BEFORE THE ARBITRATOR
In the Matter of the Arbitration of a Dispute Between
GENERAL TEAMSTERS UNION, LOCAL
CITY OF HUDSON
(Health Insurance Grievance dated October 21, 1999)
In the Matter of the Arbitration of a Dispute Between
GENERAL TEAMSTERS UNION, LOCAL
CITY OF HUDSON
(Health Insurance Grievance dated October 22, 1999)
Previant, Goldberg, Uelmen, Gratz, Miller & Brueggeman, S.C., by
M. Hartley, 1555 N. RiverCenter Drive, Suite 202, Milwaukee, WI 53212,
appearing on behalf of the Union.
Weld, Riley, Prenn & Ricci, S.C., by Attorney Stephen L.
3624 Oakwood Hills Parkway, P.O. Box 1030, Eau Claire, WI 54702-1030, appearing on
behalf of the City.
The General Teamsters Union, Local 662, affiliated with the International
Teamsters, AFL-CIO, hereinafter the Union, with the concurrence of the City of Hudson,
the City, requested the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission to designate a member
staff to serve as Arbitrator to hear and decide two grievance disputes. The disputes concern
insurance benefits for City employees in two separate bargaining units and in accordance
grievance and arbitration procedures contained within the parties' two collective bargaining
agreements. The undersigned was so designated and the grievances were consolidated for
of a hearing. On October 24, 2000, and April 5, 2001, a hearing was held in Hudson,
The hearing was not transcribed. On May 10, 2001, and upon receipt of the parties' briefs,
was closed. The parties waived reply briefs.
On the basis of the record submitted, the Arbitrator issues the following Award.
The parties did not agree on a statement of the issues. The Union would state the
1. Did the City violate the parties' collective bargaining
agreements in 2000 by failing to maintain
the existing insurance benefits or benefits substantially equivalent to those existing in 1998?
2. If so, what is the remedy?
The City would state the issue as follows:
1. Did the City violate the collective bargaining agreements
by not paying 100% of the premiums
for those employees who elected the Humana/Emphasis option in the calendar year 2000?
The Arbitrator frames the issues for determination as follows:
1. Did the City violate the parties' 1998-2000 collective
bargaining agreements by not paying
the entire cost of insurance premiums in year 2000 for those employees electing insurance
the Wisconsin Public Employer's Group Health Insurance program that were more than
105% of the
lowest qualified plan?
2. If so, what is the appropriate remedy?
Clerical and Library Employees' Agreement
MAINTENANCE OF STANDARDS AND
Section 1. Maintenance of
Standards. The Employer agrees that all conditions of employment
relating to wages, hours and working conditions shall be maintained at not less than the
standards in effect in the Employer's unit at the time of the signing of this Agreement.
of employment shall be improved wherever specific provisions for improvement are made
in this Agreement. This shall not apply to inadvertent or bona fide errors made by the
corrected within ninety (90) days of notification by Union to Employer.
. . .
Section 1. Health
Insurance: The group health insurance in effect January 1, 1994, or a
substantially equivalent plan, shall remain in force during the life of this Agreement. The
has the right to change carriers, provided the level of benefits is substantially equivalent to
level of benefits. The Employer will pay 100% of all health insurance premiums.
. . .
Department of Public Works, Waste Water
Treatment Plant, and Water Utilities Employees'
MAINTENANCE OF STANDARDS AND
Section 1. The Employer
agrees that all conditions of employment relating to wages, hours and
working conditions shall be maintained at not less than the highest standards in effect in the
Employer's unit at the time of the signing of
this Agreement. Conditions of employment shall be improved
wherever specific provisions for
improvement are made elsewhere in this Agreement. This shall not apply to inadvertent or
errors made by the Employer if corrected within ninety (90) days of notification by Union to
. . .
Section 1. Health
Insurance: The Employer has the right to change carriers or self-fund
care benefits if it elects to do so, provided the level of benefits is substantially equivalent to
existing in 1995, or receives written approval of the Union. The City agrees to pay 100% of
single or family health insurance premium for regular full time employees.
. . .
The City is a municipal employer in Hudson, Wisconsin. Hudson is located on the
edge of St. Croix County and is contiguous to the St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minnesota,
area. The Union represents one bargaining unit comprised of 13 of the City's clerical and
employees. The Union represents another bargaining unit comprised of 19 employees in the
Department of Public Works, the Waste Water Treatment Plant and the Water Utilities
The City and the Union are parties to collective bargaining agreements, one for each of
described units. The term of both collective bargaining agreements is January 1, 1998,
December 31, 2000. The parties have had successive collective bargaining agreements for
since at least the early 1990s.
