(updated June 9th)
Leaders of the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) met Friday, May 27 and voted to recommend a tentative SEBAC agreement (SEBAC TA) with the Malloy Administration to be sent to union members. That agreement covers pension and healthcare benefits, but also includes a recommended framework for agreement on wages and other issues to individual bargaining units.
As part of that process, the state will offer individual agreements to each bargaining unit that are consistent with the framework in the SEBAC TA. Those individual units that reach agreement with their employers will bring those agreements to their members for ratification, along with the SEBAC Agreement.
The job security provisions of the overall framework are available only to unions that reach agreements on their individual contracts, which are consistent with the framework. All members will have a vote on the overall SEBAC agreement, but only members of a particular bargaining unit vote on their own unit contracts.
In the next few days, it is important that each member communicate with his or her union leadership to learn more about the provisions of the SEBAC TA, and the details of any bargaining unit agreement they may have. It is crucial that members take an active role to make sure they cast an informed ballot.
The votes on the SEBAC TA and any unit agreements will each be held in accordance with the rules of the particular unions, but here are the next steps that will affect everyone:
- Holding informational meetings for members to review final details and have their questions answered. Most of those meeting will be on a bargaining unit basis, but there will also be a statewide meeting on healthcare and grievance issues on June 4 from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM at the State Armory in Hartford.
- Members vote on ratification of the SEBAC TA, and on their individual bargaining unit’s TA, depending on bargaining unit rules; and
- SEBAC leadership cast final votes on the SEBAC TA, after individual bargaining units’ steps are completed.
There has been much discussion about the health care changes contained in the tentative agreement much of it by people who, unfortunately, either did not understand, or deliberately distorted, the basic parts of the agreement. Those parts are now fully in writing for you all to review. For instance (quoted parts come directly from the TA):
- “None of the benefit levels, access requirements, including doctors and hospitals or basic plan structures are modified by this agreement.”
- “As is currently the case under the State Health Plan, any medical decisions will continue to be made by the patient and his or her physician.”
- All state employees will continue to be covered by the same vendors as currently, with the same choice of the point of plans (point of service or point of enrollment).
- There are some changes in rules designed primarily to keep members healthier by giving them the information they need about their health status, and any medical issues. That is the purpose of the new Health Enhancement Program. “There is no change in current plans except as specifically noted otherwise below.”
- We’ll have the same health, prescription, and dental vendors with the HEP as we do now. We engage in a bidding process every few years for providers for the State Health Plan’s medical, pharmacy and dental programs.
- The State Health plan is not SustiNet or part of SustiNet. Nothing in the ratification of SEBAC 2011 has anything to do whatsoever whether SustiNet ever becomes the law. No matter what happens with SEBAC 2011, no state law about SustiNet or pooling could affect state employee benefits or our plan without the ratification of SEBAC .
- While we have always been supportive of health reform, we have insisted, and will always insist, that health reform not have any negative impact on the benefits or plan of our members, nor change the fact that our plan is collectively bargained between the State and SEBAC and under the control of our joint Health Care Cost Containment Committee.
There are dozens of other myths out there: “Kentucky Plan,” “Managed Care” – even John Rowland, no friend of state employees, is spreading myths and rumors. Get the facts. Read the TA. Talk to your union leaders. Of course we want members to vote yes – we believe in the proposed agreement – but most of all we want members to vote based on facts, not mythology or rumor.
Click here to download a copy of the tentative agreement. For information on bargaining unit-specific discussions, contact your local union leadership.
Ultimately, the overall tentative SEBAC agreement calls for sacrifices from our members, but preserves our jobs and the vital public services we deliver during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
Now is the time for the union members to decide.
Click here to download a copy of the tentative agreement, along with this membership statement in a format you can print. The file includes two additional attachments, a glossary, and a signed joint statement on the protection of state employees’ healthcare benefits under the agreement.
To learn more about SEBAC’s campaign for a better budget and a livable state with great public services visit www.InThisTogetherCT.org.