I know the City Council's vote on the Municipal Healthcare Act has caused anxiety on both sides of the issue.
City employees are concerned about losing collective bargaining with their healthcare. Taxpayers are frustrated that they are paying for benefits they don't even enjoy themselves.
I get it.
Here are the principal reasons why I voted "no" on adopting the Act, and why I believe this was the right decision for Brockton:
- Union leaders made it clear that they understand that the current level of coverage is financially unsustainable, and that changes need to be negotiated;
- The Balzotti administration indicated that negotiations with the unions have been professional and productive, and that they are not at an impasse; and
- Easton, Boston, Worcester, and at least 9 other communities have all realized cost reductions in healthcare through collective bargaining.
You can apply pressure in two ways: 1) by ominous threat or 2) through unanimous support.
The City Council's "no" vote does not imply that things should stay the same. It's a vote that applies pressure through support, unambiguously instructing the unions and the administration to sit down at the table and work things out.
It is not anomalistic to believe we can get this done—in a manner that's fair to city workers and to the city's taxpayers.