This is in response to the article in last week's paper in reference to the union being absent from health insurance discussion at the county board meeting. I was informed by the auditor that the board was meeting with representatives from NJPA, the county attorney and others to discuss the possibility of law enforcement giving notice that they would be changing their health insurance provider to Public Employee Insurance Program (PEIP). In changing their insurance coverage to PEIP, the members would be saving thousands of dollars a year for single or family coverage.
In speaking with the auditor about the meeting, she said they needed to know the vote of law enforcement in reference to PEIP. I told her I would call in to the board with the results, as I had someone waiting for the mail to make sure no more ballots came in, as Monday was a holiday and I was on my way to the Cities for meetings.
There are only two unions in Wadena County: Teamsters Local 320, representing the courthouse (General Unit) and law enforcement (Essential Unit), and Local 49, representing the Highway Department.
Law enforcement is the only bargaining unit giving a "notice of intent" per state statute to the county that they would be changing from the county's health insurance to PEIP, effective Jan. 1. This is due to the cost savings to the employees and the option of health insurance plans provided by PEIP.
The Teamsters do not have a contract with NJPA and are not involved in the county's selection of a health insurance provider for the county. I want it clarified that I was not invited to the board meeting, and I don't know that the 49ers received an invite to the board meeting. I take my role as the representative for the General and Essential Units very seriously, and do not appreciate it when information is not accurately presented at the board meetings.
Teamsters Local 320 President and Business Agent