Traverse City Record-Eagle


May 23, 2014

Contract at impasse; insurance costs rise

TRAVERSE CITY -—Traverse City Education Association members will see more of their salaries go toward health insurance as they continue to negotiate a contract agreement with Traverse City Area Public Schools administrators.

District officials and union leaders have been negotiating a contract for more than a year.

TCAPS Executive Director of Human Resources Chris Davis said recent legislative changes impact how insurance renewals are distributed if no contract is in place at renewal time. The district’s medical plan renews every July 1, she said.

“Public Act 54 states that if a contract is not in place at renewal time the increases cannot be borne by the district,” Davis said.

That means teachers will be responsible for paying the district for health insurance increases before the district pays the insurance company, Davis said.

Davis said increases for July, August and September combined are:

$117 for single-person coverage;

$281 for two-person coverage;

$348 for full family coverage.

TCEA President Jeff Leonhardt said teachers with full family coverage already pay about $125 from each paycheck into insurance costs, and the increase will be an extra expense on top of that amount.

“This is going to put a crunch on some of my members,” he said. “They’re going to feel it.”

Leonhardt said wages and step increases are frozen and insurance increases are passed onto employees because they do not have a signed contract in place. He added that nothing can be reimbursed retroactively.

“The law, it makes it challenging for us,” he said. “If we don’t have a contract, we take all the hits.”

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