Posted by Justin Rice February 29, 2012 12:26 PM
Governor Deval Patrick signed a municipal healthcare reform law last summer that allows municipalities the power to negotiate better health plans for current and retired city workers. But cities and municipalities must adopt the new law before they can enter into negotiations with their unions.
The Salem City Council adopted the municipal health insurance legislation in November.
"Since that time, the city and the Public Employee Committee have worked to reach an agreement that will preserve jobs and still provide quality health care to employees," a press release from the mayor's office states. "Through negotiations guided by the municipal health insurance reform legislation, the city and the PEC reached an amicable agreement to transfer all the city employees and retirees to the Group Insurance Commission effective July 1, 2012, resulting in estimated savings of approximately $1.3 Million in health insurance costs for the city.
"This is a three year agreement that will continue to produce additional savings to the city of Salem because the Group Insurance Commission typically experiences much more moderate health insurance premium increases than the city."
Lt. James Walker of the Police Superior Officers Union declined to comment and Joyce Harrington of the Salem Teachers Union could not be reached for comment.
Justin A. Rice can be reached at email@example.com.