Why I Voted "No"
On Thursday, August 11, 2011, the PEF Executive Board decided by a vote of
85 to 38 to send the tentative contract to the membership for ratification. I voted
"no" because I think that acceptance of this agreement is not in our best
interest for the following reasons:
* While the current threatened layoffs may be cancelled if the contract is
ratified, there is no guarantee against future layoffs.
* We are locked into a five year contract with no protection against future
* The five unpaid furlough days by the end of March 2012 would result in an
approximately 4% pay cut spread over the remainder of the current fiscal
year. For a Grade 18, there could be a decrease in pay of up to $1,300 by
March 31, 2012.
* The change in the employee share of the cost of health insurance would
increase your premium for family Empire Plan coverage by just under $1,000
per year, almost $5,000 over the term of the contract. For individual
coverage, your premium would increase by around $425 per year, almost
$2,000 over the contract.
* The Empire Plan out of network provider annual deductible would increase to
$1,000 per person from the current $388. The maximum out of pocket would
go from $1,069 to $3,000.
* Empire Plan prescription co-pays for a 90 day supply of a brand name drug
would go from $30 to $50 and $70 to $90.
* Updated life expectancy tables would be used to determine the monthly
value of unused sick leave for employees who retire on or after October 1,
2011. While the affect would vary based on your age, salary and amount of
unused sick leave, for me it would increase my retiree health insurance cost
by almost $40 per month or more than $8,000 over my life expectancy.
* According to a press release issued by the Governor's Office, the proposed
contract will result in almost $400 million in savings over the contract term.
Based on 54,000 PEF members, this means that we are giving up over
$7,000 a member.
While the majority of the Executive Board voted to send the contract to the
membership, several Board members who voted "yes" have told me that they
wanted to give their members a chance to vote but will campaign against it.