Trimess

Trimess
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Friday, July 20, 2012

SO HOW SCREWED ARE WE? TRIMET EXPLAINS

New union contract effective immediately-Its the Blue Cross people that got it up the A#$!


Contents

Term of Agreement
Cost of Living Increases for Active Employees
Joint Labor Relations committee (JLRC)
Grievance & Arbitration Process
ATU Benefits Coordinator
Seniority Provisions
Child Care/Elder Assistance Program
Transit Exchange Program
Pension Plan and Permanent Disability Agreement
Healthcare Plan Benefits

We are developing questions and answers to help employees understand the details of implementing the new union contract.

Here is a summary to date of the main changes in the contract and how they might affect you.

Have additional questions, please let us know and we will do our best to get back to you and keep this updated.
Term of Agreement

(Article 1, Section 1, Par. 1)

Under the contract award, what is the term of the agreement?

The contract is retroactive to December 1, 2009 and expires November 30, 2012.
Cost of Living Increases for Active Employees

Under the contract award, when will the wage rates be adjusted for active union employees?

The new contract calls for union members to receive cost of living adjustments (COLAs) in the following percentage amounts:

December 1, 2010 0.51%
June 1, 2011 2.49%
December 1, 2011 2.08%
June 1, 2012 1.23%

New rates will be effective for the payroll period beginning July 8 and will be reflected on the August 1 pay checks.

When will the past COLA amounts be paid for pay periods under the contract prior to July 8?

Past COLA amounts due for all pay periods prior to July 8 will be paid in a separate check so it can be to be distributed to employees no later than August 24.

Taxes on retroactive earnings payments are withheld at the supplemental tax rate. This means that taxes will be calculated using a percentage, not using your exemptions on your current W-4. The IRS defines supplemental wages as compensation paid in addition to the employee's regular wages that includes, but is not limited to, back pay. Currently, the federal supplemental income tax rate is 25%, the State of Oregon supplemental income tax rate is 9%, and the employee portion of social security and Medicare tax is 5.65%. These rates will be used to withhold employee taxes from retroactive payments.(we lose 40% in taxes-thanks Trimet)
Joint Labor Relations committee (JLRC)

(Article 1, Section 1, Par. 6)

Under the contract award, will TriMet still pay for ATU members attending the Joint Labor Relations committee (JLRC) meetings?


No, ATU e-Board officers will not be on paid time by TriMet for JLRC meetings.

Does this change have any effect upon Union leave pursuant to Article 3, Sec. 3, Par 1(c)(9), which states “time loss will be paid, per conditions set by the labor agreement"?

No.
Grievance & Arbitration Process

(Article 1, Section 3, Par. 1)

Under the contract award, will TriMet still pay for ATU e-Board officers to represent ATU members in any step of the grievance procedure?

No, ATU e-Board officers will not be on paid time by TriMet for any step of the grievance procedure. (so who pays for the union rep to go with you? the union?)

Does this change have any effect upon Union leave pursuant to Article 3, Sec. 3, Par 1(c)(9), which states “time loss will be paid, per conditions set by the labor agreement”?

No.
ATU Benefits Coordinator

(Article 1, Section 9, Par. 2)

Under the contract award, will TriMet continue to make payments to ATU for an outside Benefits Coordinator retained by the ATU?

Yes, TriMet will pay $1,500 per month to ATU for this purpose.
Seniority Provisions

(Article I, Section 13, Par. 1)

Under the contract award, will TriMet non-union employees still be able to bump back to the union for one day so they can retire under the union’s more attractive retirement program?

A non-union employee will retain union seniority for only five years. Consequently, if the non-union employee has been in a non-union position for five years without working in a union position, union seniority will be lost. So, for example, if a non-union employee has been in a non-union position for the entire five years prior to his/her retirement, the individual cannot bump back for a day in order to retire under the union’s more generous retirement plans. However, an employee will get a pro-rated pension benefit between the plans s/he participated in while holding various positions in the agency.


Does the 5-year seniority provision apply to both pension and retiree health benefits?

Yes. (what is this supposed to mean)

Child Care/Elder Assistance Program

(Article I, Section 19, Par. 12)

Under the contract award, will TriMet continue to make payments to ATU for the Child Care/Elder Assistance Program?(does anybody actually use this)

Yes, TriMet will continue to making a payment to ATU for the term of this agreement in the amount of $55,000. The contract award is retroactive to December 1, 2010. TriMet has paid $65,000 since 2008, but will not seek reimbursement from the ATU for the overpayments.
Transit Exchange Program

(Article I, Section 19, Par. 14)

Under the contract award, will TriMet continue to make payments to ATU of $18,000 for union officials to travel for the purpose of exchanging information and ideas with other national and international transportation association executive officers?

