it is un-Constitutional to have in our government who are paid with tax payer money. When they petition or strike for more money it puts more burden on tax payers, most of whom are barely making ends meet as it is. Their salaries and benefits already surpass the average private sector employee as it is. The government is supposed to answer to the people not a private business. If any private sector employer wants to let a union into their business that is their choice to make because that’s his or her money not ours. Our federal and local government is just not the place for a union to have control.

      2. anarchyst says

        Freedom of association should go both ways. Mandatory union “membership” and “agency shop laws” force an “association” that may not be wanted. Holding one’s job hostage to require union membership is not “freedom”. . .
        Here in Michigan, the unions screamed that “freedom” was being curtailed as a result of “right to work” legislation being passed. How is voluntary union membership curtailing anyone’s rights??
        All “right to work” legislation does is strip one “itty-bitty” clause from union contracts–the union security clause (which mandates union membership as a condition of employment). All other aspects of union contracts remain in effect. Right-to-work laws force unions to deliver real value for their membership.

      3. AirFrank says

        Assembling together is a Constitutionally protected activity. But once the union gets bargaining rights they are doing more than just speaking. And requiring that someone join them as a condition of employment is unConstitutional.

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