Civil Service Commission delays decision on state employee contracts
In an unprecedented move, the Civil Service Commission deadlocked today on the impasse panel’s recommendations on health care benefits for state employees.
At the Civil Service Commission meeting, the Coalition of State Employee Unions (CSEU) voiced concerns about a lack of specific information on health care utilization trends. This type of information is routinely provided by employers during bargaining, but due to technology changes at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the state couldn’t provide this detailed information. The utilization data show specifically where health care money is spent.
“We can’t have an honest conversation about health care costs without this information,” said CSEU Spokeswoman and UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada. “Until we know where the money is being spent, we aren’t going to agree to concessionary bargaining. The state should work with us on cost cutting instead of cost shifting.”
Because of the unions’ concerns, the four-member Commission chose to table the matter until Jan. 15, 2014 to give the parties time to obtain the health care utilization information and attempt to reach an agreement.
The current contracts remain in effect through Jan. 15, 2014.
“Obviously we were looking for a resolution today that benefits our members,” said Mel Grieshaber, MCO executive director. “It appears that at least two of the commissioners share our view that the impasse panel’s health care recommendation was based on inadequate information. We’ll continue to fight for a fair deal for our members.”
“The members of our five unions have shown great solidarity, and we ask you to stand together and stand strong while we pursue next steps,” said Ken Moore, MSEA president.
The Coalition of State Employee Unions (CSEU) represents 35,000 state of Michigan workers who are members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 6000; the Michigan State Employees Association (MSEA) AFSCME Local 5; the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 517M; the Michigan Corrections Organization (MCO) SEIU Local 526M, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 25.