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NFA News Archive

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  • 14 Oct 2018 11:41 AM | Anonymous


  • 25 Sep 2018 8:18 PM | Anonymous
    CSN FACULTY SENATE OVERWHELMINGLY URGES CSN TO HONOR BARGAINING AGREEMENT

    On Friday Sept 14, CSN Faculty Senate voted by a margin of 28-3 to urge CSN to honor all settled tentative agreements.

    NFA President Robert Manis explained to Senate how in August, CSN had approached NFA with an offer to end the bargaining impasse by offering an approximate $1000/ person bonus which could be split into two parts, along with raises in summer pay,  B+ contracts, overload pay, and clinical hours.

     However, hours before NFA could consider this proposal, CSN stated it was withdrawing from an agreement settled a year ago to allow market hires a path to tenure for the reason that it modified NSHE code.  Revoking a settled TA is a virtually unprecedented violation of labor law.  The reason is that if a previously settled tentative agreement is allowed to be revoked, all the others (of which CSN and NFA have settled 15) could be held hostage for leverage on other issues, lab hours being one of the major ones outstanding

     Moreover, NSHE TItle 4, Chapter 4 Section 13.2-3 specifically allows the modification of code by collective bargaining contracts. Furthermore, prior to making the agreement, NFA showed how market hires were paid less than faculty and in fact were, in many cases, not offered the chance to choose the tenure track option, which is itself a violation of code.

     The significant issue, however, is whether any agreement, once settled, can be held hostage for leverage. In fact, what then would prevent CSN from renouncing their latest offer if this is allowed to stand?

     

  • 14 Jul 2018 8:12 PM | Anonymous

    Bargaining at CSN reached impasse as CSN continued its refusal to bargain over salary in violation of labor law. The process now moves to fact-finding. For more info see the following article.

    https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/csn-faculty-trying-to-negotiate-a-pay-raise-hit-impasse-with-administration

  • 17 Jun 2018 11:26 AM | Anonymous

    On June 8th, the Nevada Faculty Alliance imposed a deadline for the College of Southern Nevada to make significant progress towards agreement on matters related to compensation, by midnight June 30.

    These compensation-related items include lab pay, overload pay, and pay equity (compression adjustments which have historically been funded at the institutional level.

    It's the opinion of  our lawyers at the NFA’s national affiliate the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) that the failure to make any tangible counter-offer on these topics constitute “bad faith”  surface bargaining, an Unfair Labor Practice.

    During the same time period, the NFA will decide whether to file an unfair labor practice in District Court, or to declare an Impasse and refer the matter to a Fact-finder as provided in Nevada System of Higher Education code, should there be no agreement or significant enough progress.

    The college claims it has no money to make any agreement, which NFA disputes. They have also falsely alleged to the Chancellor and Legislators that NFA has asked for merit pay and/or Cost of living allowances funded by the legislature which is also untrue.  

    NFA hopes that the imposition of a deadline will make the college take the compensation issues more seriously, since there’s been no progress even after 19 months. Should they not, having done our research, we expect success whether through the Courts or Fact-finding.
  • 19 Feb 2018 10:29 AM | David Steel

    Updates can be found on the negotiations blog: https://nfacsnnegotiations.blogspot.com/

  • 06 Dec 2017 4:05 PM | David Steel

    Kent Ervin, NFA Legislative Liaison, provides the following update regarding PEBP benefits changes for 2018-2019:

    A summary of the Public Employees’ Benefits Program Board actions from the November board meeting is available on the PEBP website.  The Board accepted most all of Executive Officer Damon Haycock's recommendations for plan year 2019 changes, effective July 1, 2018.  That includes (1) replacing the northern HMO with an Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) with similar features and using over $10M of excess reserves generated by the High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) to cover the associated increased risks for self-funding the EPO; and (2) not approving a $1 or $2/month per year of service additional employer contribution to the HRA (Health Reimbursement Account) for retirees on the Medicare Exchange. These two items were linked in the staff recommendation to the board because the extra reserves allocated for the EPO did not leave enough funds for increasing the HRA contribution for Medicare retirees.  Also, the board expanded PEBP's subrogation powers via regulation (although with coverage of the participant's out-of-pocket costs from any recovery). Several minor enhancements to the HDHP were approved as outlined in the summary. Additional requirements were added for “earning” the supplemental $200/year HSA/HRA contribution for HDHP participants. Other proposed HDHP plan benefits or increased HSA/HRA contributions were rejected, also because of potential costs of the EPO.


