Members working in the Ventura County Community College District (VCCCD) proved the power of speaking out and standing strong to secure an agreement that ensures affordable health care benefits for themselves and their loved ones. On May 3-4, 2018, they voted to accept a re-opener agreement on wages and health benefits for 2018-2019. The VCCCD Board of Trustees also ratified the agreement on May 8.
The agreement includes a 1.5% salary increase and, most significantly, affordable health care that was won after a strong show of union solidarity by members at VCCCD. They spoke out at college board meetings to protest proposed increases to health insurance premiums. Under rates that were originally announced, Local 99 members would have had to pay an additional $311 to $413 per month to keep their Anthem insurance. By standing union strong, members at VCCCD beat back that significant spike in their out-of-pocket costs.
Under the new contract agreement, the District’s annual per-employee contribution for health insurance premiums goes up from $18,643.08 to $21,285.36 for 2018-2019 (this covers the entire increase in Anthem rates for this year, and offsets some of last year’s increases as well). This means that employees who select Anthem will have monthly out-of-pocket premium contributions of only $100 with Delta PPO and $21.11 with Delta HMO – compared to the hundreds of dollars that were originally announced. Employees who select Kaiser will continue to have no monthly out-of-pocket premium contributions. To guard against future out-of-control spikes in the cost of health care, the new contract agreement states that effective, July 1, 2019, employees shall share the cost of health insurance premiums, provided that an equitable cost sharing plan is in place for all other District employees.
““Those that stepped up in UNITY and made their voices heard not only at the Board Meetings but those who shared their stories and thoughts via emails as well – every single one of you and your input made a difference,” said Maria Urenda, Chief SEIU Local 99 Steward at VCCCD.