Top Social Menu


Your health care benefits just changed—Take Action!


Dear Colleagues:

Welcome Back!  I will update you with more information later.  Right now we need to inform you about two important issues: 

► Last Thursday, the Group Insurance Commission (GIC) which governs your health care benefits, voted to reduce the health care plans they will offer you (for more information, see here):  

·         Only three will remain: UniCare, Neighborhood Health Plan and Health New England. Participants will no longer be able to sign up for Fallon Health, Tufts Health Plan or Harvard Pilgrim Health Care after July 1.  Nearly half of employees will have to change carriers. 

·         For retirees, Medicare carriers were cut from five to two: UniCare and Tufts Health Plan. And for the estimated 10,000 retired municipal teachers in what is known as “Pool 2,” UniCare will be the only carrier. 

·         The GIC returned over $30 million to the general fund last year and project that they will return over $40 million this year.  Yet they are cutting your benefits to save $21 million on costs. 

·         Although the GIC says that you will be able to retain your doctors and hospitals, this is only if you subscribe to one of the most costly options under Unicare. 

·         They voted on these changes with very little notice (they received the proposal the night before), and we had no knowledge that this would occur last week. 

·         At its next meeting on Feb. 1, the GIC is scheduled to review and approve benefit designs for the plans the carriers will offer. See here for what these are.

It is critical that MTA members be heard at the GIC’s upcoming public hearings.  If you cannot make these, please send them comments—instructions on this is here. Tell the GIC that the new carriers must offer the same benefits to members so that switching carriers does not mean different doctors, different hospitals or reduced benefits. The MTA and the various local unions are discussing moving the GIC to a public entity, not a third party one, so that public employees’ needs may be more easily heard.

Hearings in Boston are this Thursday, January 25 from 11:30AM-1PM and on Monday, January 29 from 12PM-1:30PM.  Please let the Commissioners know what you think about these changes.  They say are collecting  your feedback in advance of “our official decision making” (even though last week they clearly  did not) because of the acrimony they faced last year after holding these hearings after they decided to increase our premiums and deductibles.  This is your chance to tell them about the type of health care benefits that you want and need.  For time and location and to RSVP to attend these hearings, see here

Budget Cuts:  Call your State Senator now!  As you know, faculty and staff have been let go because of the deficit.  But UMass Boston has self-funded most of the reconstruction of the campus’s substructure, which serves as the foundation of all of our buildings and houses their utilities (electricity, HVAC, telecommunications, sewage, etc.). This reconstruction is needed because of the failure to address the shoddy and corrupt original construction of the campus in the 1970s. See the FSU blog for more information at

UMB borrowed $510 million, while the state contributed only about $200 million, for this construction. The campus has paid back over 20% ($110 million) of the borrowed amount through its own savings and budgeting, but this outstanding debt is driving the current deficit at UMB and the budget cuts we are facing.  UMB will continue to face deficits and budget cutting if the state doesn’t take on this debt.

We are asking for your help to shift this debt to the state, where it belongs. UMB union leaders have been working with the MTA to build support to include debt relief for the campus in the Senate capital bond bill. If successful, this would be the first step toward reversing the state’s disinvestment in UMass Boston.

Take action

Call your State Senator today, asking her/him to support including funding for UMass Boston in the Senate capital bond bill. Click here to find the name and contact information for your State Senator.  Here is a script:

Hello, may I speak with Senator _____ (if the Senator is not available, ask to speak with his/her staff person who handles legislative issues).

My name is _____ and I live in _____.  I am a constituent.  (If you have a connection to UMass Boston—as an employee, student, alum, parent of a student, etc.—mention that as well.)  I am calling to ask the Senator to support including funding for UMass Boston in the Senate Capital Bond Bill (S.2244), by transferring debt related to UMass Boston’s infrastructure to the state. The campus is being forced to pay for mistakes made in the state’s management of the original construction of the campus decades ago, and this is now resulting in cuts to faculty and layoffs of long-term employees.

Please let Senator Spilka (Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means) know that you and your constituents support including funding for UMass Boston in the bond bill (S.2244).

The union is only as strong as members are involved.  Let us know if you want to be involved in the union, serve on our membership drive, a committee, or help with any of these issues. If you have not yet joined as a full member we urge you to do so now! (contact the FSU office for membership materials).

Marlene Kim

FSU President

Professor, Economics

Check out the FSU Blog

Please “like” the  FSU Facebook Page

Follow us on Twitter at @FSU_UMB