Local 2822: Hennepin County Clerical and Related

Healthcare Updates 8.13.2019

Workers at Hennepin County and members of Local 2822 have been showing our united power as we fight for affordable healthcare for ourselves and our families. On Tuesday, July 30, County AFSCME and Teamster workers showed up to the County Commissioner meeting in force to demand decreases to our healthcare costs and oppose a board measure proposed by County Administrator David Hough that would make NO improvements to our healthcare plan and give the County a huge payback in the form of 3 premium holidays. Wearing their AFSCME green, workers held signs that read: “Total rewards? Or Total Sham?” and “Get County Workers Off County Assistance: Affordable Health Insurance Now!”

Unfortunately, the County Commissioners decided not to listen to workers and passed the Administrator’s plan. That means for three pay periods the plan will take in no money and the plan will lose around 14 million dollars in income this year. While this will translate to a one-time minimal savings for workers (singles on the HCMC plan for example will save $29), it translates into huge savings for the County, as they pay 80% of premiums. As one Commissioner suggested, money that was promised to us will be used to fill holes in the County budget. Watch the meeting discussion and vote here.

Despite these disappointments, we made some huge gains during this process. We won a battle that had been waged for years: from 2019 forward the interest from our health insurance plan will be returned to our plan.  Per Minnesota state statute, interest from the plan must be sent back to the county’s general fund, but the same amount of money can be reallocated back to the plan.

All 16 union locals in Hennepin County spoke with a unified voice, coming to consensus as a united front with health care benefit recommendations. The proposal labor reached consensus on is as follows:

  • Decrease in urgent care co-pays from $50 to $35
  • Elimination of all office visit co-pays for all members of the plan
  • 50% decrease in all prescription co-pays

A recommendation was also made for a one-time rebate in the amount of $300 to employees enrolled in single plans and $600 to employees enrolled in family plans. These amounts match the highest deductibles of those plans.

This kind of collaboration between unions was a significant victory in itself and was a powerful way for us to stand up to the boss. And it was this power that the County was afraid of when Administration decided to end the consensus process early and slip their own plan onto a County Board Committee agenda.  But our AFSCME family was there, telling our stories about what affordable healthcare means to us through phone calls, emails, and open forum. Because of all of you, the committee voted to delay the vote and AFSCME set up meetings with Commissioners to talk about OUR healthcare plan. (Watch worker representatives address the County Board here and the Committee discussion here.)

Even though, in the end, we couldn’t get the Commissioners to change their votes, we did get them to question what they were being told by the County Administrator and to start paying attention to County workers. Next year we will be working hard to educate Commissioners on the plan and build a bigger fight to lower healthcare costs.

Although the vote on July 30 didn’t go the way we wanted, we all have a lot to be proud of. We have stood together, we have proclaimed what we deserve, we have told the truth to those in power, and we have shown up for ourselves and our families. 

We're excited to announce that AFSCME members who work for the State of Minnesota in Bargaining Units 2-7 have  voted officially to ratify the agreement reached in June. This contract

My name is Amy. I want to share my story, and tell you why I’m proud of my union for standing up for families like mine.

Unions have a proud history of fighting for the rights of all working people. The right to access legal and affordable reproductive health care is a basic human right.

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