By ALEX MALM
The Warwick City Council passed a resolution Monday night asking the administration and collective bargaining units to consider certain healthcare reforms when contracts are …
By ALEX MALM
The Warwick City Council passed a resolution Monday night asking the administration and collective bargaining units to consider certain healthcare reforms when contracts are negotiated.
Author of the resolution, Ward 5 Councilman Ed Ladouceur pointed out that the cost of health insurance continues to have a large impact on the budget.
The resolution reads in part “the City could realize significant financial savings in annual healthcare costs if future collective bargaining agreements reformed the City of Warwick design by: increasing out of pocket maximums and pharmacy copayments to align with the State of Rhode Island’s Anchor healthcare plan design; requiring a minimum co-share of 25% on healthcare coverage; and/or, for new hires, when they retire, to pay for up to 100% in co-share for their healthcare coverage.”
The resolution asks that all collective bargaining participants consider “reforming the City of Warwick’s healthcare benefit plan design, including to align more closely with the state of Rhode Island’s Anchor healthcare benefit plan design.”
“The Warwick City Council respectfully requests collective bargaining participants to consider reforming the City of Warwick’s healthcare benefit plan design,” the resolution reads.
Ladouceur explained that the resolution doesn’t require the Administration or collective bargaining units to have any specific language in their contracts, instead it’s asking all parties to consider and work toward a goal of finding solutions to the “unsustainable cost of healthcare.”
All Council members in attendance voted in favor of the resolution. Ward 1 Councilman Bill Foley wasn’t present.
“I support the resolution,” said Council President Steve McAllister.
“I think this is the right venue for it,” said McAllister. “That’s where these decisions need to be made.”
McAllister said he agreed that at the very least health care changes should be considered during future contract negotiations.
“They should absolutely consider these reforms,” said McAllister.
Ladouceur previously proposed an ordinance that would require new contracts to have certain standards including minimum deductions, and co-payments. The ordinance didn’t pass.
In a statement following the meeting Michael Carreiro President of IAFF Local 2748 the Union that represents the Warwick Fire Fighters said “Seems to me that Ed wants to take away any collective bargaining rights away from workers.”
“We already reformed healthcare benefits in the last collective bargaining process by having firefighters pay into other post employee benefits,” said Carreiro.
The Fire Union contract expires at the end of June.
Former City Council member Bob Cushman said that while the Council doesn’t negotiate contracts he pointed out that the Council does ratify all union collective bargaining agreements. He said that the Council should “put a line in the sand,” for future contracts in order to afford new schools, roads, etc.
Cushman said that the taxpayers can’t be the only ones making sacrifices for the increased spending.
“It has to be a shared sacrifice,” said Cushman.
Ladouceur on Monday as he has in the past pointed to the numbers to make his case.
One example is that about 15 percent of the City of Warwick budget will be spent on health insurance costs for employees and retirees.
Out of the $159.2 million that the municipality budgeted, $13.2 million was allocated for active health insurance costs and $10.4 million was for retirees this year.
“Think about how expensive that is for the taxpayer,” said Ladouceur.
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