From today's Boston Globe: Public employee unions have "offered concessions that they said would deliver significant savings to cash-strapped cities and towns."  Here is the offer:

- Giving municipal employees 45 days to bargain changes to their health plans. If they cannot come to agreement, an "unnamed third party" would decide whether the employees would be required to join the GIC or accept changes imposed by local officials.

- The agreement would last 3 years and deliver $120 million in health insurance savings annually, union officials said. But, in the first year, $60 million of the savings would be given back to local public employees, not to cities and towns. Union officials said the money could help offset higher copayments and deductibles that local workers would accept."

I agree with the responses from taxpayer groups and the Mass Municipal Association, which is to say that this offer is pretty weak.

 “Their proposal is a convoluted and cumbersome process, which fails to achieve anything close to the savings that is necessary in order to preserve the jobs of public employees,’’ said Michael J. Widmer, president of the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation, a business-backed budget watchdog group.

"Local officials criticized the plan for giving a third party the power to resolve union-management disputes, saying it amounted to binding arbitration, which typically favors labor. They also criticized a provision that would give unions 50 percent of the seats on the board of the Group Insurance Commission.

“Overall, their framework is actually a repackaged collection of steps that include no new proposals and, in the end, provide little in the way of reform or taxpayer relief,’’ said Geoff Beckwith, executive director of the Massachusetts Municipal Association, which represents local officials."



 


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