A tale of two unions trying to change members' health benefits

Feb 2011
17,277
6,251
Boise, ID
Feb 2011
17,277
6,251
Boise, ID
In the first example, the union's finances were under threat from rising health care costs. They convinced their members to accept a much narrower network only covering hospitals in the area that are known to be lower cost. They agreed and it worked to control costs.

In the second example, the beneficiaries are retirees who feel they were promised they'd only ever pay $0.50 copays for prescription drugs for life, no matter how expensive various prescription drugs became, and they see no problem bankrupting their union and screwing everyone else over as long as it preserves their overly generous benefits for a little longer.

Obviously there's also a bit of hypocrisy in favoring cutting benefits when you're the fiduciary and opposing it when taxpayers just have to pay up:

Union Proposes Trimming Retiree Health Benefits to Save Money; Opposed It When Taxpayers Were Footing the Bill

“This is just another example of our teachers and other public employees being under attack from this governor and Legislature."

- Doug Pratt, MEA Public Affairs Director, in 2011 after the Michigan legislature passed a bill trimming retiree health benefits to address skyrocketing liabilities​

"These updates to retiree health insurance will ensure benefits are available for current and future retirees when they need them most."

- Doug Pratt, MEA Public Affairs Director, in 2019 when his union proposed trimming retiree health benefits to address skyrocketing liabilities​
 
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