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Flint ordered to pay part of health care increases

Posted by: ignite Posted date: February 17, 2015


The City of Flint was ordered to pay the difference between the health care costs imposed on Flint Police Captains and Lieutenants and the costs for the increases “they would have been responsible under the new law had they been allowed to change to the least expensive health insurance plan,” according to an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).

The ALJ found in the POLC’s favor in an Unfair Labor Practice charge against the City. The ULP was filed after the City notified the Employees they would be required to pay any increase in health insurance costs following the June 30, 2011 expiration of their collective bargaining agreements. The City argued the cost increases imposed were pursuant to Public Act 54.

POLC legal staff submitted a demand to bargain the impact and effect of the Employer’s actions, effectively seeking to bargain a new, lower cost health care plan for Employees. When the Employer refused to bargain, the POLC filed a ULP charge on behalf of both bargaining units.

The ALJ rejected the Employer’s argument that PA 54 relieved public employers from bargaining the impact and effect of passing on the increases in health care costs. He said the Legislature intended impact and effect bargaining to remain in tact for PA 54.

The Employer also argued it could not offer a new health care open enrollment period per IRS regulations. The ALJ rejected their claim, stating there are qualifying events that trigger an open enrollment period, including significant cost change. The ALJ added the City failed to provide an expert opinion to support its assertion; it failed to rely on this argument at the time it refused to bargain; and the City could have bargained other issues.