• Details emerging on AFSCME contract

    by  • March 1, 2013 • News

    Some details are emerging regarding the tentative agreement between the state and its largest workers union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. afscme

    According to the Chicago Tribune, state retirees would no longer get free health care coverage. About 90-percent of retired state employees, university workers, judges and lawmakers now pay nothing toward their insurance premiums. instead, the state pays nearly $800 million a year for retiree coverage.

    Lawmakers passed a bill last year ending the freebie, but Quinn’s lawyers insisted the issue of how much retirees would pay had to be bargained with AFSCME.

    Depending on how much retirees end up paying — if, for example, their contributions keep pace with the rising costs of health care — the state could see significant savings going forward.

    Also, state workers who are not yet retired would pay more toward their current health care costs. those workers pay roughly $300 a month in premiums for top-notch family coverage.

    AFSCME members would receive no wage increase the first year. but in 2014 and 2015, they would receive 2-percent each year for an average of 1.3 percent each year of the three-year contract.

    While it sounds like an austerity plan, the Trib says there’s a potentially costly catch. unionized employees work under a “step” system that rewards them with automatic promotions based on years on the job.

    Not all state workers will be eligible for step increases during the life of the contract. the roughly 40 percent who are eligible would receive step increases, in addition to their wage hikes.