Patrick takes a move toward fiscal sanity
Governor Deval Patrick has given the cities and towns of the Commonwealth the right to hold expedited negotiations with unions representing municipal employees whose health insurance is being paid by the various communities.
If, after quick negotiations with those unions, there is no agreement reached, the cities and towns can create their own health insurance packages or force the unions to join the Group Insurance Committee program at substantial savings.
Here in Revere, where in years past the unions have refused to join the GIC, it has cost the city dearly.
Last year, the refusal to join the GIC to share in savings it provides, the city lost $4 million.
Revere and all the cities and towns in Massachusetts can no longer afford to make health insurance payments that are unsustainable.
It is in that spirit that Mayor Thomas Ambrosino will shortly be meeting with union officials to discuss the possibilities of new city employee health insurance initiatives that will save the city money.
This change in the rules of bargaining has been a long time coming.
Co-payments for city employees may be a tad higher.
City employees will pay a slightly larger share of the $24,000 a year cost for their individual insurance and family plans.
But at least the city’s fiscal solvency will no longer be challenged by premiums it cannot afford to pay.
We thank the governor for putting the new rules of engagement into law.
This is a big step toward restoring fiscal sanity that is sorely lacking throughout the state.