January 12, 2012

Insurance Bargaining – Bargaining resumed January 11, with slow but steady progress being made towards a voluntary agreement concerning the insurances. Research shows that in 2010, eighty-eight percent of the members utilized some medical service and 91 percent utilized some Rx benefit. That same year, employees paid an average of $763 in copays. That amounts to nearly $50 million in health costs paid by employees in 2010.  Negotiations continue to protect the current plan design (co-pays, deductibles) and premiums.

Keep State Employee Pensions – It is a conclusion that should be reached based on the retirement plan design study done for the legislature.  Here are a few of many good reasons not to change the state employee pension plan:

1.  About 90 percent of public retirees stay in Minnesota, purchase goods and services in the state and pay state taxes.  According to an economic impact study, Minnesota pensions had a $3.3 billion impact on the state’s economy in 2006 (Lubov, 2008). 

2.  In the Minnesota State Retirement System, employees and the State have long born equally the cost of their pension.  Eighty-five percent of the funds come through investment returns.

3.  Defined Benefit plans provide the same level of income at roughly half the cost of a Defined Contribution plan due to Defined  Benefit plans’ superior investment returns and the ability to pool longevity risk.

4.  In 2010, corrections were made to funding the retirement plan, which are working.  As of 2012, the MSRS pension is calculated to be 85 percent funded.

5.  Transition from Defined Benefit to a Defined Contribution plan would result in the current plan becoming underfunded and cost approximately $2.76 billion over the next decade for all three retirement systems.

6.  For the long-term, the Mercer analysis shows that the ongoing “normal cost” of the existing Defined Benefit plans is less than the cost of a future replacement Defined Contribution plan.

Call for 2012 Award Nominations and Scholarship Applications - Recipients will be announced at the March 5th Annual Meeting. Nominations and scholarship applications must be received at the MGEC office by 4:30 p.m. on February 13.

MGEC Dues Increase to take effect January 13, 2012 - For many years, dues have been kept much lower (second lowest in state) than that paid by other state employees. During that time we’ve expanded to a greater range of advocacy services and partnerships seeking to best serve our members. For a quick review of what MGEC has done for you lately go to this link: What has MGEC done for me lately

MGEC MnDOT Meet & Confer will be 1/31/12.  Employees are encouraged to raise issues through MGEC.  Contact us at Dana.Wheeler@mgec.org with your MnDOT questions or topics and examples that should be discussed with MnDOT’s management. This is your chance to bring up questions, concerns and suggestions to management through the union.

MGEC PE Review Class – Register now for the spring session! The class takes place February 13 through March 26 at the MnDOT Office of Aeronautics. Check the PE Review Class link on the left for more information.

New pre-tax cards arrive in mail - As the new 2012 plan year begins, new cards for state employee FSA/pretax benefits are arriving in the mail, according to the department of Minnesota Management and Budget. A graphic of the new Eide Bailly OneCard is shown on the left. The old debit card was deactivated on Dec. 19, 2011. Eide Bailly, the provider of FSA or pre-tax benefit accounts and the new card, is experiencing intermittent issues with the log-in and debit card use related to migration to the new system and a heavy volume of calls, according to MMB. When you enter the new website for the first time, your user name and password are your SEMA4 user ID plus the last four digits of your Social Security number – use this combined number in both the user ID and password boxes. Even if you have set up a personal account under the old Eide Bailly website, all members must enter the new website using the new user name and password, initially. After their initial visit, please create your preferred user name and password that you would like to use in the Eide Bailly website. MMB is recommending that if you have no immediate need for the Eide Bailly website, please wait to attempt your first log-in. The website, which includes contact information to reach Eide Bailly representatives, is: www.eidebaillybenefits.com/som The EideBailly OneCard is being mailed to state employees who have a 2012 MDEA, or a balance in their 2009 or 2011 State HRA, or a MnSCU HRA, according to MMB. Submitted by mcody on January 4, 2012 - 12:36pm

Upcoming MGEC Events – members welcome to participate. RSVP: mgec@mgec.org identifying the event you will be attending and your concerns.

January 23 – MGEC Board Meeting at the MGEC office starting at 3:30 p.m.

January 31 – MGEC – MnDOT Meet & Confer with management at DOT Central Office at 2:00 p.m.

February 13 – deadline for award nominations/scholarship applications

February 13 – MGEC PE Review Class begins

February 21 – MGEC – DOT Labor Relations Meeting

February 23 – MGEC Day at the Capitol. Contact mgec@mgec.org to reserve your spot.

February 27 – MGEC Board Meeting at the MGEC office starting at 3:30 p.m.

March 5 – MGEC Annual Meeting. Mark your calendars for 4:30 p.m. at the Earle Brown Heritage Center in Brooklyn Park.

MGEC Partners Activity


Feb 19-25th, 2012           Engineers Week 2012, www.eweek.org
Sun, Feb 26, 2012           SWE-MN: Annual Sparks, Slime & Speed Kids event at the Science Museum