REDDING, CA - Shasta County employees are striking over several unresolved bargaining issues but one that really has rank and file employees worked up is the Retiree Admin Fee.
The history of the Retiree Admin Fee as UPEC understands is that the County had a “self-funded” health plan in the early 1990’s and the plan was headed for failure. The County and the employees at that time elected to abandon the self-funded health plan and go into the CalPERS Health Plan.
A requirement of the CalPERS Health Plan is that retirees must be included and the County must pay toward the retiree premium. This requirement of including retirees applies to all public agencies who participate in the CalPERS Health Plan.
Shasta County and the recognized employee organization, Shasta County Employees Association (SCEA) at that time, saw the value in the CalPERS health plan and decided to bail-out of their self-funded health plan. At that time the CalPERS Health Plan was better and less expensive.
Part of the agreement between Shasta County and the Employee Association (SCEA) was that current-active employees begin to contribute a retiree admin fee to help cover the cost of the new retiree coverage requirement of the CalPERS Health plan. Over the years that “portion” has increased going from a few dollars a month to where it stands today at $26.40 per pay period.
The members of the Shasta County General Unit (SCGU) find themselves paying the Retiree Admin Fee while at the same time it has been eliminated for County employees in administration, supervisory and management positions. The County is still required to pay the applicable amount for retirees to CalPERS for other bargaining units but it no longer is deducted out of their checks. The General Unit membership feels its not fair that the higher paid employees, who are in a better financial position, get off the hook while General Unit employees are still required to pay the fee. It is a simple issue of fairness.
The total cost for the County to pick up this fee for our members is about $624,000.00 annually. The County has never said they could not afford to pick up this amount. After looking through the Financial Analysis conducted by our independent auditor in October 2016, the County has plenty of money to pay this without continuing to burden our members. Unfortunately, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors has decided to continue this unfair practice.