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Final Ratification

Dear FURA members,

On Wednesday, 8/24, the board has on its agenda ( below ) to RATIFY the tentative agreement which you can view at. Rog Lucido will be speaking in our behalf ( See his statement below the agenda item ). Other FURA members are encouraged to come and speak also.

AGENDA ITEM

B. CONFERENCE/DISCUSSION AGENDA – continued

Agenda – Board of Education Regular Meeting Wednesday August 24, 2005

Page 8

6:45P.M.

B-26, OPPORTUNITY for Public Disclosure and RATIFY of the July 1, 2004 through June 30, 2007, Collective Bargaining Agreement Between the Fresno Unified School District and the Fresno Teachers Association:

In accordance with AB 1200 (Statutes of 1981, Chapter 1213), all major provisions of collective bargaining agreements are to be presented at a public meeting of the public school employer before they enter into a written agreement. Included in the Board binders is the tentative agreement between the District and the Fresno Teachers Association and the projected savings of this agreement. The Superintendent recommends ratification. Fiscal Impact: This Agreement includes reductions in the Unrestricted General fund of $8.8M in class size savings, $6.7M in health savings and a one-time health savings of $5.5M . The Agreement also includes a salary increase of $8.6M in the Unrestricted General fund. The salary increases are as follows: 2% effective with the first warrant of the 2005-2006 contract pay year. and a 1.1% effective January 1, 2006. A net savings of $12.4M for 2005-06. All reductions and increases are contingent upon agreement thereto by all other employee exclusive representatives and non-represented employees. Contact person: Eva L. Chavez, telephone 457-3624.

Rog’s remarks:

Dear President Medina, Clerk Mills, members of the board and superintendent Hanson. My name is Rog Lucido. I am a retired Fresno Unified physics teacher, having taught for over 38 years. I am a member of Fresno Unified Retirees Association and am here to share with you our concerns about this tentative agreement with FTA.

Retirees are no longer district employees. We do not belong to FTA. We have no voting rights, yet FTA is bargaining away our health benefits. There are 3,351 retirees and their spouses (1,927 add this to over 7,000 employees not including their dependents ) who may possibly be affected by this Tentative agreement. While this contract was being negotiated retirees were not contacted either by the district or FTA for input–not for a vote, not even just to ask us how this may affect us. The district may soon be sending all of us a bill to pay our premiums and assessments, so they do have our addresses. This was simply disrespect. Its not fun to be treated as a pawn after years of service to the district.

To make things worse, even though we are on a limited income, we will no longer know what to expect or if we have the ability to pay for our monthly contribution. According to this Tentative Agreement:

If the shortfall is less than three percent (3%), the Joint Health Management Board shall act immediately to increase eligible employee and/or retiree contributions or assessments, and/or modify plan design.

If the shortfall is three percent (3%) or more, the Health Plan Reserve Assessment shall automatically and immediately be increased for all eligible active employees and eligible pre-65 year old retirees.

The decision to increase contributions or modify the plan does not have to be ratified either by the FTA membership or the School Board and of course the Retirees have no rights at all in this matter. Because FTA will have more than 50% of the employee vote on the Joint Health Management Board, this renders the other employee unions also powerless. It should be noted that there is no stipulation about the JHMB ever decreasing employee and retiree contributions.

The school board has received much documentation from FURA’s Attorney, Robert Bezemek, as to the illegality of rescinding a negotiated health plan for vested retirees that has been in place for nearly 30 years. You cannot charge pre-65 and post-65 different premiums and assessment fees. This is age discrimination. To approve this Tentative Agreement is to present a false front that the current retiree’s contributions are critical to this contract. Does this school board really want to illegally collect that which you will soon have to return ? How will the county and state authorities as well as present and future employees view FUSD? It is not too late to say no to this tentative agreement and renegotiate it with justice for retirees and all employees alike.

