MARTINEZ, Calif., Sept. 17, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- IFPTE Local 21, a union representing 11,000 Scientists, Engineers, and other public sector professionals in the Bay Area, announced a joint action with AFSCME 2700, SEIU 1021, AFSCME 512, CCC Defender's Association, AFSCME PEU Local 1, the Deputy District Attorneys' Association (DDAA), the Western Council of Engineers (WCE), and the Physicians' and Dentist's Organization of Contra Costa (PDOCC) on September 18, 8 am at 651 Pine Street in Martinez. Speakers will include Richmond City Councilmember Jovanka Beckles, and Richmond Vice Mayor Melvin Willis.
The unions will protest the prohibitively high healthcare premiums that employees must pay for coverage, with rates set to rise as much as 14.74% in January 2019, to $947 per month for Kaiser family coverage. Contra Costa County workers already pay more than double their counterparts in San Francisco, and triple that of city workers in Oakland for family coverage. Contra Costa County ranks at or near the bottom of Bay Area employers on the % of healthcare premiums it pays for employees across offered plans. Retention and recruitment are an issue in the County, and public services suffer as a result.
The Union Healthcare Coalition is demanding a short-term fix for 2019 premiums as well as an overhaul of the County's healthcare system to address both the current and long-term healthcare inequities plaguing the County and its workers.
AFSCME 2700 member Stacie Hinton, a Senior Clerk for Contra Costa County Library, says, "After years of divisive tactics, County workers have had enough of our employer not providing healthcare for workers and our families that we can actually afford. We are hearing from Coalition members with seriously ill family members who are struggling to afford healthcare and members who are choosing between healthcare and basic life necessities. I take home just over $1100 per pay check. I simply can't afford $900 plus per month for my share of the County's health insurance premium. Enough is enough. It's time to fix healthcare in Contra Costa County."
Local 21 member Sue Guest, a Public Health Nurse Program Manager for Contra Costa County says, "As a healthcare worker, I know that access to public services can be a life and death issue. Coalition members are reporting that their departments are struggling with recruitment and retention problems. Services are suffering because of the high costs of healthcare in Contra Costa County. It's time for a change in Contra Costa County, for workers and the public!"
SOURCE IFPTE Local 21