Wednesday, December 19, 2007

click your heels three times...

With all the ironing out we are doing, you would think we were negotiating for a pair of ruby-red slippers. No, only accessible and affordable health insurance. Now that I think of it, those shoes are probably more accessible and more affordable than health insurance has become for our members. We have spent a great amount of time as a team and in meetings with the district discerning exactly what is fair vs. equitable. In general, we are progressing and we are in agreement about the general situation for members and Minnesotans. Specifically, outside of the negotiating table, I would like a little something for the effort.

Health insurance costs are eating up more and more of the district's budget. Money that could be used to innovate, could be used to hire staff, could be used for high-quality professional development is being eaten up by rising health care costs. Yet, rather than offer some leadership on this, it has been our union, the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, that has offered the only leadership on this issue. It is the St. Paul Federation of Teachers that has endorsed the Statewide Health Insurance Pool for School Employees for the last 4 years. It is the St. Paul Federation of Teachers that is researching the feasibility of getting our coverage cheaper through the Public Employee Insurance Pool, and it is the St. Paul Federation of Teachers that has committed to working with results-oriented groups like Take Action Minnesota to craft a real health care solution for all Minnesotans. We will work for everything we can at the bargaining table, but we are done with band-aids for health care. We will keep working for a solution, not just a settlement.

With that said, I do believe when you return from your winter break-in-service, you will have a settlement waiting for you, and your little dog, too.

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