DEAR ALL:

Thank you for attending last week’s steering committee with Mike Hanson and Eva Chavez. Minutes are posted on the FURA website (note: do not input www when typing the URL in your computer. Simply input FURA-FUSD.ORG)

  • I have emailed Mike Hanson, Eva Chavez with a copy to Nancy Richardson as a follow up for the new information requested relative to accurate numbers of retirees as of June 30, 2005; numbers of those retirees & dependents below the age of 65 and above the age of 65. Also requested, yet again, names and addresses of retirees.
  • I “tweaked” bylaws of other non profit educational organizations and sent a very, very rough draft to our attorney, Bob Bezemek, for his perusal and input. When I receive the corrected draft, I will forward them to you for further input.
  • Bob Bezemek telephoned me earlier this afternoon. As you know, he was on holiday and returned to his office this week. He is proceeding with our case. He agreed that his presence at our next general membership meeting is critical for our organization and our pending lawsuit. Bob will email me with open dates in September. At that time, I will forward the dates to Boyd and ask that he work with the district’s civic center office at facilities to secure a high school cafeteria for our meeting. Boyd and I spoke briefly after last week’s meeting and agreed that Hoover High School’s cafeteria would be ideal if the facility is available. We would not probably incur any charge as Wally Taylor of the California Retired Teachers’ Association informed me last November that CRTA would charge FURA $100 per hour to use their facility.
  • When a date is determined, a flyer must be mailed as well as placement on the FURA website. The time of the meeting must be after the instructional day so I presume we’re talking about a 3:30 PM meeting.
  • The agenda will include: Opening Remarks Sark and Boyd
  • Introduction of Mr. Bezemek
  • Mr. Bezemek\
  • Q & A
  • The meeting will be closed to only FURA members and retirees who have NOT yet joined. There will be NO GUESTS allowed due to attorney/client privilege issues.

Hope you’re staying inside and away from this incessant heat.

Many thanks for all of your hard work. sark

FRESNO UNIFIED RETIREES’ MEETING

WHY:  ROBERT J. BEZEMEK, ATTORNEY FOR FURA, Fresno Unified Retiree’s Association, will:

  • Provide information regarding the recently approved agreement between FUSD and Fresno Teachers’ Association.
  • This affects ALL FUSD retirees. He will address the following questions as well as others.
  • Why did the district allow FTA to negotiate for ALL FUSD retirees?
  • What are the financial ramifications for all retirees?
  • What are the ramifications on the under 65 year olds? Over 65? Over 75?
  • Why did FUSD and FTA allow the newly established Joint Health Management Board to represent the RIGHTS of all FUSD retirees relative to health care?

WHO:  All FUSD RETIREES AND SPOUSES.  NO OUTSIDE GUESTS DUE TO ATTORNEY CLIENT PRIVILEGE

WHAT: FURA FALL GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING

WHEN:  TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2005 . 3:30pm

WHERE: ROOSEVELT HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM
Cedar at Tulare Avenues (school office located at 4250 E Tulare Ave. )
Parking adjacent to Auditorium in the student parking lot

URA STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Carole Sarkesian-Bonard, Pres., Boyd Cline, Vice-Pres., Barbara Thomas, Treas., Vivienne Oxley, Asst Treas Karin Larka, Sect., Earline Fiori, Asst Sect., Glen Rathwick, Robert Larka, Jerry Phillips, Lynn Freeman, Suzanne Graham, Chuck McAlexander, Joan Jack, Tony Zuniga, Sally England, Rog Lucindo, Don Kisner

Contact and ask a couple of current or former colleagues to join FURA. Over 1,080 out of 2,532 retirees have joined. Contributions will be spent on legal fees, newsletter & communication expenses.

 

FURA’s Second News Letter

FURA WAS CREATED TO PROTECT ALL FUSD RETIREES

The Fresno Unified Retirees’ Association was created in the fall of 2004 by former classified and certificated employees of the District to preserve retirees District paid retirement health benefits.

