Posted by Neil McFarlane at Jul 23, 2012 08:15 AM | Permalink
Late last week, we received an important decision from an Employment Relations Board (ERB) Administrative Law Judge. If you remember, because of financial concerns, TriMet froze cost of living adjustments (COLAs) and passed on increased insurance premiums as of January 1, 2011 for union members while we negotiated a new contract. The ERB ruled TriMet had the right to “freeze” both insurance premiums and COLAs – but because we implemented the freeze in reaction to our belief that the union was engaging in delay tactics and not bargaining at the table in good faith, ERB found in this case that we had implemented the freeze for both lawful financial and unlawful retaliatory reasons.
The ERB decision does not change anything regarding how we implement the arbitrator’s award, and we will continue to do so. So why doesn’t the ERB’s decision impact the arbitrator's award? Well, because ERB’s order is to make employees "whole,” including past COLAs, premium contributions, and out-of-pocket medical expenses. Making employees whole under the ERB order means putting them in the same place they would have been on January 1, 2011, continuing to date. As the ERB order says, TriMet is already obligated to pay the COLAs and premiums under its last best offer, which the arbitrator selected. So, for the period that ERB was concerned with, beginning January 1, 2011, both decisions say the same thing.
As part of implementing the arbitrator’s award, TriMet will reimburse union employees for any premiums paid during the entire 3-year contract, reimburse out-of-pocket costs for those in Kaiser Option # 2, and pay back COLAs. However, there is one very important consideration for many employees. The new contract calls for employees who were in the Regence Plan at any time from December 1, 2009 to now to move to what is called a 90/10 plan. Because the move is retroactive, those employees also will owe money to TriMet for the value of out-of-pocket expenses they should have been paying under the Regence 90/10 plan. It will take some time to calculate the “true up,” especially for employees who participated in multiple medical plans since December 2009.
I know all of this is incredibly complicated but we are doing our best to answer your questions and get you the good information you need. We have set up a web page on TriNET - http://trinet.trimet.org/home/
My thanks in advance for your patience.
(So this piece of shit that calls himself a general manager says that all of us that have the option 1 Blue Cross now owe him money? How is that possible since we have been paying the higher premiums. And if you recall the arbitrators decision he called into question the legality of Trimet trying to collect on this.
This is the most UNETHICAL THING I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED AS AN EMPLOYEE ANYWHERE IN MY LIFE!
I suggest this fascist pig to go back and look at the arbitrators decision: HERE!