The Division of Labor Relations recently ruled that the town of Northbridge acted improperly when it unilaterally implemented changes to the health insurance benefits without notice to employees and opportunity to bargain over the changes.
The case, In the Matter of: Town of Northbridge, et al. and Northbridge Teachers Association 21-033-10 (Case Nos. MUP-07-5008 and MUP-07-5009) (Oct. 8, 2010) stated “Where the town of Northbridge did not give the teachers association prior notice and an opportunity to bargain to resolution or impasse over health insurance plan design changes, the town committed a labor law violation.
The town will, accordingly, be directed: to restore to bargaining unit members the cost and structure of co-payments for physician office visits, inpatient hospital and outpatient surgery, emergency room visits and prescription drugs for all health insurance plans that was in place prior to July 1, 2007; and upon request, bargain with the association, in good faith to resolution or impasse before implementing any changes in health insurance copayments.”
Attorney Ronald A. Sellon