Health Benefit Agreement Ratified!  Now What?

Your Chapter 262 Executive Board and Negotiations Team want to send out a big, huge THANK YOU! to all CSEA 262 members who participated this past year in all the informational meetings, surveys, question and answer sessions, and all the terrific feedback, including all the concerns.  After more than a year of negotiations, Chapter 262 and the District reached a tentative agreement on health benefits, which you all ratified and the Board of Trustees approved.  Your ratification of the agreement was a testament of approval for all the time and effort your negotiations team put into this agreement.

More than 51 percent of classified employees of Unit A participated in this vote.  That is the best turnout in our Chapter’s memory!  We had more than 90 members at the June Chapter Meeting, one of the biggest turnouts ever, and our Chapter web site exploded with activity — more than 1,200 individual page views in one month reviewing the Health Benefits section of the site (which will remain available for the time being).  You can be sure your Chapter Webmaster is very, very pleased about that!

Now that the vote is done and the Board of Trustees has approved the TA as well as the separation from CalPERS, what happens next?  There is still quite a bit of work ahead, more negotiations, and a transition from CalPERS to SISC that must be done by the September open-enrollment period.  One of the first things to be done is to start reviewing the various single-party, two-party, and family plans available from Kaiser and Blue Shield provided through SISC.  As your Chapter leadership learns more about how this process will work, you will be kept informed and may be asked to answer more surveys or provide more feedback about your needs and wants. 

Your Chapter 262 leaders ensure you this process will be as transparent and informed as the process for the vote to choose SISC.  While there were a few people who were unhappy with the Chapter’s inability to accommodate all classified employees, let us remember there are about 480 current CSEA 262 members, and only a handful (less than 10 as a matter of fact) who complained about not being able to participate.  At the same time, this negotiations process has taken more time, provided more detailed and specific information to members, held more meetings, utilized more surveys and Q&A, and was more attended by chapter members than any contract negotiations in our chapter’s history.  Here are more statistics to consider:

  1. There were 241 votes cast for this TA (more than any vote in chapter history)

  2. The vote was 179 yes and 62 no — 74.3% or three out of four members

  3. There were 51% of ALL MEMBERS who voted (not just those in attendance of a meeting, a higher percentage than any vote in chapter history)

As your chapter leaders move forward negotiating the health benefit plans with SISC and the District, keep in mind the two most critical guiding principles by which CSEA 262 operates — the best deal for the most members and “equal or better.”  The goal is to negotiate the best plans that provide the best coverage for the greatest number of members, but even the “cheapest” plan must be equal or better to the equivalent plans under CalPERS.  You may not end up with a plan that is better than your current plan, but it will at least be equal to your current plan.