Negotiations Update 10/22/2015
We met with Metro Transit and a mediator several times this month. A small handful of non-economic issues were discussed. Major issues, including healthcare, and the financial package have yet to be resolved.
Throughout negotiations, Met Council has insisted upon an increase in premiums to the Open Access health plan. Originally, their projections called for an 11% increase in the total premium. ATU has been disputing this in bargaining, including our reminding them that the reserve fund is approximately $5 million over the amount necessary to be held in reserve. Met Council reassessed the plan numbers; and now, according to their projections, they are instituting an increase of 7% to Open Access, 2% to Distinctions, and no increase to HRA.
Met Council claims that their numbers are now accurate, and have invited ATU to have an Insurance expert of ATU’s choosing review the numbers, at the expense of Management. We have accepted this offer, and are in the process of selecting a firm. This dispute over the health care numbers has created a pause in negotiations. Dates have been scheduled into November and December to continue bargaining once the study is completed.
Open Enrollment materials are coming out, and the employee contributions are increasing, even though we haven’t reached an agreement about contributions yet. Contributions are the portion of the total premium that the employee and employer pay. Management is passing the total premium increase on to employees in the form of significantly increased employee contributions until we reach a contract settlement. If we don’t reach agreement before 1/1/16 any over/under payment for insurance will be dealt with in the contract settlement.