Confidential Employees Association
APEA/AFT (AFL-CIO) Local #6133
Annual Meeting Minutes April 10, 2014
Call to Order: 12:07 PM
Lori Day, President
Gene Christian, Vice President
Lura Noss, Secretary
Kelly Baines, Treasurer
Roland Mueca, Board Member
Geoff Bacon, APEA
Dennis Geary, APEA
Pete Ford, APEA
Cindy Spanyers, APEA
Over 20 CEA members also attended; a quorum was established.
President Report: Lori Day introduced the executive board. She reported that CEA has had a very busy year. This is the first year that the CEA Board had a formal retreat, followed by a great BBQ in Juneau. In this retreat, they work on ways to bring CEA visibility to the community. The Union should support the community, and the community will support the union in return.
They hosted their first fundraiser – Light the Night Walk, a benefit to raise support for blood cancers and lymphoma. It was a success, and CEA plans to host another one this year. Should members be interested in volunteering, or have ideas for ways to get involved in the community, please contact Lori. CEA now has a new logo, thanks to a logo contest last fall. Look for new mugs and pins in the near future.
One CEA member – Dez Deraimer – went to Kansas to take part in a workshop about Right to Work. She learned quite a bit about the subject and would love to answer any questions members may have. CEA members have an opportunity to take part in a number of trips throughout the year to different trainings and conferences. Should any member be interested in going to these, instead of a board member, please contact Lori.
Lori spoke about the new classes the Training LMC has put out for CEA members to attend. She also promoted the new CEA website, ceaalaska.com. CEA is in need of volunteers for taking over the Facebook Page. Terri Moore volunteered to fill that role. For the first time, CEA Executive Board was split on an issue. This issue was the new LOA to change the promotional rules for CEA members. These rules would only affect those that are promoting one range. Lori made it clear to membership that the Board will try to advocate for this change to affect all CEA promotions in July; this is the first step towards that progress. Lori Day also introduced Kelly Baines as CEA’s new treasurer.
Secretary’s Report: The minutes were presented to membership prior to the meeting. Meeting minutes passed.
Treasurer Report: Kelly Baines read the treasurer’s report. Please see the attached report for details.
Business Agent Report: Geoff Bacon reported that the CEA Executive Board is very engaged and wonderful to work with. The Promotion LOA was the first time the board has every split on an issue, yet worked through it and compromised well. He stated CEA is very quiet as a whole, no grievance or complaint activity.
Legislative Report: Cindy Spanyers reported that CEA’s labor contract is funded this year – a relief, as the Legislature has been very unpredictable with funding this year. Senator Dennis Egan has been working hard to restore Defined Benefits. He was successful in holding three hearings, but it didn’t move to the floor. Yet his efforts have helped keep the issue alive. Governor Parnell wanted to put 3 billion into unfunded liability, as there is concern about the bond rating dropping from AAA status. This affects the state’s ability to secure bonds and other forms of monies for projects. As of this report, no money has been appropriated for PERS & TERS.
Some in the Legislature are attempting to circumvent bargaining. MEBA is facing these efforts this year and has mobilized. The Legislature attempted to remove the cost of living differential law from the 1970s and pay everyone the same rate wage regardless of location. This effort has stalled in the Senate.
Vouchers for private and religious schools are a big controversy this year. There is language in one of the education bills directing the Division of Personnel to to conduct a study on school district teacher/staff salary and benefits including classification. Personnel would assign a non-perm to do this effort.
Minimum Wage – there is a bill that was proposed in the Legislature to block the Minimum Wage Initiative which is scheduled for the ballot. This bill is scheduled for the floor tomorrow. For those concerned, contact your representatives to tell them to vote no. If they vote no, the initiative will go on the ballot for the people to decide. Please call.
Health Insurance Committee: Dennis Geary reported that last year the Commissioner extended Health Smart’s contract for a half year, so that the active employees would be on the same benefit cycle as the retirees. Former commissioner Becky Hultberg and Mike Barnhill overhauled the insurance agreement without consulting the HBEC committee. They chose to adopt Aetna language, instead of implementing the state’s own plan. This was quite a shock to the HBEC committee. The largest changes in the plan are: penalties for nonpreferred providers, with Aetna only covering 65% of the medical bills of employees who are going to providers out of network. Unfortunately, all of Juneau and SE AK are out of network. This means the majority of state employees and CEA members have reduced coverage. Bartlett Hospital just became an in-network provider; yet is the only provider to do so at this time.
Commissioner Thayer has been avoiding the whole situation, and refuses to deal with Barnhill’s reorganization of Retirement and Benefits, or of implementing this new plan. Retirement and Benefits has reorganized to eliminate their director – a partially exempt position. As such, Barnhill is the person in charge of the retirement and benefits for the State and who the HBEC committee can work with. This also means that realistically state benefits are now 100% political, as they can be changed by appointment. HBEC’s requests for changes or involvement have fallen on deaf ears.
After legislative session, the HBEC committee will focus on having a productive meeting and conversation about the situation.
The Retiree union, RPEA plans to sue for changes to the Retiree Health Plan, as the changes reduce overall benefits, instead of having parity. These changes are in violation of 2 Supreme Court decisions that established that retirees have a contract with the State of Alaska for retirement for life. Many of the members of the RPEA are former judges and lawyers who are motivated to bring this suit forward.
If members have any questions about the situation, please contact Dennis Geary, Lori Day, or Kelli Manchester.
Other Business – For the good of the order: None of the membership seemed to have questions. Lori thanked APEA, the board and all of the membership who attended the meeting.
Next Meeting: April of 2015
Adjournment at 12:58PM
Lura Noss, Secretary CEA