On July 31, 1987, the City and its employees began participation in a group health
program called the Wisconsin Public Employers' Group Health Insurance, hereinafter the
The State Plan is administered by the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds,
ETF, for state and local government employees. Under the State Plan, employees are able to
from a qualified list of insurance carriers. ETF determines which plans are qualified and
participating employers pay up to 105% of the lowest cost qualified plan in the employer's
area. The City's service area is St. Croix County. The majority of the insurance
plans under the State
Plan program are Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) which require that participants
HMO network of physicians and facilities for their primary health care. The State Plan
effective for City employees on October 1, 1987.
Since at least 1990, the City has paid up to 105% of the lowest qualified plan in
County and City employees electing more expensive plans have paid the difference. For
XYZ plan is the lowest qualified plan for a particular calendar year at $100 per month for
coverage and $200 per month for family coverage, then the City has paid the entire amount
qualified plan for that year whose premium cost is $105 or less per month for single
whose cost is $210 or less per month for family coverage. However, if an employee were to
a plan for that year whose monthly premiums exceeded $105/$210 per month, then the
would be responsible for paying the difference between the cost of the more expensive
and 105% of the XYZ plan.
Since at least 1993, and in the fall of each year, ETF has distributed a booklet to the
its employees titled "It's Your Choice," which explained the terms of participation in the
for the upcoming calendar year. These booklets also included a description of qualified
insurance plans as well as the cost of each plan's monthly premium for single and family
These booklets stated that participating employers may pay up to 105% of the lowest
in the employer's service area. As stated above, the City's service area is St. Croix County.
From 1990 through 1999, the Humana/Emphasis Wisconsin plan, hereinafter the
plan, was the lowest qualified plan under the State Plan program in St. Croix County. The
plan is an HMO. During this time period, the majority of the employees in the two units at
elected coverage under the Humana plan. Hence, the City paid the full cost of health
premiums for the majority of employees from 1990 and through 1999.
On January 1, 1994, ETF implemented a uniform insurance benefit package as part
State Plan and in order to help contain the rising costs of health insurance coverage. Under
uniform benefits arrangement, all insurance carriers' plans included in the State Plan were
to provide a comprehensive level of medical benefits and services as set by ETF. A plan
additional insurance coverage, such as basic dental insurance coverage, so long as it
prerequisite uniform benefits package. The State Plan's utilization of this comprehensive
been continuously maintained since 1994 and has been specifically described in the annual
since its implementation.
Effective beginning January 1, 1995, the Humana plan under the State Plan program
included dental insurance coverage in addition to its previously provided health insurance
The following is taken from the 1998 "It's Your Choice" booklet: "100% preventive care;
care; SELECT YOUR OWN DENTIST. Additional this year: 50%
orthodontic coverage up to
individual ortho benefit maximum of $1200, with coverage limited to each covered dependent
At no time has the State Plan's uniform benefits package included the above dental insurance
coverage provided by the Humana plan.
By letter dated September 13, 1999, ETF notified the City that the lowest qualified
the year 2000 would be the Compcare Northwest plan, hereinafter the Compcare plan. In
to the Compcare plan, ETF listed the upcoming 2000 monthly premium rates for other plans,
including the Humana plan. However, and unlike 1999, the stated cost for the Humana plan
be in excess of 105% of the lowest qualified plan, i.e., the Compcare plan.
On October 12, 1999, City Administrator Brian Gramentz wrote a memorandum to
employees which stated:
. . .
The year 2000 Insurance booklets are being distributed to all
employees covered by the
Wisconsin Public Employers' Group Health Insurance plan. You should be aware of the
NOTE: All of the plans offered must
conform to the basic uniform benefits coverage found on
pages D-1 thru D-38. Extra coverage or benefits are found on pages listed below for each
1. Humana/Emphasis WI monthly
rates went up.
Single coverage from $234.38 to $267.40,
employee must pay $28.42 per month toward
premium. City can only pay for $238.98 by State Law. This is determined by
lowest policy available in the County, which is Compcare Northwest at $227.60 X
Family coverage from $591.38 to
employee must pay $70.40 per month toward
premium. Same reason as stated above but with the following numbers. $581.90
105%=$611.00. Read page F-26 and F-27 for coverage.
