Dearborn, Michigan teachers have approved a landmark contract plan that gives their union full control of their health care plan – a change in union contracts that observers are already saying could be a model for others. The plan was released Tuesday after meetings came to a close. The plan would save the school district nearly $4 million in the next school year.
According to the terms of the agreement the school district will cap its contributions to employee health care leaving the union to cover the rest and determine how money is managed. The union will determine plan requirements like coverage levels and co-pays. This plan would account for employee health care through 2014.
In a surprising twist, the plan falls in line with statements from Governor Rick Snyder pushing for public employees to pay more of the cost of their benefits. The Governor has also proposed giving a bonus to districts that increase employee contributions to benefit plans. The plan could be in danger if it runs over budget leaving the union in the red but has still received broad support from union members overall. 1,230 union members will be covered under the plan.
“We have our own destiny in our hands,” said Chris Sipperley, president of the union.