No.
Pension Plan and Permanent Disability Agreement

Under the contract award, how will annual COLA increases for existing retirees be handled?

Annually on May 1, TriMet will increase the retirement pension of employees who retired on or before July 31, 2012, by an amount equal to the percentage increase in the CPI-W for the preceding year, with a maximum increase of seven percent. COLA increases will no longer occur effective February 1.

Under the contract award, how will annual COLA increases for new retirees be handled?

Annually on May 1, TriMet will increase the retirement pension of employees who retire on or after August 1, 2012, by an amount equal to 90 percent of the increase in the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners (CPI-W) for the preceding year, with a maximum increase of seven percent. COLA increases will no longer occur effective February 1.(cheap bastards won't even give retirees the full cost of living increase)

Under the contract award, how will the pension benefit multiplier be handled?

Answer should be available in the next few days.

Under the contract award, will union member still be able to retire with full benefits after 30 years of service without regard to age?


No. This provision was stricken from the contract. The minimum age for full retirement is now 58.

Under the contract award, are there changes in the pension plan design?

Yes, union employees hired on or after August 1, 2012 will participate in a defined contribution plan that is substantially identical to the current plan for management employees. A resolution is going to the TriMet Board on July 25, 2012 to authorize creation of the plan. Under that plan, TriMet will contribute eight percent of eligible income into an account in your name. You will choose how to invest the funds contributed on your behalf from a list of investment options. ATU representatives will be on the administrative committee responsible for administering the plan. Look for additional information once the Board authorizes creation of the plan.(Y'all are now prisoners of the stock market and can potentially lose everything)

Will the creation of a defined contribution pension plan for union employees hired on or after August 1, 2012 affect existing employees who transfer into a union position after that date but who had no union service before August 1, 2012?

A non-union employee hired into a union position on or after August 1, 2012 will participate in the union’s defined contribution plan.

Will implementation of a defined contribution pension plan for union employees have any effect upon existing union employees who retire on or after August 1, 2012?

No.

Will current Union employees have an option to ‘transfer’ their benefit into the new Union Defined Contribution Pension, or to ‘freeze’ their participation in the existing Union Defined Benefit Plan and begin participating in the Defined Contribution Plan, as was done in 2003 for Non-Union employees?

No. This plan is only for new hires into a union position on or after August 1, 2012.

Will a participant in the Union Defined Benefit Plan who terminates before August 1, 2012, but who is rehired into a union position after August 1, 2012, re-enter the Union Defined Benefit Plan.

The existing continuity of service provision in the collective bargaining agreement applies; the contract award did not affect these provisions.
Healthcare Plan Benefits

(Article 1, Section 9, Par. 1(a) & Employee Active Employee Health Benefits Summary)

Under the contract award, are the union healthcare plans changing?

The Kaiser medical plan will be the same $5 co-pay plan as offered under the prior contract, and will be 100% free to employees.(and hope they don't kill you and you live less than 1/2 hour away from one of their facilities)

The Regence plan also will be 100% free, but will be changed to what is commonly referred to as a 90/10 plan. The basic elements of the Regence plan include:

10% co-insurance (you pay 10% of every single medical item)
$5 generic prescriptions or 20% of cost – whichever is greater (very few drugs will cost you $5 but some of them will end up costing you hundreds-look into Canadian pharmacies they will be cheaper than 20% rip off's that Americans have to suffer under our health care system)
$150/member or $450/family deductible
Out-of-pocket maximum: $1,500/member or $4,500/family(weather its you and your wife or you your wife and 5 kids you will have to pay $4500 a year)



An updated Regence Benefit summary is available here.

There will be no changes to either dental plans.(which suck)

Will I be able to change from the plan I am in now to a different plan before the regular open enrollment period at the end of 2012?

Yes. There will be a modified open enrollment in early August. Enrollment materials will be sent to you. If you want to stay with the carrier you now have, Regence or Kaiser, you do not need to do anything. If you want to change from one carrier to the other, you will need to submit your enrollment change form by the date stated in the form. Changes will become effective September 1, 2012. Because there is such a short period of time make changes, if your form is not received by the date due, you will remain with your current carrier until the open enrollment period at the end of 2012.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Al - if coverage is employee and spouse only, no kids, the maximum out of pocket annually for the Regence plan is $3,000, NOT $4,500.
(plus the $150 deductible each, total for 2 people $300 deductible)

Al M said...

I just looked at it and it said $450 deductible and $4500 out of pocket.

Where did you get your information?