On behalf of all of us who labor to advance and protect the fundamental rights of faculty, I wish you a great semester.
I wish to tell you about the status of three things that developed over the summer:
1)Health Insurance rebate, 2) Post-tenure & promotion raises and 3) Contract negotiation update
Health Insurance rebate
It was the AFUM negotiating team that recognized that UMS, as a self-insured entity, was in some years not spending all the money budgeted (and collected from us) for health insurance expenses. AFUM negotiated a rebate of any savings in excess of 1% of the budget (2006, in 2009 contract). This AFUM language became standard in the contracts of many other labor groups, including the non-represented employees in UMS. A process was developed to determine our rebate and return money to members.
We once more find ourselves with a health insurance rebate. The complexity of how we pay for insurance has increased and UMS initially wanted to use the old process to determine our rebate amount. After discussion and searching records UMS agreed with AFUM that the rebate should be substantially larger (over 3 times larger). We also established a process to determine rebate amounts going forward.
Depending on your current insurance plan as of August 1, you will receive a (taxable) rebate in your September paycheck for the following (approximate) amounts: Family: $778, two people: $611 and single: $277.
Beyond the money, this rebate is evidence that our actions play a significant role in the cost of medical coverage. The actual medical & RX spend came in about 1% below expectations. The majority of the savings came from expanded use of the CIGNA on-line pharmacy. In short, this pharmacy gets better rebates for name brand drugs and 100% of the rebates go back into reducing the cost of the plan. There is great potential to increase usage, and hence savings, by increasing usage of on-line pharmacy. While rebates are from name brand drugs, we all save much more by use of generics.
It is also not too early to get a start on Wellness by having your PCP wellness visit and/or set up your coaching session with Trestle Tree. UMS will be providing more information soon. I do encourage you to read the Wellness newsletter. Also refer to my May 2017 AFUM Update for contact information.
Post-tenure and promotions
UMS and AFUM disagree on the legal requirement to make PT and promotion awards when we are without a new contract (our current situation). The parties did sign a Memorandum of Understanding that Post-tenure awards, promotions and lecturer steps will be paid as provided for under the previous contract. These awards should also show up in your September paycheck.
The parties have not yet reached a tentative agreement on a successor contract. We are discussing a minimal package proposal that resulted in two areas of disagreement. One of these areas has been resolved and we are now working to see if we can reach an agreement on the last remaining issue.
On a final note, UM AFUM Chapter President George Markowsky has left for greener pastures. In addition to many other things, George ran the AFUM website. The transition is taking longer than expected due to the upheaval of his moving and starting a new job, so the website has not been updated. The next AFUM Executive Board meeting will be September 16 at UMF.