South Glens Falls officials and unions debate over drug plan, negotiations underway

South Glens Falls officials and unions debate over drug plan, negotiations underway

South Glens Falls officials and unions debate over drug plan, negotiations underway Village officials of the South Glens Falls, New York community are negotiating with employee unions over prescription drug plans, reported The Post Star.

During the outlining of the village’s 2016-17 budget, a new prescription drug plan was proposed that was similar to a prescription benefit included in the township’s regular health insurance. The earlier plan would cost the village $5,825, so everyone dropped it in favor of the new one—everyone except 14 union-affiliated officials.

“I advised them not to give up anything that’s going to hurt them,” Mayor Joe Orlow said regarding the union’s rejection of the new plan.

If the 14 chose to drop the plan, it would save the village approximately $81,000 a year, The Post Star posited. Even if the plan is considered void after the budget year begins, the community could potentially save money, but tax rates would be unaffected.

Residents of the township urged the village board to negotiate with the unions.

 “We are in the process of working on that,” Orlow remarked.

Village attorney Michael Muller assessed the labor contracts with the help of the police and the Civil Service Employees Association to determine whether the village has to offer two prescription plans.

“You have to provide comparable or better. It doesn’t say two,” Muller said.

Despite such, Muller advised the board to negotiate.

“If we just arbitrarily and unilaterally make that change because we’re sure, it just invites animosity and litigation,” he stated.
Union leaders began to carefully examine the details of both prescription plans.

“We’re being very careful and very cautious, to protect ourselves,” said CSEA President T.J. Chagnon, who is also a member of the Department of Public Works.

Chagnon observed that the village’s plan did not include prescription drug coverage until the Affordable Car Act (ACA) changed the minimum standards for all health plans.

Other village officials noted that the previous plan offered drug coverage, but said coverage was limited and did not cover all drugs.