Tell Inslee: Protect, work with state employees on health care

OLYMPIA (Sept. 27, 2013) — Because unions representing Washington’s state employees couldn’t reach agreement last year with then-Gov. Chris Gregoire administration on a full, two-year health care article in their contracts, the terms and conditions of the old agreement have remained in effect until June 30, 2014.

But negotiators for Gov. Jay Inslee have resumed negotiations on health care issues with the more than two dozen unions representing state employees, and the governor is reportedly trying to incorporate a “wellness program” into the contract. The Washington Federation of State Employees, AFSCME Council 28, which represents the majority of state workers and is leading the unions’ negotiating team, says they are willing to support a wellness program if workers are equal partners in designing the plan. The two sides will also be bargaining over premium share, co-pays and deductibles for the plan that begins Jan. 1, 2015.

The WFSE-led Health Care Coalition of state employee unions says holds these values:

  • A fair premium share that recognizes our sacrifices. We took on pay cuts and health cost increases to save the state during The Great Recession.
  • Protections against skyrocketing co-pays, deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. Let’s control medical costs, not balance them on our backs.
  • We need to be equal partners in developing any wellness programs. That’s why it’s working in King County.

TAKE A STAND — Please call and leave a message for Gov. Jay Inslee at 1-800-562-6000 or 360-902-4111. Tell him: Stand with state employees’ values for a fair state employee health care agreement with cost protections and true collaboration on any wellness program. You can also deliver that message using the governor’s email message form.

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