By ALFREDO ALVARADO
After months of discussions between Local 372, District Council 37 and the city, an agreement was reached on a plan to supplement funding to the local’s depleted Severance Related Fund, restoring prescription drug, optical and dental coverage to the spouses and domestic partners of retired School Crossing Guards, Hourly School Lunch Workers, School Aides & Health Aides.
No other part-time employees receive these benefits for their spouses and domestic partners.
“We’ve been working since last year to create a way to restore and protect these significant benefits for the families of both current and future retirees,” said Local 372 President Shaun Francois I.
The solution agreed upon and presented to the members for their approval was to shift 1.5 percent of their upcoming September wage hike to the fund. Local 372 announced on July 1 that the membership voted overwhelmingly (4,365 to 623) in favor of the plan.
“This is an important step in protecting the benefits of our part-time workers and it’s being done for just a small fraction of what the coverage is worth,” he explained.
The skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs had depleted the fund that pays for the benefits. In October 2015, DC 37 and Local 372 had to suspend the coverage for spouses and domestic partners, but were able to maintain it for retirees’ dependents to age 26.