Mayor Menino touched on what is certain to be one of the major issues confronting Boston and all the cities and towns in Massachusetts this year at his state of the city address given at Faneuil Hall last week.
He said that Boston would be fighting to make changes with its union employees who presently pay 10 percent of the tab for their city health insurance and a $5 co-pay.
Most of us in what former State Senate President Tom Birmingham used to call the dreaded private sector, pay all of our health insurance as well as a healthy co-pay charge for whatever we do.
The mayor pointed out that unionized city employees refusing to make minor moves that would lower health insurance costs are costing the city approximately $12 million a year and for no good reason.
What’s more, the city can’t afford to pay this entire tab any longer.
City employees will be asked to pay more for their health insurance – nut only marginally more and to pay a higher co-pay. By doing so, the mayor said the city could save $12 million in the year to come – enough to stop the layoffs of fire fighters and police officers, teachers and city employees.
So far, unions representing city employees and employees in the cities and towns all over the state have almost entirely refused to negotiate – this, at a time when the cities and towns are going broke trying to maintain health insurance premiums that have grown unsustainable.
The mayor has his work cut out for him on this issue but he said he is going to fight for change.
His voice added to this issue gives hope that things might change.
If they don’t, we go broke.
It is as simple as that.