On Wednesday, the Commissioners of Belknap County voted unanimously to tell county employees they must pay the balance of the employer’s share of the annual increase in their health insurance premium until the close of the fiscal year on Dec. 31. At the same time, the commissioners agreed to ask the executive committee of the Belknap County Convention to approve the transfer of $93,667 to spare the cost to the employees and honor the terms of the collective bargaining agreement with the union representing them. The meeting where this matter will be considered is set for Oct. 27.
As we have previously reported the Belknap County Commissioners and Belknap County Statehouse delegation have been butting heads for months at the expense of the county’s employees, residents of the Nursing Home, inmates and taxpayers. Their feuding led to legal action that resulted in a court order that the Commissioners must seek and obtain the permission of the delegation to make any line item transfers greater than $300.
If the Executive Committee denies authorization to transfer, the County cannot pay for the employer’s share of health insurance. The money is there, but they won’t be able to touch it. If that happens, there is a clear violation of the contract and SEA/SEIU Local 1984 will take serious and immediate legal action against the employer.
This latest development is shameful and inexcusable. More than a few of the affected workers will not be able to afford this payment; in essence, they will be bringing home about $5.00/hr if they are required to pick up the employer’s share of their insurance premiums.
We will bring you more information about this situation over the coming days.