(Halifax) – With bargaining scheduled to begin later this month between HRM and its outside workers, the president of CUPE Local 108 says fixing the many deficiencies in their benefits plan is the priority in this round of talks.
Dave Carr says, “As we look toward the start of contract talks on March 26, this is our major priority. While we have gone some distance to addressing some problems with the administration of the plan, we have much work to do on its current cost structure.”
Unlike most public sector benefits plans, the union controls the plan and has access to all of the usage data.
Says Carr, “One of our biggest challenges is the level of employer contribution. Over the last several years, the employer has succeeded in shifting more of the cost to plan members.
“This creates a number of issues. First and foremost, the amount is too low. Our data shows the employer is now paying only 35% of the premiums. The perception however is that they are paying 50%,” explains Carr.
The typical cost-sharing arrangement for municipal locals in the Atlantic Region tends to be in the 60/40 range with the employer paying 60%.
Local 108 represents approximately 370 outside workers with the Halifax Regional Municipality.
Dave Carr John McCracken
President, CUPE Local 108 CUPE Atlantic Communications Rep.