UMPSA is the collective bargaining agent for the professional staff of the Universities of Maine System. Our mission and purpose includes promoting the professional welfare of the members of the University of Maine System Professional Staff by improving salaries, job security, retirement systems and other conditions of employment including those for professional research and scholarship so as to attract and retain highly qualified professional staff.
In our contract there is a provision that requires us to negotiate with UMS in September each year that the projected healthcare cost increases for the next calendar year are projected to exceed 4.5%. For January 2015 the projected increase was projected to be about 12% so we began negotiations with UMS last month and concluded those negotiations last week.
The goal of these special negotiation cycles is to find ways to reduce the overall health care cost increase projections to as close as 4.5% as we can get. Any increase over 4.5% is shared equally between UMS and its employees so there is a significant incentive for us to reduce costs and avoid shifting significant increases to our premiums.
Four of UMS’ unions, UMPSA, ACSUM, Teamsters & Police and Safety collaborated on proposed changes and were able to reach the same agreements with UMS. For UMPSA, we believed it was important to try and reduce cost increases to premiums by making small changes to the copays. By doing this we avoided larger increases to the premiums and kept copays as minimal as possible for those who needed to use the insurance. While there were no perfect solutions, we felt this was a fair balance for our members.
The following changes will be part of our insurance plan starting January 2015.
Actual premium amounts will not be determined for another week or so and will be included in your open enrollment packets. The changes we agreed to reduced the projected overall healthcare cost increase from approximately 12% to 5.7%.
To put that into perspective (using an estimate of new premiums based on last month’s claims data):
If we hadn’t agreed to make changes and simply let the 12% increase go through and paid our additional 50% of the cost above 4.5%, our premiums (the employee share of the premium) would increase by:
Single Coverage: If no changes: yearly increase of $321 - With changes: yearly increase of $132
Single Plus 1: If no changes: yearly increase of $714 – With changes: yearly increase of $298
Family: If no changes: yearly increase of $910 – With changes: yearly increase of $381
Again, the increases listed above are what the employee would see as increases to premiums.
AFUM, the union representing faculty, have also reached an agreement with UMS on healthcare changes, however, their changes are not the same as ours. This means they will pay more in premiums than the other units, but will pay less in terms of copays for some of the services we’ve agreed to.
Your Negotiation Team
Your negotiation team is pleased to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement on two retirement incentives for represented professional staff. Depending on your age and years of service you may qualify for both incentives. The Board of Trustees approved this incentive at their Sept. 22 meeting.
There are two key dates to remember for both incentives:
October 20, 2014 – You must notify UMS by this date that you plan to retire.
June 30, 2015 – You must retire no later than this date to receive the incentives.
Unit members who are 62 years or older and have 20 or more years of continuous regular service of the date of the retirement shall receive 1.25% of their final base salary for each completed year of continuous, regular service up to 27 years paid into their basic 403B retirement account. This is in addition to the 1.5% paid each year upon retirement that is already part of our contract. Those eligible for this incentive would end up getting a total of 2.75%.
Unit members who are age 62 or older and who have 10 or more years of continuous regular service as of the date of retirement will be eligible to remain on the active employee healthcare plan until they reach the age of 65 and will only have to pay the active employee rate that is in effect while receiving coverage.
UMS will send out information to employees on the process for participating in these incentives shortly.
Your negotiation team would like your input on our next round of contract negotiations which will begin next month for the 2015-2017 contract. Please email us the answers to the questions below if you would like to provide your input. We only accept input from dues-paying members.