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Published: Spring 2018


The members of Local 32BJ SEIU are all participants in a health plan that covers quality care to them, their spouses and their children. The plan is jointly administered by Union Trustees and Management Trustees, who carefully manage plan funds and who have hired a team of outstanding professionals to administer the health fund, with the goals of providing the best possible care at the most reasonable cost. Leverage gained from the sheer size of this plan which includes the workers in both residential and commercial buildings has enabled its skilled administrators to negotiate highly beneficial pricing structures at facilities providing high quality care.

Every effort is made to control costs without sacrificing quality of care. 32BJ members using plan authorized services are subject to modest copays, but higher co-pays are imposed on those going outside the plan's parameters. Outreach to members with chronic conditions encourages them through counseling and monitoring to control their conditions and greatly reduce crises, with the double success of healthier employees and reduced costs to the plan.

The fund is self-insured. Due to its size, the constant vigilance of its administrators and Trustees and despite relatively large increases in general health care costs in the past few years the 32BJ Health Plan provides top quality care at a fraction of the cost of similar plans found elsewhere.

This was not always the case. In 2004 the 32BJ Health Care Plan was on the brink of collapse. The Maintenance of Benefits Provision then in force in the contract required that employers make up a substantial shortfall, which was paid into the fund at the end of 2004 and early in 2005. This near-disaster triggered big improvements in the structuring of the plan, with increased oversight by employers. The shared goal of quality care at reasonable cost has evolved into the current plan, which is a model for the industry, much as it is a model of cooperation between Union and management towards this common goal. The plan has become more sound each year despite rising costs of health care. It coped quickly with the Obamacare requirement that children be covered by family insurance through the age of 26 and the concomitant extra fees imposed on health plans. It finds ever more creative ways of helping members better understand and manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes, heart conditions, asthma and allergies.

Since 2006, the Maintenance of Benefits Provision has been suspended in all contracts negotiated by the RAB with Local 32BJ. The Union has committed to finding ways to cope with any shortfall in the health plan contributions by employers that were agreed upon in the contract. To date, the plan has been so well managed that this has not become necessary.

The health plan covering 32BJ employees is a highly respected model. The cooperation between employers and the Union that has been a strong factor in this achievement should be a point of pride to all involved.



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