Current News…

Meet the New Hires!

The WEA is hosting a social event to meet the newest hires for the district – our new colleagues. Please join us Tuesday, July 24th at 12pm at Tavalino’s. See the email.

Healthcare Vote

In order to provide information about why we are voting to change from Tufts to Blue Cross / Blue Shield, we have scheduled building meetings this week.

This will allow members time to have digested the numbers given at the General Membership Meeting on April 11th to ask necessary questions. We felt it was necessary to then have time to digest that information before voting, so the voting time has changed.

New Voting Time
** April 30th, 12:00pm to May 1st, 12:00pm **

Building Meetings
ANY MEMBER from ANY BUILDING from ANY UNIT can go to any meeting that fits their schedule to ask any questions before voting:

Mill Pond = Tuesday, 4/24 @ 2:30 – 3:00
Fales = Tuesday, 4/24 @ 3:20 – 3:50
WHS = Wednesday, 4/25 @ 2:00 – 2:30
Hastings = Wednesday, 4/25 @ 3:20 – 3:50
Gibbons = Thursday, 4/26 @ 2:15 – 2:45
Armstrong = Thursday, 4/26 @ 3:20 – 3:50

General Membership Meeting on the Healthcare MOA

There will be a General Membership Meeting on Wednesday, April 11th @ 2:30pm in the WHS Auditorium.

We will run until all questions are answered, because the elementary educators cannot arrive until after 3:30pm.

Representatives from the Town will be there and probably People from BC/BS as well to answer questions.

April 2, 2018 Call to Vote on a New Healthcare MOA

Dear Colleagues,

In the next day or so, a Memorandum of Agreement will be placed in your mailboxes so that we can have a vote on a new healthcare agreement Tuesday, April 24, 2018, 12 noon, until Wednesday, April 25, 2018, 12 noon. I am asking that you vote “yes” to approve a change in our carrier from Tufts to Blue Cross/Blue Shield of New England. And while a vote on voluntary dental carriers is not needed, as it was never a negotiated item, a change from Delta Dental to Blue Cross/Blue Shield is also included in the MOA. All current teachers, paras, secretaries, and tutors are eligible to vote, regardless of membership status.

I do not come to you lightly for this vote. Our current carrier, Tufts, planned on raising our premiums by almost 20%. The change to Blue Cross/Blue Shield will lower that increase to only 12%. I want to reiterate, you are not going to get a reduction in premiums by this vote, only a slowdown in the rate of increase.

It is also important to understand that there will be no change in the plan we voted on last year. Co-pays and deductibles will be exactly what they would have been under Tufts. And since there is a 99% overlap between the networks of both carriers, there is very little chance you will have to seek a new doctor.

Medicare eligible retirees will remain on Tufts for the current calendar year.

In the next day or two, I am going to announce a General Membership Meeting to discuss these changes and allow you to talk to people who can answer specific questions you may have.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

In solidarity,
Bill Parsons
Westborough Education Association

March 28, 2018 Healthcare Change

Dear Colleagues,

Last night, all of the Town’s union presidents voted to change insurance carriers to Blue Cross/Blue Shield of New England. This decision was not taken lightly. The bottom line is this, Tufts was going to raise our premiums by 20%; BC/BS will raise them only 12% over the current year’s rates. We will also be changing dental carriers to BC/BS.

Please be aware that the only change is with the change of carriers (new provider BC/BS). There will be no changes to co-pays and deductibles. There will be no need to find new doctors.

In the next few days, I will be coming to you with an Memorandum of Agreement and will ask you to vote to make the change of medical carrier. The date of this vote will be determined once I have the MOA in hand and have a hard copy in each of your mail boxes.

I will also be announcing a General Membership meeting in which people will be available to answer your questions concerning the transition to the new plan. If there is a desire, I will also visit buildings to answer questions.

For our Medicare eligible retirees, there will be no change, and they will say with Tufts.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

In solidarity,
Bill Parsons
Westborough Education Association

March 19, 2018 Healthcare Update

Dear Colleagues,

As I promised in my December letter and in our building meetings, I want to keep you updated on the healthcare situation.  

The town briefed the unions on the updated numbers from Tufts.  Unfortunately, the news was not good. Based on the latest numbers, Tufts plans on raising our rates approximately 20% for the next fiscal year, starting July 1, 2018.  Needless to say, all of the union presidents and the town itself are very displeased by this decision by Tufts.

