Ohlone employees won’t pay more for health coverage
FREMONT — Ohlone College has backed off from demands that employees represented by two major unions pay more for health insurance.
The college’s board of trustees Wednesday unanimously approved increasing the school’s contribution to cover rising employee health coverage costs by nearly $100 per employee every month for the California School Employees Association and SEIU, Local 1021, both of which represent nonmanagement employees.
Under the one-year agreements, union members with one or no dependents wouldn’t have to pay toward a basic Kaiser HMO insurance plan, while employees with multiple dependents would pay a little more than $30 per month for that plan.
Ohlone includes health insurance contributions to faculty members as part of their salaries.
The college’s request for employee concessions on health benefits had contributed to resentment, especially from several CSEA members, when Ohlone’s board of trustees late last year approved a significant raise for college President Gari Browning, who doesn’t have to pay for health insurance.
“I’m hopeful that this agreement is an indication that the relationship between the CSEA and Ohlone College is back on the right track,” said Trustee Greg Bonaccorsi, who previously headed Fremont’s teachers union. CSEA is the only Ohlone union without a contract.
While CSEA workers haven’t gotten a pay raise in several years, Ohlone has had to increase spending for employee health coverage from $1,121 per month in 2007 to $1,447 this coming year. Last year, the district paid up to $1,353 for employees.
Ohlone officials estimated the agreement will cost about $60,000 through December. The deal is binding until the parties reach a new agreement on anticipated health coverage cost increases for 2012, Ohlone College Associate Vice President of Human Resources Shairon Zingsheim wrote in an e”‘mail.
She also wrote that the school’s decision to cover the health care cost increase was unrelated to Browning’s contract.
The district and unions had been negotiating health benefits since August.
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