Press Release: Health Insurance a Sticking Point

For Immediate Release
November 19, 2018

Health Insurance a Sticking Point in West Hartford Teacher Contract Negotiations
Board of Education says no to moving to the state plan, which would save local taxpayers millions.

Teacher contract negotiations in West Hartford are at a standstill over the issue of health insurance. The West Hartford Education Association, representing more than 900 teachers, has asked the town to move teachers to the State Partnership Health Insurance plan. The move would save the town nearly a million dollars a year, but the Board of Education is refusing the proposal, opting for a plan that would be more costly to teachers.

“Moving to the state healthcare plan is a win-win for teachers and West Hartford taxpayers, providing a means to combat increasing health insurance costs,” said West Hartford Education Association President Theresa McKeown. “The plan would save the district over $800,000 in the current year, and over a million dollars a year for the life of the contract.”

At least 33 districts have moved teachers to the State Partnership Health Insurance plan since May 2015, when the State Legislature passed the bill allowing local associations the choice to join the state employee healthcare plan. The state plan shares the risk with a much larger pool of state and municipal employees, which helps hold down premium costs, saving cities and towns millions of dollars annually.

Instead of implementing the state healthcare plan for teachers, West Hartford wants a plan that would significantly increase premium share costs to teachers as well as shift the plan design, increasing prescription costs and out-of-pocket maximum expenses.

“Teachers have taken on a higher share of their healthcare premiums, and out of pocket costs. In other words, healthcare and inflations have outpaced teacher’s salary increases,’’ said West Hartford Education Association Negotiations Chair David Simon. “Under the proposed Board of Education health plan, our teachers would be paying more for less coverage, and the increase costs would negate any salary increases for half of our teachers. For many teachers, the increase in premium costs would result in a pay cut, with teachers taking home less pay this year than they did last year.”

“Our teachers are some of the best in the state. They are passionate about their students, dedicated to their profession, and, on average, spend $500 a year of their own money on students. Despite everything they do, year after year, they are asked to give more, but they too need to earn a living to support their families,” said McKeown.

She added, “We look forward to working together with town leaders to reach an agreement that benefits both teachers and taxpayers.”

Teachers Rally for Affordable Health Insurance

West Hartford teachers will attend Tuesday´s West Hartford Board of Education meeting at 7p.m. to call on the board to negotiate a new contract that allows teachers to participate in the State Partnership Health Insurance Plan.

 

For more information, contact West Hartford Education Association President Theresa McKeown or WHEA Negotiations Chair David Simon at the West Hartford Education Association (860) 236-5350.

Posted in Uncategorized

David Simon WH BOE Meeting Nov. 20th

Posted in Uncategorized

West Hartford Teachers Wear Red for Ed!

Read the full article here

West Hartford Teachers Wear #RedforEd to Support Contract Negotiations

“If you were wondering why there are so many people wearing red in the audience tonight, it’s to show support for the contract negotiations with the Board of Education— to improve teachers’ working conditions, salaries, and health benefits,” said West Hartford Education Association Negotiations Chair David Simon.

More than 100 West Hartford teachers wearing #redfored crowded into Town Council chambers to show their support for Simon’s remarks during public comment at a Board of Education meeting last night.

Teacher contract negotiations in West Hartford are at a standstill over the issue of health insurance. The West Hartford Education Association, representing more than 800 teachers, has asked the town to move teachers to the State Partnership Health Insurance plan.

“Moving to the state healthcare plan is a win-win for teachers and West Hartford taxpayers, providing a means to combat increasing health insurance costs,” said West Hartford Education Association President Theresa McKeown. “The plan would save the district over $800,000 in the current year, and over a million dollars a year for the life of the contract.”

At least 33 districts have moved teachers to the State Partnership Health Insurance plan since May 2015, when the State Legislature passed the bill allowing local associations the choice to join the state employee healthcare plan. The state plan shares the risk with a much larger pool of state and municipal employees, which helps hold down premium costs, saving cities and towns millions of dollars annually.

Instead of implementing the state healthcare plan for teachers, West Hartford wants a plan that would significantly increase premium share costs to teachers as well as shift the plan design, increasing prescription costs and out-of-pocket maximum expenses.

“The Connecticut Partnership Plan is better than what we have at the moment, and certainly much better than the plan being proposed by the board of education in our negotiations,” Simon said. “The plan the board is supporting would result in a loss of earnings for over half the teachers in our district.”

The proposed Board of Education health plan would require teachers to pay more for less coverage. These increased costs would negate any salary increases for the most veteran, skilled teachers. For many teachers, the increase in premium costs would result in a pay cut, with teachers taking home less pay this year than they did last year.

“With the loss of earnings, many teachers would leave for more lucrative jobs in the area,” Simon said. “Over the last 10 years of contracts, our salaries have not kept up with inflation, even as we still provide a superior education for our community.”

During her public comments, West Hartford parent and former UConn basketball player and assistant coach Meghan Culmo remarked that her red attire was coincidental as she was at the meeting to speak to another issue, but added, “Rock on teachers!”

Simon concluded, to cheers and a standing ovation, “People come to West Hartford for the education. If the people of our town value the superior education West Hartford is famous for and has traditionally offered your children and community, it is time to support your teachers.”

Posted in Uncategorized

St. Joseph’s Off-Campus Programs

Hartford Area Information Meeting

Wethersfield High School
411 Wolcott Hill Road Wethersfield
Tuesday, November 27th 3:00 PM, and  4:00 PM

To RSVP please visit our University of Saint Joseph Information Meeting page or for more information, call (800) 956-8503 or e-mail bmurphy@graduateprogram.org.

Programs Offered:

  • M.A. in Advanced Teaching in Special Education (Cross-Endorsement)
  • M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction
  • M.A. in Education with Multiple Intelligences Theory Concentration
  • M.A. in Instructional Technology
  • M.A. in Literacy
  • M.A. in Special Education
  • M.A. in Special Education Autism Spectrum Disorder Focus
  • M.A. TESOL Education– Hybrid Blended Format

 Off-Campus Program Highlights:

  • Reduced tuition guaranteed throughout the program
  • One night a week, same night for the entire program
  • 4 hours per week, 4:45 p.m. – 8:45 p.m.
  • 2 years of less completion time, including breaks

If you have any questions or are unable to attend the meeting, please contact me at (800) 956-8503 to discuss your program of interest.

Thank you!

-Brent

Brent Murphy
Coordinator, Off-Campus Programs
University of Saint Joseph
K-12 Teachers Alliance
Phone: 800-956-8503
Fax: 800-504-7618

Email: bmurphy@graduateprogram.org

Posted in Uncategorized

Retirement Workshop

Retirement Workshop
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
4:00 – 5:30 pm
Conard High School
CAFETERIA
PS ~ Look over your CEA Advisor Special Retirement Issue. You may find this to be very helpful. It was mailed to you just last month.
Posted in Uncategorized