Madison considers health insurance deductibles, wage hike for employees

Mayor Paul Soglin is proposing city employees pay deductibles for health care for the first time while also seeking a raise for employees whose pay has fallen behind that of workers who still can bargain collectively.

Pay equity among city employees has emerged as a big issue in the wake of the state Legislature’s passage of Act 10 in 2011, which largely prohibits collective bargaining for public workers except for police, firefighters and transit workers.

The city’s Board of Estimates on Tuesday endorsed the proposals for health care coverage and wages. The City Council will consider the proposals on Sept. 15.

Under Soglin’s plan:

  • All employees would move to a deductible plan that would require single participants to pay the first $500 and those with family coverage the first $1,000 of costs in a year. The change would save the city $
  • 1.5 mil
  • lion to $1.9 million.
  • The city would deliver raises for employees in compensation groups outside police, fire and Metro Transit for 2016 through 2019, including 2.25 percent for 2016 and 1 percent each for 2017, 2018 and 2019. The increases would cost a total $7.6 million. The city could provide those groups another 1.15 percent in one of the final three years. That would cost another $1.4 million.
  • The city would contribute to a post-retirement health insurance trust fund equal to 1.25 percent of salaries for compensation groups outside police, firefighters, Metro and the Streets Division, which already have such trust funds. The contribution would cost the city another $1.5 million annually.

If approved, the pay increases would match the 16 percent wage increase for Metro employees between 2011 and 2019, city human resources director Brad Wirtz said. Metro employees completed a contract with no increase for 2015, 2 percent for 2016, 3 percent for 2017 and 2 percent each for 2018 and 2019.

The city is now negotiating with police and firefighters and hopes to bring those unions to the 16 percent total for 2011 through 2019, Wirtz said.