SAGINAW, Mich. (WJRT) – No new contract means some Saginaw County workers are seeing a huge portion of their pay go to health care coverage — in some cases more than $1,500 a month.
The county says its hands are tied by a state law, but a union official says they were caught off guard.
Saginaw County Sheriff’s Office deputies were a hit with huge expense as well, but they quickly settled their contract after they received their first paychecks with that health insurance hit.
The sergeants union still doesn’t have a deal and their business agent is not sure how long they can go paying these high rates.
“It caught us all off guard come January 1st when they got their first paychecks,” said Steve Sellers of the Police Officers Association of Michigan.
Some Saginaw County Sheriff’s Office deputies and sergeants were shocked when they received their first paychecks of 2023.
“We are all frustrated that we are at this point,” said Saginaw County Controller Robert Belleman.
He said the Saginaw County Board of Commissioners approved using $2 million in ARPA funds to offset higher than expected insurance claims from last year, so most employees only have a $30 increase in insurance costs this year.
But the employees are in unions without a contract, that’s different.
“We made it clear to the business agent that if we could not settle before December 31st that Public Act 54 adopted in 2011 would require the county to pass that cost on to the employees,” Belleman said.
Sellers said he understood a few would be hit hard with insurance costs.
“They constantly said the only impact would be to the non-312 sergeants,” Sellers said, which totals five sergeants.
But nine others are also paying very high insurance costs.
“I don’t know how long this can go on to these folks,” Sellers said.
Most workers with Saginaw County pay about $120 a month for a family health insurance plan. Sellers said a grievance is being filed over the health insurance costs and he hopes talks on getting a new contract will resume next week.
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