2. COMPCARE Northwest is
the lowest cost plan offered to St. Croix County insurance
participants. This plan doesn't offer dental coverage. Read page F-26 and F-27 for
3. Valley Health Plan is
another plan available. Price is higher ($72.90 per month). Some dental
Read page F-52 and F-53 for coverage.
4. Atrium Health
Plan will cost employee $127.12 per month for single and $317.20 per
month for family. Information found on page F-4 and F-5. Plan does offer
. . .
THE CHOICE IS UP TO YOU TO
CHOOSE THE PLAN BEST SUITED TO YOUR NEEDS.
1. You can choose
COMPCARE and pay nothing toward the premium. This may result in a reduction
in the extra benefits (beyond uniform benefits) you currently receive.
2. You can choose
Humana/Emphesys [sic] and continue to receive the same benefits but must pay
$28.42 for single, and $70.40 per month for family toward the premium.
3. You may also choose
Atrium Health Plan, Valley Health Plan or the Standard Plan. These also result
in additional funds from the employee.
See Page A-4 for specific insurance plan
rates, Col. 1 and 2 are for family units without a member
eligible for medicare. Col. 3, 4, and 5 are for family units with 1 or 2 eligible for medicare.
. . .
On October 21 and 22, 1999, the Union filed grievances alleging that the City
17, Section 1, of the respective Agreements by refusing to pay for substantially equivalent
benefits for the year 2000. The parties thereafter advanced their dispute to arbitration.
In calendar year 2000, 12 out of 13 Clerical/Library unit employees elected to
coverage under the Humana plan (2 single coverage, 10 family coverage) and 1 unit
changed from the Humana plan to the Compcare plan (family coverage). All 19 of the
Water Treatment Plant/Water Utilities unit employees elected to continue coverage under the
Humana plan (2 single coverage, 17 family coverage) in 2000. As indicated above, the
cost between the Humana plan and 105% of the Compcare plan in 2000 is $28.42 per month
single coverage and $70.40 per month for family coverage.
At hearing, the parties agreed that the remedy for the instant grievances, if any, is
the calendar year 2000 since the cost of the Humana plan for 2001 is not in excess of 105%
lowest qualified plan in St. Croix County.
Additional background information is set forth in the Positions of the Parties and in
POSITIONS OF THE PARTIES
The Union asserts that the City violated the Agreements by failing to maintain the
of insurance benefits in the year 2000. Therefore, the grievances should be sustained.
The differences between the 2000 Humana plan and the 2000 Compcare plan are
The Humana plan allows employees to choose from a broad range of physicians both in
and in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area, while the Compcare plan restricts the use of physicians
Wisconsin. Given the proximity of Hudson to the St. Paul/Minneapolis area and the level of
available in a large metropolitan area, this difference is large. In addition, the Humana plan
coverage while the Compcare plan has none. The Humana plan's dental coverage includes
preventive care, 50% of basic care, the freedom of choice for the selection of a dentist, and
orthodontic coverage up to an individual maximum of $1,200. With these significant
mind, the Union makes two arguments.
First, the City violated Article 17 of the Agreements. Article 17, Section 1, of the
contain relatively similar language allowing the City to change carriers provided the level of
is substantially equivalent. The change from the City paying in full for the Humana plan,
included dental, to the Compcare plan, which does not include dental or the broad selection
doctors, constitutes a change in benefits which are not substantially equivalent. From 1990,
through 1999, all but a few of the City's employees had insurance coverage through the
plan. Therefore, the City is obligated to provide health insurance benefits in 2000 that are
substantially equivalent to those provided from 1990 through 1999.
The Union does not dispute that the City is restricted from contributing more than
the lowest qualified plan under the State Plan, nor that the City lacks control over ETF's
of qualified insurance carriers through the State Plan. In addition, the Union does not
the City had no control over the Compcare plan bid in 2000 or that 105% of the Compcare
premium rates for 2000 did not cover the cost of the Humana plan premium rates for 2000
State Plan. Nevertheless, the City's contractual obligations under Article 17 exist separate
from the State Plan's requirements.
The City is not prohibited from purchasing supplemental health insurance coverage in
so as to replace the benefits employees would have lost had they chosen to switch from the
plan to the Compcare plan. Nor is the City prohibited from compensating employees for
of pocket costs to remain with the Humana plan in 2000 so as to provide substantially
coverage. For example, the City could have extended additional dental insurance coverage
comparable to the Humana plan's dental coverage to maintain the same level of benefits.
