I’m glad the Tech. School Committee has settled a contract with the teachers for 4 years
2010/2011 – 0%
2011/2012 – 2 %
2012/2013 – 2 %
2013/2014 – 2 % A total of 6 % over 4 years.
Hats off to Dracut member Paul Morin for being able to bend and work with the union so that teacher’s have no worries about contracts heading into next year and hats off to the teacher’s union for bending on some issues and agreeing to stay the extra day.
I’m pretty sure the person who is the unhappiness today is former Tyngsboro Committee member Steve O’Neil who probably feels the committee gave the store away and I expect him to lead the opposition to the proposed renovation project IF a change in health insurance hasn’t been worked out by next spring.
The real bonus for the teacher’s at least through next year is included in this contract is no changes regarding health-insurance benefits.
Health Insurance was not part of the contract talks apparently it was pulled out sometimes earlier in the discussions but the teachers will remain with the same coverage they had in their last contract until a new agreement can be reached.
Here is what the Insurance was in the last contract: A.Group Insurance Benefits
The Committee agrees to pay eighty percent of an Indemnity Plan or eighty-five percent of a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) Plan in accordance with the provisions of the relevant sections of Chapter 326 of the Massachusetts General Laws. Said insurance programs will be the best available under the aforementioned statute(s)
The Committee agrees to provide term insurance in the amount of twenty (20) thousand dollars for each member of the bargaining unit
The School Committee have discussed forming a Health Insurance Sub-Committee that would include representative from all the unions and a retiree representative to “look at ways to reduce cost” but nothing has been done formally. Early estimates is the district could save 1 Million dollars by switching to the GIC but nothing has been finalized.
There is a concern that now that a new contract is set the teachers and all unions can if they wish drag their feet and not make any concessions unless the board get frustrated and votes to go to the GIC and that would require at least 30 days of new talks to work out a compromise. So in theory the teachers could get almost two more years of coverage as it stands now.
Exploratory Health Care Committee Chair David Tully in a letter to retiree’s inviting them to have a seat at the table says “the committee will work within the deadlines to be eligible to join the state’s Group Insurance Commission, unless the groups decide not to move in that direction and adds:
“Personally, I’d like to work something out along the lines of what we have,” said Tully. “It seems to work. People like it; rather than make a major change, I’d like to get something in between.”
So it doesn’t seem like going to the GIC will happen soon or possibly ever.
In light of that and with what is occurring in the towns, especially Dracut, this school committee may have placed any renovation potential in grave danger because the health insurance issue hasn’t been resolved and will have to really sell the desperate need for the renovation and keep highlighting the fact that the state will reimburse 76% – 80% (potentially) of the total cost. ________________________________________________________________________________________________
On another note, School Committee member Erik Gitschier who has in the past responded to questions is avoiding answering about his motion to cut a specific dollar amount that seems to be aimed at a particular position. What happened to his It’s all about Transparency and about the kids approach?
This looks to be 100% like the Andy Sheehan move by the Council only Gitschier probably already knows he doesn’t have the votes to do this and is going through with the motion on behalf of a friend and supporter.
If there is a valid reason, why all of a sudden is he not sharing it with the people in Lowell he was elected to represent?