Michigan Police, Firefighters, Other Employees Forced To Take Health Care Concessions Under New Law

FLINT, MI &#8211 A new law in Michigan caps the amount public employers can pay towards employee health care. The employer caps range from $5,500 for a single employee to $15,000 for a family, or employers could opt to pay no more than 80 percent of the annual cost of the health care plans — leaving employees to pay at least 20 percent.

The law is set to take effect January 1 for any employees under expired union contracts, and will apply to any new or renewed future union contracts.

Michigan labor unions say the new law is an attack on collective bargaining rights.

“You bargain in good faith with your employer and enter into a contract, and now you’ve got a law that’s forcing you to adopt some things you’ve never negotiated,” said Flint police Officer Brian Burdy, president of the Flint Police Officers Association. “It’s my contention (the law) is completely unconstitutional.”

Burdy said Flint police officers already saw their health insurance costs skyrocket under PA 54, which required employees under expired contracts to pay any increased cost of maintaining their benefits. He said his monthly costs jumped from $75 to about $300.

He said he hopes the city will take this new law into consideration as Walling’s administration continues to ask for “double-digit” concessions from the unions.

“I hope they don’t demand double-digit concessions on top of these forced concessions,” he said. “We’re more than willing to contribute our fair share and more than willing to work something out. We realize the financial struggle the city is having.”

From The Flint Journal.