August 31, 2007

Researching from Outside the Library

Justin Katz

In a comment to my post on the Burrillville teacher strike, Pat Crowley challenges me as follows:

Justin, I wish you would take the time to really investigate the issues instead of having this ivory tower, knee-jerk reaction.
This relates to something that has bothered me as I've followed news reports about the Tiverton teacher negotiation: the he said/she said regarding the contracts, especially, in Tiverton, with respect to some healthcare proposal by the union. As far as I can tell, the contracts and the specific proposals are not available to the public. Indeed, the school committee went into closed executive session to discuss it. I'm certainly willing to research these matters; heck, I'll probably be sufficiently interested to produce some pretty charts. It seems to me that, if the unions think they're objectively in the right, it would probably serve them better to get the information out there than to waste soundbites insulting the other party to negotiations. Send me the info, Pat, or direct me to it if I've missed it, and I'll be happy to do my homework.

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Here's a real issue. The health care premiums are based on usage just like your car insurance. If you use it your premiums go up. With the teacher's plan two groups receive benefits the tax payers are funding. Those two groups are the current workers and the retired workers.In some disrticts the retired group has a sub group that are allowed to "BUY IN". The bulk of the claims as far as expenses are concerned are from the retired group which are of an advanced age and suffer from more frequent problems associated with the aging process. The "Unions" have refused to do the following things that would reduce the costs significantly.
1 Segregate the 2 groups and charge the buy-ins and retirees a premium.
2 Consider competing companies for the same coverage.
3 Revisit the procedure and qulifiaction process for buy-ins.
4 Incease deductibles so that the people that use it pay for it.
There are people all over the country receiving benifts from RI based policies that haven't lived here for decades and yet we are paying the bill.
Does this make sense when they can retire in their mid-40s collect a pention and get another job?

Posted by: Steve Grgeson at August 31, 2007 9:55 AM
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