In February, during his testimony before the California Assembly, Local 856 Secretary-Treasurer/Principal Officer Peter Finn called on the State Legislature to pass a solution to ease the financial burden of rising health care costs on working families.
“The skyrocketing cost of health care is making the employee share of monthly medical premiums reach unaffordable levels,” said Peter. “As more money is diverted from salary to pay for health care increases, there is downward pressure on wages.”
In California, outrageous housing prices run alongside health care as the biggest challenges facing working people. And for union members, health care is consistently the toughest issue faced at the negotiations table.
Assembly Bill (AB) 3087 is part of the solution.
The bill would establish fair health care costs for workers by creating an independent Cost, Quality, and Equity Commission. It is modeled after effective systems like Medicare which has been establishing fair prices with a transparent, public formula for decades. The Commission’s responsibility will be to use their expertise to make health care costs reasonable.
“This bill is critical to us because in every round of bargaining in every contract, the question of increasing health care prices comes up and every dollar we spend on health care is a dollar that could go to members as wage increases,” said Barry Broad, Director of the California Teamsters Public Affairs Council. “The current yearly increases in health care are outpacing inflation every year and that’s unsustainable in the long run.”
This month, AB 3087 passed the Assembly Health Committee by an 11 to 4 vote. Next up, the bill heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
Assemblymember Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals), Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), Assemblymember Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-Stockton), Assemblymember James Gallagher (R-Yuba City), and Assemblymember Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) are all members of the Appropriations Committee who represent districts where Teamsters 856 members live and work.
It is crucial that Local 856 members stand with other working people to end outrageous health care costs. Click here to urge your legislator to vote YES on AB 3087.
“Local 856 will continue to fight for real solutions for working families,” said Peter.