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There are 15 comments on Custodial and Trade Staff May Strike over Pay, Health Benefits

  1. Mr. Nicksa is mistaken , the union did not agree to enter the ppo plan in 2014 or 2018 , we negotiated our 2014 contract and preserved our hmo going into uncharted waters with the threat of a Cadillac tax coming in 2018. We’re here in 2018 and there’s no Cadillac tax and there has been no detriment to the university keeping us in the plan. The only reason the university has given the union is that we are out of alignment with the rest of the university and it makes it difficult for them to bargain with other unions within the university. We suggested they open the hmo network blue to the rest of the university to alleviate the pressure they are feeling regarding our contract. We are on the threshold of open enrollment. A perfect time to do it. No Cadillac tax which is why they did away with network blue. The university is non profit, pays no taxes and has a social obligation to care for the community. There workers are the closest part of that community. Charity starts at home. Offer network blue hmo to all work groups.

    1. While I am a union member and support the right of all unions to collectively bargain, I whole heatedly disagree here. It costs the university more to offer multiple plans and the cost of the current PPO is on par with what the HMO costs. Any time the University incurs more costs, it trickles down into every aspect such as reduced benefits to those who cannot bargain and increased tuition and fees. All BU is trying to do is streamline their health benefits (which are incredibly generous) and keep costs down FOR EVERYONE. This is not a big hit to the union and would in fact most likely give them more bargaining power going forward. If this is the sticking point, it is short sighted and petty. GO Unions but move past this.

    1. I don’t disagree but at the same time what BU has done over the past 15 years is incredible so it is hard to complain. People always want to complain about the few at the top. That isn’t where anything gets trickled down. Look at the lowest paid employees compared with the upper echelon of tenured faculty. There is a place to complain

  2. Good for this group fighting for the HMO! As A BU Employee not represented by this union, I have seen a large rise in out of pocket costs on the PPO plan over the last couple of years as we have moved away from the HMO. The fact that this group is still holding on to that, offers us all hope. Instead of HR pointing to what this group already has in terms of benefits and comparing them to other peer institutions for some sort of argument against the HMO, they should take pride in those benefits and paying their employees well. Attracting and Retaining great faculty and staff with the best benefits and pay will only lead to more positives for the university in the future.

    1. I’m BU staff, not in the custodians’ union but a member of another union. I support the custodians 100% in their struggle to keep the benefits they have already, & also build on & expand those benefits.

      If the BU admin truly cares about equity in benefits, it should achieve by raising benefits for the lowest, not knocking down the highest to a lower level.

  3. I’m not in the Union but, I agree. The new health care plan that was forced non-Union employees is too expensive and causing too many people to make healthcare decisions based on their ability (actually inability) to pay.

  4. So basically with a Bachelors and a Masters in my education and BU is still paying me less than trade staff employees…

    I support your cause but BU is clearly underpaying and undercutting it’s non-union staff employees.

    1. Please don’t believe everything your reading about the wages. Those numbers are not correct. Maybe just a hand full of “licensed” workers that are working diligently to fix some of BU”s highly outdated infrastructure are coming close to that. I wear a “blue” shirt and certainly have never earned those numbers. Trust me, if they were to pay those numbers and you would not hear any complaints about health insurance

    2. Just a thought……These “trades people” are highly skilled workers. They go through years of training. A degree or degrees in no way guarantees a certain salary. You want to make as much as a plumber or electrician? There’s a way to do that but, it involves getting your hands dirty.

  5. PPO plan, with its co-insurance AND co-pays, is NOT in line with HMO Blue costs. It is a method of shifting costs so that people experiencing acute health events and chronic health issues pay more for the ‘privilege’ of needing services, as well as the privilege of paying the higher costs of the PPO. High co-insurance costs, due immediately, for non-optional tests and hospital admissions have significant impact on the budgets of even well-compensated individuals. And the alternative plan is an effort to drive business to the company store, which is can actually be a penalty to employees, depending upon where they live, or what kind of treatments they need.

  6. If the university is genuinely interested in consolidating health care plans, they should put everyone back on the HMO (which was preferred by the colleagues I’ve spoken with) rather than continue to impose the PPO on unwilling employees. In my experience, out-of-pocket expenses have gone up significantly under the PPO, so I can’t help but view it as a way to shift more of the costs to BU employees while reducing costs to the university. When the PPO was introduced, the information we were given was so obtuse, most people did not appreciate that it was a surreptitious way of reducing benefits until they began to receive bills from their health care providers. Blood tests, for example, which are administered on-site are considered off-site technically, and the bill for a handful of tests reaches into the hundreds of dollars. These were covered in the past. The union should stand its ground and disregard the claim that the university wants to streamline the system. The reality is they want to reduce their costs at the expense of their employees.

  7. I am a no union employee, it is a fact that many custodians with their overtime and premium pay make more money than their own managers. Is that fair?. My point is that custodial managers such as area managers and assistant area managers should be paid more for what they do, they have more responsibilities than custodians, yet they are paid less. Does that make any sense?

    1. Yes, it makes complete sense and is totally fair. A manager is paid to be a manager, most likely on salary, working 40 hours a week. All hourly paid employees deserve overtime pay for working overtime. Its the law! If all the hourly staff is working overtime so much, maybe it’s time to hire more staff. Even in non-union professions the ‘workers’ can and should make more than their managers if they have the experience and skill level that commands that salary.

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