Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Teachers lose health care options

10/07/09 EARLY
Terry Bankert

Just imagine that you head one of the largest Unions in the town, that recognition of the UAW after a Sit Down strike in your town built the American middle class and you get a letter from the CORPORATION taking away your right to negotiate a major benefit to your Union, a right you had fought for.


I went and reviewed the court file 10/06/09 and in a letter from Attorney Kendall Williams Attorney for the Flint Board of Education to Barbara Bouknight Chief Negotiator for the teachers of Flint I found what happened.

The Williams letter stated generally, On Wed 9/16/09 the Flint Board of Education designated that from this point forward it will be designated as the policy holder for health insurance and associated employee group insurance benefits the District provides to Employees Represented by the MEA and the UTF.

He continued to inform the Union, the district no longer is able to provide health care insurance benefits to UTF bargaining unite members, through MESSA,. He continued the district will provide equivalent coverage through policies to be obtained by the board. He concluded generally sating that this will be achieved at the 11/1/09 open enrollment.

The Union members will have to change insurance companies and the terms of insurance. Members fear possible lapses of coverage, increased copays and those with significant preexisting conditions possibly no coverage at all. This was a negotiated benefits which the Flint Board of Education has breeched.

The Flint teachers union has filed a lawsuit against the Flint School District over changes in health coverage. [m]

In the Genesee County 7th Circuit case 09-092289-Cl assigned to Judge Joseph Farah
The Unites Teaches of Flint and Flint Security Association are seeking an injunction against Flint Community Schools and Board of Education for Flint.

The case was filed 10/05/09 setting a Order to Show Cause Hearing in Judge Farahs Court for 10/26/09 at 10:00 AM.The Flint Board of education Attorney Siebigteroth filed an appearance on 10/06/09 but no answer as of 2:30 PM

Michael K Lee of Southfield represents the UTF and the First Security Associations THE WORKERS. Kendal Williams and Sean Siebigteroff represent the Flint Community Schools and Board of education. THE BIG CORPORATION.

Under the new plan, the school district is the policy holder. The previous plan was through MESSA, an insurance provider established by the Michigan Education Association. [m]

Superintendent Linda Thompson has said the new plan would not change the teachers' health coverage. [m]

Flint teachers union President Michele Stinson said the school board broke an agreement to keep the terms of the current contract in place as both sides work toward a new deal. The group's contract expired in August 2008. [m]

Stinson said teachers are especially concerned that they haven't received details of the new health plan, despite having asked for them. [m]

"I’m scared out of my mind," Flint English teacher Kelli Williams said in a statement from the MEA. "I have a son who needs special medical treatment. Will this new plan provide for that?" [m]

More than a thousand teachers have filed a lawsuit against the Flint School District, asking a judge to stop the district from arbitrarily changing the group’s health insurance and violating the terms of their agreement.[c]

The move by the United Teachers of Flint, which represents more than a thousand employees, comes after the Flint Board of Education voted for a new health plan. [m]

The move comes after the school board voted to force a new health plan on the teachers, despite an agreement to keep the terms of their contract in place as the two sides negotiated a new deal.[c]

"We had a deal to hold to the contract on a day-to-day basis," said United Teachers of Flint President Michele Stinson. "For them to decide to throw that out the window while we’re trying to work out a contract is unconscionable—and illegal."[c]

"We had a deal to hold to the contract on a day-to-day basis," she said. "For them to decide to throw that out the window while we’re trying to work out a contract is unconscionable — and illegal." [m]


It was extended 2007 to 2008. On 08/12/09 a day to day contractual extension with cancellation allowed with 14 days notice was entered into.

The Union in the Pleading pointed out the corporation did not give notice of an impasse or intent to stop the day to day extension as required.

The Flint Board of Education is legally obligated to negotiate with the UTF.

On 12-208 the flint Board of education filed for mediation. The UTF on 3-13-09 filed for fact finding on same or similar issues. The fact finding dates are 11-11 &12-09 The CORPORATION jumped the gun by declaring this unilateral action on 9/17/09

One of the biggest worries with the board’s action is that teachers have been given no information about what this new health plan entails, despite repeated requests. [c]

"The school district hasn’t even responded to any of our requests for details of the plan. Members have no idea of the coverage or the cost," said Stinson.[c]

"I’m scared out of my mind. I have a son who needs special medical treatment. Will this new plan provide for that?" asked Flint English teacher, Kelli Williams.[c]

The pleading cited the harm that this change in insurance coverage could cause Ms Eikey and Ms. Love

The United Teachers of Flint will ask a judge to grant them an injunction against the district at a hearing on October 26.[c]

Judge Farah , relying only on the pleading of the WORKERS, has ordered the BIG CORPORATION to appear before him and answer why they should not be held in contempt of court for changing the health care of the WORKERS with out negotiation.

Flint School District officials could not immediately be reached for comment. [m]

In their pleading the WORKERS call this action of the CORPORATION an unfair labor practice.



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