City failed to avail itself of these options, it violated Article 17 of the Agreements.
Second, the City violated Article 7 of the Agreements. Article 7, Section 1,
as a Maintenance of Standards clause, requires that all conditions of employment be
continued at not
less than the highest standards in effect at the time that the Agreements were executed. Once
employees received dental coverage under the Humana plan, then they are entitled to
benefits in 2000.
The fact that the uniform benefits under the State Plan do not provide for dental
coverage is irrelevant since the Maintenance of Standards clause requires that dental coverage
maintained. Further, the Maintenance of Standards language at issue does not contain any
component such as a requirement that the highest standards in effect be negotiated.
The case of Stokely-Van Camp, Inc., 74 LA 691 (Stern, 1980), is illustrative of this
In that case, the union asserted that the employer's refusal to continue a longstanding benefit
housing for migratory seasonal employees violated a maintenance of standards clause
provision in the
parties' agreement. That maintenance of standards clause stated:
The Company agrees that all conditions of employment in his
individual operation relating to
wages, hours of work, overtime differentials and general working conditions shall be
not less than the highest minimum standards in effect at the time of the signing of this
the conditions of employment shall be improved wherever specific provisions for
made elsewhere in this Agreement. Id. at 694.
The arbitrator held that the company had violated the maintenance of standards clause
being no specific reference to the longstanding benefit in the contract. Similarly, the City
the Agreements' Maintenance of Standards clause, despite that dental insurance coverage is
specifically referred to in the Agreements and despite that that longstanding coverage is not a
mandatory benefit under the State Plan.
It is irrelevant that in the past some bargaining unit employees have elected
health insurance coverage under the State Plan and that they have made out of pocket
that election. In 1990, DPW Union Steward Esanbock chose a qualified plan for the year
whose cost exceeded 105% of the lowest cost premium because he and his family wanted to
treated by certain physicians. Esanbock did not file a grievance because he made a choice to
a plan whose premium was not fully paid by the City. That circumstance is inapposite from
The Union does not contend that the City must pay the full premium of any plan
an employee. Rather, the Maintenance of Standards clause in Article 7 of the Agreements
the City to maintain the highest level of benefits in effect in December, 1998, and at
the time the Agreements were executed. Those benefits included dental coverage.
Thus, the City
violated the Agreements when it failed to provide dental coverage to employees, or to
for their cost to maintain that coverage in the year 2000.
The Union's requested remedy is that the City reimburse any employee who remained
the Humana plan in 2000 for their out of pocket costs to maintain that coverage.
The City asserts that the grievances should be denied.
The State Plan gives employees an opportunity each October during an open
period to elect an insurance plan for the following calendar year which meets their individual
This selection is based upon information contained within ETF's annual "It's Your Choice"
and which outlines the medical benefits and providers available, the cost of each plan, the
benefits for that upcoming year, and any changes in the uniform benefits. In addition, the
contains changes such as the addition or deletion of benefits voluntarily offered by the
plan's insurance carriers as well as changes in the insurance carriers participating in the State
The City provides the State Plan, the State Plan gives employees options, and employees
insurance plan within the State Plan. The City has not stopped providing the State Plan to its
employees since 1987 and the City continued to offer the State Plan in 2000. There has been
change in the City providing the State Plan. Therefore, there is no violation of the
Article 17, Section 1, of the two Agreements provide "change of carrier" language
intended to protect employees in the event the City elects to change insurance carriers. That
of the DPW/Water Utilities Agreement requires that if the City changes carriers or self funds
insurance, then the City must offer "substantially equivalent" benefits to those in 1995.
Clerical/Library Agreement requires that the City offer benefits "substantially equivalent" to
group health insurance in effect January 1, 1994." It is undisputed that the City offered the
State Plan in 1994 and 1995, as it did in 2000. Therefore, the "substantially equivalent"
Article 17 is not triggered and there is no violation of the Agreements.
Alternatively, Article 17, Section 1, of the Agreements is ambiguous. That language
be construed that the City must pay 100% of the most expensive option under the State Plan.
could also be construed to require that the City pay only 100% of the lowest cost option
State Plan. However, and since 1991, it has been the past practice for the City to fully pay
plan elected by an employee that was up to 105% of the lowest cost option. Moreover, and
during this time period, it has been the practice for employees choosing a plan which exceeds
of the lowest cost option to pay the difference between
that cost and the cost of the higher priced plan. For example, and during the
DPW/Water Utility Union Steward Esanbock paid the difference between the cost of his
higher priced plan and the cost of 105% of the lowest qualified plan. The same occurred for
employees who elected the Humana plan in the year 2000. Therefore, the parties' past
supports the Union's position.