We did get information on the bids that Town Manager Jim Malloy solicited from other carriers.  Fallon came in at about 19% and Harvard Pilgrim offered us about 22% over the current year premiums.  The best offer was from Blue Cross/Blue Shield at about 14%, with some opportunities to lower that number if we bundle in our dental with them.  If these numbers do not change radically, I will be coming to you soon to ask for you to vote on an MOA authorizing a change of carriers to Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

I want to make very clear, neither the Association nor the Town of Westborough set the premiums for our health insurance.  That decision is made solely by the carriers themselves. In this, both the Town and the Association have a mutual interest in finding the best possible rate for our insurance.  I want to thank Town Manager Jim Malloy for his foresight in asking for the bids from the other carriers so that we will at least have another option.

As always, you should feel free to contact me if you have any questions,

In solidarity,
Bill Parsons
Westborough Education Association

January Building Meetings

Members of the WEA Executive Board are coming to visit each building. We would like to check in and see how things are going – please drop by to say hi or express any questions or concerns. If you can’t join us for the date in your building, feel free to join us in another building meeting – remember, we’re all part of the same union!

We’re Meeting
WHS (B204) – Wednesday, January 10th
Armstrong (teacher’s room) – Thursday, January 11th
Fales – Wednesday, January 17th
GMS (library) – Thursday, January 18th
Mill Pond – Tuesday, January 30th
Hastings – Wednesday, January 31st

Healthcare Update

January 25, 2018

Dear Colleagues,

Many of you have reached out to me in the last few days with questions concerning what the removal of Tufts from the Massachusetts GIC means for you.  This has been in the news and the MTA has also sent out mass mailers about it.

The short answer is that this will have no immediate effect on your healthcare.  Westborough is not part of the GIC, and will remain so as long as it is in my power to prevent it.  In the long run, this situation may cause Tufts to contract their service network, but at this point this is nothing more than speculation, and I will be monitoring that possibility.

We cannot know how Tufts will react to this setback in their business, but I can reiterate a few points that I have been making at building meetings:

  1. No one can change our current plan without out the Association’s consent, and I will not entertain any changes during the current MOA.

  2. If we are offered cheaper premiums through the process of changing carriers, the membership will vote to approve or reject the changes.

  3. I will continue to be in close contact with the both the MTA and Town officials to remain up to date on any developments that affect your healthcare.

If you have any question, please feel free to contact me our your building reps.

In solidarity,
Bill Parsons
Westborough Education Association

Healthcare – Urgent Please Read

December 27, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that you are having a restful and enjoyable break with your family and friends. On Thursday, December 21, Town Manager Jim Malloy sent a message to all of the town’s union presidents informing us that the expected increase in our healthcare premiums for next year to be between 10 and 15%. In response, he is sending out requests for proposals from other carriers to see if he can get a better deal.

Obviously, both of these issues are a concern for us all. The Memorandum of Agreement on Healthcare, which I signed, and you voted on, specifically prevents the town from changing carriers without negotiations. I talked to Jim on Friday and expressed my concerns. He is aware that no changes can be made without a new MOA. His thoughts are that by asking for bids, he may find a much better deal, one that will be good enough to bring the unions back to the table. Whether or not I decide to reopen the MOA will be based on the numbers I see when the proposals are in and in consultation with all of you.

There are two separate issues, which we are dealing with here. First, is the expected increase in premiums. While 10% is very close to the 9% we were led to believe was expected, 15% is not and will be a very big hit to our members. Thus, a part of me appreciates the attempt to find a path to lower costs. However, the second issue, the consideration of a new carrier has the potential to be very disruptive and should not be taken lightly. I informed Jim that any proposal that would not have a network coverage overlap in the range of 99% would not be considered by the Association, as no one, including myself, wishes to lose their doctor. Any new MOA would, of course, be put up to a vote by members.

I’m very sorry to bring this to you over your break. However, I felt that you needed to be aware of this situation and that it would be best if you heard this from me rather than through the rumor mill. If you have any questions, you should feel free to contact me. We can also discuss this at our upcoming building meetings – which are posted on the website.

In solidarity,
Bill Parsons
Westborough Education Association


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