An Indication of the Perils of Consolidation
The General Assembly has created a “labor management board” that will come up with six or more healthcare plan options from which local districts may choose during contract negotiations with teachers. Here’s how the board will be constructed:
The board that will be appointed to design and approve the benefit packages will consist of: two members named by the Rhode Island Association of School Committees; two members named by the Rhode Island School Superintendents’ Association; two members named by the Rhode Island Association of School Business Managers; two individuals named by the Rhode Island Federation of Teachers and Health Professionals who may be active or retired teachers or officials from the union; two members named by the National Education Association who may be active or retired teachers or union officials; one member named by RI Council 94 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and one member named by the Laborers International Union of North America.
Of the twelve slots, six belong to unions. Two belong to an organization servicing elected school committees, two belong to an organization servicing the superintendents whom school committees appoint, and two belong to an organization servicing the business managers whom superintendents and school committees hire. Before suggesting an even split between labor and management, consider that ten of the twelve members will be representing parties who will receive the benefits that are being designed. And even then, the two other members are appointed by a group joined by a class whom voters elect; that’s quite a degree of separation.
One would hope that school committees will still be able to negotiate copays, coshares, and all the rest, but I’ll be surprised to see the board give them any options comparable to my high-cost, high-deductible, unsubsidized healthcare savings account deal.