UPDATE: Tentative agreement and changes to health benefits

There has been a massive online response to the news that AFSCME Council 13 reached a tentative agreement with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the agreement was approved by Council 13’s Statewide Policy Committee. The next step is for the tentative agreement to go to Local Unions for the members to vote on.

Council 13 has purposely not released much information about the details of the tentative agreement to the general public so members can see it first. The intention is for the detailed information to get to the membership through their Local leadership.

While Council 13 has held the information closely, details about the tentative agreement have spilled out, causing some confusion and misinformation to get out there.

Here are a few things AFSCME Council 13 members need to know regarding this issue:

If you have any questions about the tentative agreement, reach out to your Local leadership; they should have the correct information. If that does not work for you, contact your District Council office and speak with your Staff Representative. You can find your District Council here.

There are changes to health benefits coming, but these changes are not part of the tentative agreement and are not being voted on. These are changes made by the Pennsylvania Employee Benefit Trust Fund (PEBTF) Trustees that had to occur no matter what happened with contract negotiations.

On 1/1/17, everyone (except legislators) from the governor on down, including SEIU, UFCW, PSCOA and 20 other unions, will see the exact same health care changes as us. These changes are an attempt to stop the PEBTF from ending up with a $160 million deficit. This is all part of an effort to maintain the fund’s reserves due to escalating costs, especially in Specialty Drug. If the fund gets to an excess of 4.5 months of reserve, we can attempt to roll back the higher deductibles.

Just like with the details of the tentative agreement, we are trying to allow our members to get the details of the changes to health benefits before it gets to the general public, which is why we are not including many details here. Reach out to your Local leadership or Staff Representative for more details about the changes to health benefits.

Again, the changes to health benefits ARE NOT part of the tentative agreement and ARE NOT a contractual matter to be voted on.