Negotiations 2014 – U3

Posted by Dan LaLonde | Negotiations,News | Monday 21 October 2013 5:29 PM

September Update


Your negotiations team has met with University management multiple times since our last update to members. During these sessions considerable time has been spent discussing their Health Care proposal.


A few weeks ago we requested supporting data for this proposal. This data, as well as extensive discussion, has helped us evaluate the University’s Health Care proposal. The University’s position continues to be that there must be a cap on their contribution to health insurance premiums in this contract. Furthermore, the University insists that the Employee Health Plan Task Force (EHPTF) be given full authority to make plan design changes as necessary to stay below the cap.


This effectively results in us giving up our right to bargain health plan changes, which your negotiations team has respectfully told the University we will not do. The health data we reviewed clearly shows that the UMS proposal is unnecessary and inappropriate. The fact is that the overall health insurance costs for FY13 were $1.46 million below the chancellor’s charge to the EHPTF. In other words, the cost of health care is $1.46 million below what UMS was projecting as acceptable.


Our issues/proposals list (compiled from your answers to the survey that was sent out to members a few months ago) was given to the University on August 21 which was the date that issues/proposals for both sides were due. Some discussion on our proposals has occurred without reaching any tentative agreements.


Unfortunately, despite the reality of the current numbers, UMS negotiators are taking the position that any proposals with financial components are contingent upon “projected” saving gleaned from their health care proposal.


Thank you all for your support,


Dale Kuczinski (Chief Negotiator)

Dina Goodwin-Short

Loni Levesque

Peggi Loveless

John Pavliska

Tim Pinkham

Cheryl Spencer

Negotiations 2014 – U2

Posted by Dan LaLonde | Negotiations | Monday 5 August 2013 9:49 PM

ACSUM Negotiations Update

As you know, your bargaining team has been hard at work preparing and negotiating for a successor collective bargaining contract.  While we are in the early stages of negotiations, the bargaining team felt it was important to let members know the positions of the University at the start of the process.

The University from the outset of negotiations stated that their intent was to present a package proposal that would allow the parties to settle the contract quickly.  Unfortunately, the University’s actions do not match its words.  Despite the recent sacrifices of employees and the willingness of the Association to work collaboratively on health care issues, the University has decided that the employees need to sacrifice more.

Specifically, the University has made the following “package” proposal to ACSUM:

July 1, 2013- .75% increase

July 1, 2014- 1% increase

These wage increases are contingent on drastic changes to the health insurance benefit currently offered.

The exact words from the University’s proposal are:

“The proposed July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014 increases are contingent on the parties coming to a final agreement on the overall resolution of the contract in sufficient time to allow for any health plan modifications, wellness initiatives, or employee contribution adjustments necessary for the employer contribution to healthcare to increase no greater than 4% effective January 1, 2014.  The offer of .75% and 1% increases are based on savings anticipated from such agreement and its implementation.  UMS reserves the right to modify its July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014 wage proposals should agreement not be reached in sufficient time to achieve the anticipated savings.”

What does all this language mean?  It means that the University is only willing to give meager raises if employees agree to absorb all the costs necessary to keep the employer’s health insurance increase to 4% or less.   The potential cost increases to you are unlimited.

Under the University’s proposal, employees would be forced into a combination of reduced benefits (increased copays and deductibles, restrictions on procedures, greater restrictions where services are provided etc.), increasingly restrictive and intrusive “wellness initiatives” and/or increased employee contributions; all in order to cap the University’s contribution.

An absolute cap on the University’s health care contributions can only mean one thing;

Drastically increasing costs for YOU! 

In addition to the cap on health care contributions, other proposals from the University for health care and retirement are vague.  One thing is clear, the proposals envision moving toward the University having total control over all major decisions having to do with health insurance and retirement rather than having health insurance and retirement being subject to negotiations.

The message from the University of Maine System through their initial proposal to ACSUM employees seems clear to the ACSUM negotiations team.  The message from UMS is:

You cost too much and you need to get cheaper!


Our next negotiations sessions with the University are scheduled for August 16 and 21.


Your Negotiations Team,

Dina Goodwin-Short

Dale Kuczinski

Loni Levesque

Peggi Loveless

John Pavliska

Tim Pinkham

Cheryl Spencer

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