No cost increases for workers

A speech by Kymberly Hafner

Greetings, commissioners and county administration. My name is Kymberly Hafner. I am an associate librarian for Hennepin County and organizer with local 2822.

The process of consensus bargaining for healthcare has already been ripe with misleading information from Hennepin County and obstruction from Head of Labor Relations H

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olland Atkinson, who admitted to withholding data and documents from the locals when we were supposed to get the proposed numbers from MERCER ahead of the June 22 meeting.

Hennepin County wants major increases AGAIN next year. 

Their solution is to let the workers eat the cost by raising premiums, creating high deductibles, and increasing copays, instead of holding UMR accountable for not fulfilling their contract. UMR cannot provide tiered networks to workers. Why is Hennepin County not pursuing legal action for breach of contract? And this is if we believe that Hennepin County did not know this before signing on the dotted line. It’s clear this was a bait and switch: Either UMR lied to Hennepin County, or Hennepin County lied to us all. But it is not the workers who need to pay for this huge financial mistake and mismanagement of funds.

David Hough used $9.7 million of our healthcare surplus to plug county budget holes elsewhere. This occurred while Hennepin County received $356 million in federal dollars to help cover COVID-related expenses, money that the Biden administration explicitly stated could have been used for healthcare expenses or hazard pay for workers. Not a penny went to frontline workers who kept the County running providing services to the community.

During the pandemic, Hennepin County continued to use “premium holidays” in order to not contribute their portion of funding to our healthcare. In total, Hennepin County failed to contribute their $23.4 million share to our self-funded insurance plan.

No Hennepin County worker should see an increase in their health insurance next year because there are still millions sitting unspent in the county reserves and COVID funds.

Thank you.

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