It is noted that Union Steward Esanbock is in a leadership position. It is further
employees received their ETF booklets each year stating: "Your employer pays between 50%
105% of the premium rate of the lowest cost qualified plan in the employer's service area for
single or family coverage for employees who are participants under the Wisconsin Retirement
(WRS)." Thus, the Union at least had constructive notice of this past practice.
There is also evidence of prior bargaining history which supports the City's position.
Esanbock, who has been a member of the Union's bargaining team since the early 1990's,
that he knew the historical "full premium" language in the 1990-1991 Agreement and the
all premiums language in the 1994-1995, 1996-1997 and 1998-2000 Agreements did not
of all premiums. Further, Clerical Union Steward Darlene Fraser, who has represented the
Clerical/Library unit at the bargaining table for the last nine years, testified that in her
disputed language has always meant that the City pays up to 105% of the lowest cost plan.
The Union's reliance on the Maintenance of Standards language in Article 7 does not
merit. Since the City continues to offer the same benefit of health insurance under the State
2000, the maintenance of standards clause is not violated and the grievances should be
If the Arbitrator concludes that the Agreements have been violated, then any remedy
result in either the City being required to violate State regulations, ETF 40.10, Wis. Admin.
(over which the City has no control), and/or the City withdrawing from the State Plan.
In the fall of 1999, employees were given the option of staying with the Humana
requires employees to pay a portion of the premiums, or switching to the Compcare plan and
no premium contributions for health insurance in 2000. One employee did so. All other
should bear the consequences of their decision to upgrade their coverage, just as Union
Esanbock did in 1991.
The Union argues that the City violated the "change of carriers" language in Article
17 of the
Agreements because the change from the Humana plan to the Compcare plan for the year
not provide "substantially equivalent" benefits.
Article 17, Section 1, of the Clerical/Library Agreement states that "[t]he Employer
right to change carriers, provided that the level of benefits is substantially equivalent to the
level of benefits." Article 17, Section 1, of the DPW/Water Utility Agreement states that
Employer has the right to change carriers or self-fund health care benefits if it elects to do
provided the level of benefits is substantially equivalent to that existing in 1995." These
both contain conditional language. Thus, if the City changes insurance carriers, then the
shifts to whether the result of that change provided a "substantially equivalent" level of
insurance benefits to employees covered by the Agreements. If the City did not change
carriers, as the City asserts, then this language does not apply.
I do not agree that the circumstances in this case equate to the City changing
carriers. In the fall of 1999, the State of Wisconsin, the Department of Employee Trust
determined that the Compcare plan would be the lowest qualified plan in the City's service
the year 2000 under its State Plan program. This resulted from Compcare's bid for inclusion
State Plan program being the least expensive in St. Croix County. Concurrently, Humana's
inclusion was more than 105% than the Compcare plan. The end result was that City
elected the Humana plan under the State Plan for 2000 were required to pay the difference
105% of the Compcare plan and the cost of their election of the Humana plan. The City
employees of this pending change.
In my opinion, this "change" was not an action brought about by the City. Rather,
something done by the ETF Administrator of the State Plan and the insurance carriers that
available plans, including the Compcare plan and the Humana plan. There is no evidence
that the City
caused this change or that it otherwise had a hand in bringing about this change. Further,
there is no
evidence that the parties intended this employer's-right-to-change-carriers language to
circumstances like those occurring in the fall of 1999. The Union's analysis overly broadens
meaning of "[t]he Employer has the right to change carriers." Because I do not find that the
changed insurance carriers, this language does not apply. I agree with the City that the
equivalent" language in Article 17 is not triggered and I do not reach an analysis of whether
Compcare plan provided "substantially equivalent" insurance benefits to that of the Humana
I also agree with the City that it has not violated that part of Article 17 of the
which require the City to "pay 100%" of health insurance premiums. The parties' uniform
since 1987 of the City paying 105% of the lowest qualified plan under the State Plan
program, as well
as the testimony of Union Stewards Esanboch and Fraser confirming this practice and as
in the City's position, lead me to conclude that the "pay 100%" means that the City is
required to pay
100% of the maximum employer contribution permitted under the State Plan. There is no
that the City has done so in this case.