    NFA’s positions on these issues are available in our public comments to the PEBP Board posted at http://www.nevadafacultyalliance.org/LatestNews. In particular, NFA spoke against using excess reserves generated by the HDHP program and participants to establish the new EPO plan.


    The northern HMO/EPO decision is essentially irrevocable because the northern HMO contract will be terminated in January effective June 30, 2018.  The other decisions are not quite set in stone because the final rates and plan features will be addressed at the January and March board meetings.  NFA recommends that you review the plan design changes and make your opinions known:


    Dr. Chris Cochran chris.cochran@unlv.edu (southern NSHE representative on PEBP Board)

    Dr. John Packham  jpackham@med.unr.edu (northern NSHE representative on PEBP Board)

    Patrick Cates pcates@admin.nv.gov (PEBP Board Chair)

    Damon Haycock  dhaycock@peb.state.nv.gov (PEBP Executive Officer)


  • 29 Nov 2017 2:16 PM | David Steel

    The following testimony was provided to the PEBP Board by NFA Legislative Liaison Kent Ervin, on behalf of NFA:

    The Nevada Faculty Alliance (NFA) is the statewide association of faculty at all eight NSHE institutions, most of whom participate in the Public Employees’ Benefits Program along with other state employees. We are the state affiliate of the American Association of University Professors.

    The NFA appreciates the efforts of PEBP to protect program interests via subrogation efforts when a third party may be responsible for medical expenses incurred by PEBP. We also strongly agree with the part of the regulation that says the out-of-pocket medical costs for the participant should be covered first and in whole from any recovery.

    We are however concerned that the subrogation actions by the lawyers hired by Healthscope can at times be overly aggressive, particularly when the party being pursued is the participant or a close relative or their own insurance companies. When a participant buys homeowners or automotive liability insurance, they are doing it to protect themselves, not to protect PEBP or to lower PEBP premiums for others. The examples provided in the Board packet sound innocuous—involving traffic accidents with an unrelated third party at fault. However, the proposed regulations allow subrogation actions against, say, the grandmother of a PEBP participant’s covered child when a simple accident (neither intentional nor negligent) occurred in her home. Should PEBP and by extension the State as employer really be pursuing such a case? It is questionable whether the applicable statute actually was intended to apply to first party coverage, since it refers to legal liability rather than contractual liability created by purchase of an insurance policy.

    We recommend that the Board restrict the subrogation efforts to third party coverages only. A minimum alternative would be to create a policy to evaluate the merit of cases against participants or their close relatives. The decision to pursue a subrogation case should not be primarily based on money potential by Healthscope’s “vendors”—their hired lawyers—as it is described on page 12 of the Health Claims Auditors report (agenda item 4.3).

    Thank you. 


  • 29 Nov 2017 2:15 PM | David Steel

    The following testimony was provided to the PEBP Board by NFA Legislative Liaison Kent Ervin, on behalf of NFA:

    The Nevada Faculty Alliance (NFA) is the statewide association of faculty at all eight NSHE institutions, most of whom participate in the Public Employees’ Benefits Program along with other state employees.

    The NFA greatly appreciates the hard work of the PEBP staff and the PEBP Board to maintain our health insurance program in the face of rising costs and budgetary constraints. It is a difficult task to balance diverse interests in a program with many moving targets.

    Regarding the HMO options (agenda item 10), we recommend caution. Although we understand that the HMO option is in distress due to rapidly rising costs, it is difficult to evaluate the proposed self-funded Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) alternative because neither estimates of the rates nor the methodology to set the rates have been provided. The Board should ask for a better understanding before proceeding. We are also concerned about the rushed implementation of an entirely new program.

    Our biggest reservation is that the higher risks requiring a $10M to $15M increase in the Catastrophic Reserves are proposed to be absorbed by Excess Reserves from the CDHP program. Those Excess Reserves were created on the shoulders of CDHP participants and, arguably, retirees who were moved along with their higher risk pool to the Medicare Exchange. The Excess Reserves from the CDHP should not be used to fund the Catastrophic Reserves for a new EPO plan. Instead, if an EPO is implemented, it should be priced to fund its own share of the Catastrophic Reserves over an appropriate phase-in period of several years. To reduce the rate impact, the confidence level for the EPO catastrophic reserves could be phased in, reaching the desirable 95% level after a few years. That is what would necessarily happen with a completely new self-funded program, or if there were no excess reserves in another program. The existing Catastrophic Reserve does provide a buffer in case of poor EPO experience during the phase-in period.

