SARANAC LAKE - The village Board of Trustees voted Monday to reopen its contract with the union representing most of its workers in an attempt to lower their, and the village's, health insurance costs.
In July of last year, the village approved a four-year contract with Service Employees International Union Local 200. It provided the union's members with a 3 percent pay increase in the first year of the deal, which was retroactive to June 2010, and 2 percent raises each of the following three years. It also required all members of the union to contribute 20 percent toward the cost of their health insurance premiums by the last year of the deal.
Mayor Clyde Rabideau said Monday that the village now wants to explore looking at different options for health insurance, such as plans that include higher deductibles but lower co-pays.
"If somebody has a family plan going, they're paying $4,000; that's their co-pay," Rabideau said. "If we increased the deductible by, say, $500 a year, and they could save $1,000 or $2,000, why not do that? We have an opportunity to look at different options on our health plan, different co-pays for drugs, and there's an opportunity for labor to save money and for the village to save money."
Rabideau said the union's leadership supports reopening the contract.
"They requested it," he said. "We told them about the opportunities, and they sent us a letter. We'll sit down, look at all the options and see if we can save money."
SEIU represents village fire drivers, mechanics, and Department of Public Works, sewer plant and clerical staff.
Contact Chris Knight at 518-891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.