KINGSTON, N.Y. — A resolution that will have required newly hired non-union management employees hired by Ulster County to pay the identical medical health insurance premium rate as newly hired rank-and-file county employees was defeated Tuesday by members of the Legislature’s Ways and Means Committee.
Legislator Joseph Maloney had proposed to extend the worker portion of the medical health insurance premiums paid by non-union management employees hired after Oct. 1 to twenty%. Non-union management employees currently pay 10% toward the associated fee of their medical health insurance.
Maloney, D-Saugerties, said increasing the rates for those employees would put them on par with all other newly hired or elected county employees and officials.
“All of the unions have gone to twenty% over the past several years,” Maloney said. “I feel it’s appropriate for everybody to be there.”
“We treat our rank and file otherwise than we do upper management,” Maloney said. “We’re all the time willing to attend and put things off for people being paid $100,000 a yr.”
Maloney has said that on the county’s next open enrollment period, he’ll assume responsibility for providing his family’s medical health insurance coverage, meaning that, as a newly elected official, he would pay 20% of the premium cost. His wife is a county worker represented by the Civil Service Employees Association, who due to the date of her hire, contributes only 10% toward the associated fee of her family’s medical health insurance premium.
Other legislators questioned whether increasing the associated fee of medical health insurance would discourage employees from accepting promotions to non-union positions and whether it will create a greater wage disparity between union and non-union employees.
Legislator Eve Walter, D-Recent Paltz, said it already isn’t all the time financially useful for rank-and-file employees to just accept promotions and questioned whether increasing the medical health insurance premiums would make such a move even less attractive.
Minority Leader Ken Ronk said the increased premiums for newly hired rank-and-file employees are the results of negotiations with the unions representing those employees and are a part of a package that features salary increases and other advantages not available to non-union management employees.
“It’s not apples-to-apples because union members get regular salary increases based on union negotiations … that management doesn’t get,” said Ronk, R-Wallkill.