I agree with the Union that the City is not prohibited from purchasing additional
insurance coverage, such as dental benefits comparable with the 1998 Humana plan. Nor is
prohibited from compensating employees for their out of pocket costs for continuing with the
Humana plan in 2000. However, I disagree with the Union that the City is required to do so
of Article 17 of the Agreements or that the City has violated Article 17 of the Agreements.
The Union also argues that the City violated the Maintenance of Standards clause in
7, Section 1, of the Agreements because the change from the Humana plan to the Compcare
the year 2000 does not maintain those benefits in place at the time that the Agreements were
in December of 1998.
Article 7, Section 1, of the Agreements are identical and state that the City "agrees
conditions of employment relating to wages, hours and working conditions shall be
maintained at not
less than the highest standards in effect in the [City's] unit at the time of the signing of this
. . ." This maintenance of standards language prohibits the City from changing conditions of
employment relative to health insurance which were in existence at the time the Agreements
executed in 1998.
I do not find that the City has changed conditions of employment relative to health
for two reasons. First, the State Plan program continues to require that carriers included in
program provide uniform benefits. Uniform benefits have been described by ETF as a
"comprehensive level of benefits regardless of which plan [employees] select or what their
needs are." (Jt. Ex. 30). Thus, no matter what carrier an employee selects each year, that
provides an insurance plan with a comprehensive level of benefits. In addition to these
comprehensive, they also include a minimum level of benefits. This has been described in
the booklets each year since at least 1993. The booklets inform employees that "[u]niform
do not mean that all plans will treat all illnesses in an identical manner. Treatment will vary
on the needs of the patient, the physicians involved and the managed care policies and
each insurance plan." (Jt. Ex. 9). ETF extended these uniform benefits effective January 1,
Ex. 28), and they have been maintained since that date and in 2000.
Second, the City continues to pay the entire amount of the
lowest qualified plan with
employees paying for any elected plan whose cost exceeds 105% of the lowest qualified plan.
evidence shows that in 1991 (Esanboch), 1992 (Esanboch), and 1996 (Rohl), employees paid
difference for a non-Humana plan whose premium exceeded 105% of the lowest qualified
Ex. 19 and 32) Union Steward Esanboch testified that he elected a plan which required
out of pocket payment because that plan provided medical services at a particular hospital in
Wisconsin. I disagree with the Union's contention that this circumstance is inapposite, or
that it is
otherwise irrelevant, to the current grievances. Rather, the above examples, and the failure
grievances over their respective circumstances, indicate the parties' understanding that out of
payments for non-Humana plans is a maintenance of standards regarding payment for those
plans. Therefore, when
employees were required to make payment for the Humana plan in 2000 because its
105% of the lowest qualified plan, the standard for the maintenance of health insurance was
If I were to accept the Union's argument that Article 7 requires the City to pay for
continuation of nonuniform benefits in 2000, such as the Humana plan's dental benefits, then
employee, whether that employee elected the Humana plan or another qualifying plan whose
exceeded 105% of the lowest qualified plan for 2000, would be able to maintain each and
nonuniform benefit in perpetuity. In other words, those employees would accumulate prior
nonuniform benefits and carry them forward making the City's use of the State Plan
unwieldy, if not
impossible to continue in its existence. In my opinion, this interpretation of Article 7
nonsensical result which is to be avoided.
The case of Stokely-Van Camp, Inc., 74 LA 691 (Stern, 1980) is distinguishable. In
case, Arbitrator Stern enforced a longstanding work benefit despite there being no specific
to it in the parties' agreement via a maintenance of standards clause. In this case, however,
stated above, the benefit which is being maintained is the continuation of uniform benefits
State Plan and the City's continuation of paying 105% of the lowest qualified plan.
It should be noted that there is no evidence that the total uniform benefits provided in
have changed and in comparison with those total uniform benefits provided in subsequent
including in 2000. Had the uniform benefits in 2000 been a reduction from those provided
then it could be argued that the City has not maintained them in violation of Article 7.
there is no evidence and there has been no argument on this point and, therefore, I do not
findings on this point.
Based upon the foregoing and the record as a whole, it is the decision and award of
undersigned Arbitrator that the City did not violate the parties' 1998-2000 collective
agreements by not paying the entire cost of insurance premiums in year 2000 for those
electing insurance plans under the Wisconsin Employer's Group Health Insurance program
more than 105% of the lowest qualified plan. Therefore, the grievances are denied.
Dated at Eau Claire, Wisconsin this 30th day of July, 2001.
Stephen G. Bohrer, Arbitrator