    Thank you. 


  • 29 Nov 2017 2:12 PM | David Steel

    The following testimony was provided to the PEBP Board by NFA Legislative Liaison Kent Ervin, on behalf of NFA:

    The Nevada Faculty Alliance (NFA) is the statewide association of faculty at all eight NSHE institutions, most of whom participate in the Public Employees’ Benefits Program along with other state employees. We are the state affiliate of the American Association of University Professors.

    Thank you again for your hard work in managing our health benefits program. With the CDHP plan, we again see a situation of unallocated reserves well in excess of the actuarial prediction. While that is certainly more pleasant to deal with than a shortfall, it means that the CDHP participants have not received all the benefits that they could have received with the level of funding from both employee and employer contributions. While retroactive changes are not possible, the excess reserves need to be used to “pay back” equitably those participants that helped create it.

    The Nevada Faculty Alliance recommends the following priorities for use of excess reserves, highest priorities first, beyond continuing existing PY18 plan features and the recommended cost-containment strategies (which we support):

    1) Employee contributions to CDHP premiums should not increase in dollar amount for FY19 over FY18. An unknown amount might be needed for rate stabilization.

    2) Maintain/restore the $2-per-month contribution for retirees on the Medicare Exchange. The Exchange retirees are the only group who were not taken care of at all with legislative action in 2017, and they have arguably contributed to the build-up of the reserves by removing higher risk older individuals from the CDHP risk pool. Estimated cost $5.43M. Continuing this funding needs to be a high priority request at the next legislature.

    3) Add the preventive 3D mammography, at the low cost of $0.22M, as a base plan feature.

    4) Reduce the deductible and maximum out-of-pocket cost for CDHP participants. This helps most those who actually have high health care needs during the plan year (as opposed to increasing the HSA/HRA contribution for everyone). Specifically, we recommend reducing the deductible to the IRS minimum for a HDHP of $1350 (individual, double for families) and reducing the maximum out-of-pocket cost from $3900 to $3000, for an estimated total cost of $6.92M. The deductible would increase with the IRS minimum in future years, the out-of-pocket could be kept to at least twice the deductible, and this is one of the easiest design features to adjust in case of future shortfalls.

    5) Restore a vision benefit, at a maximum estimated cost of $1.22M assuming 100% utilization. Workers and retirees need good, fully-corrected eyesight to do their jobs and live comfortably. This should be a base benefit.

    6) Use the remainder of excess reserves to increase HSA/HRA contributions as a one-time spend-down. A $300/year increase in the HSA/HRA would cost $7.09M. We prefer the no-strings-attached option because future funding for a matching program is uncertain. It could be delayed until January 2019 in case of unanticipated contingencies.

    That represents a total of $20.88M, which roughly matches the available funds, not including rate stabilization if required.

    Thank you for the opportunity to provide this input. 


  • 02 Oct 2017 10:30 AM | David Steel
    Successful opposition to salary memo
    On July 24th, 2017, then-Acting Chancellor Jane Nichols issued a memo to the Council of Presidents calling for a freeze on various types of internally-funded salary adjustments.

    The Nevada Faculty Alliance opposed this memo. We spoke to legislators, Chancellor Thom Reilly, and ultimately raised the issue in testimony at the Board of Regents.

    NFA efforts proved successful, as Chancellor Thom Reilly has now issued a clarification memo rescinding most of the Nichols' memo.

    Resolution on salary
    At it's recent Sep. 9th meeting, the NFA State Board voted unanimously to approve the following resolution regarding faculty compensation:

    "NFA supports putting NSHE community colleges back on the step system for faculty salary increases, and that these increases be funded by the legislature, consistent with K-12 and state employees.

    NFA supports merit pay for NSHE universities and the state college, funded by the state or by the institutions."

    NFA will advocate for this viewpoint in all appropriate forums. To that end, we have submitted a list of three names to NSHE for consideration as possible nominees to the legislature's AB 202 committee, which will study faculty compensation along with the affordability and accessibility of higher education for Nevada students.

    Our recommended nominees are:
    Jeff Downs, WNC
    Glenn Miller, UNR
    Sandra Owens, UNLV


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