The Association was formed to represent all retirees who served the District as classified employees, certificated employees, including confidential, supervisory and managerial employees.

WE NEED YOUR HELP!

How can you help preserve retiree’s health benefits?

  • Contact five retired or soon to be retired colleagues and ask them to join and support FURA.
  • Write letters to the FUSD school Board, new Supt., the Fresno Bee and FTA or your negotiating body. Remind them all of your years of service and your commitment to your students and the whole Fresno Community.

IMPACT OF FUSD & FTA TENTATIVE AGREEMENT

FUSD will FREEZE what the district pays for retirees’ health benefits. The plan: spend no more money on health benefits for retirees that what was spent in the previous year (2004-05). So, with more retirees joining our ranks and with increasing health care costs, the negotiated monthly premium will increase forever. Just look at our Clovis Unified colleagues. Their negotiated monthly premium skyrocketed this next year to 140% because of the FREEZE or CAP that Clovis Unified put on retiree health funds.

  • FUSD will pass health care cost on to retirees.
  • Retirees younger than 65 will pay monthly, $30.00 self, $70 for self/spouse plus, a $10 monthly “health plan fee”.
  • Retirees between ages 65 and 75 would pay $10 a monthly for every covered family member Retirees over 75 –no change. At least at not at this time.
  • Annual deductible $100 individuals, $200 family.
  • Plus co-pays
  • Add in Medicare premiums to the above to realize the “total costs.”

WHAT HAS FURA DONE FOR RETIREES SO FAR?

  • FURA has retained Robt. J. Bezemek, attorney at law. He won lawsuits for retirees against districts that reneged on promised health benefits.
  • FURA has maintained that the 1977 FUSD policy promising paid retiree health benefits is a contractual promise.
  • FURA has maintained that the FUSD promised to be responsible for the cost of the health plan. And now FUSD wants to break that promise and shift that cost to retirees.
  • FURA has maintained that FUSD retirees have a right to paid health insurance benefits and once a promise is made, it cannot be disregarded by FUSD without violating the Constitution.
  • FURA has maintained that nowhere did FUSD reserve the right to demand payment of premiums by retirees.
  • FURA has maintained that retirees have not waived their rights by executing a retirement form. The form was executed without informed consent and FUSD was deceptive and coercive by saying, “sign on the second page”.
  • Most of us never had a chance to read the fine print and no one from risk management explained the contents.

WE HAVE TWO CHOICES:

  1. Roll over and let FUSD charge us premiums and health plan fees and watch the fees rise in the years to come.
  2. Take a stand and fight. Take this issue to court and win maintenance of our promised lifetime vested health benefits earned through decades of faithful and dedicated service to the children of FUSD.

Help raise the $125,000.00 necessary for this legal fight. FUSD Superintendent, his advisors and Board members believed that retiree rights could be ignored and retirees would do nothing, that they (WE) could not become organized and take them to court if necessary. 527 of your colleagues have donated money to pay for the lawyer’s fees. There are over 5000 FUSD retirees. YOU need all of YOU to financially support this effort so that TOGETHER we will be successful and preserve our vested benefits for ALL OF US!

FURA attorney, Robt. J. Bezemek came to Fresno on June 13 and 14 and interviewed more than twenty individuals including the former superintendent, associate superintendents, board members and teacher negotiators from the 1977 agreement. The information was invaluable as we proceed with our legal case against Fresno Unified School District.

FALL GENERAL MEETING TO BE ANNOUNCED

When we know what the FUSD and FTA agreement really is we will be able to respond to it rather than to what might be. We will get out a special mailer.

Do I have to get my prescriptions filled at Walgrens?

NO, you can still use your current and/or independent pharmacy, researched by Winton Pharmacy

WEB SITE HAS A WEB MASTER

Posted on the web site will be newsletters, Fresno Bee articles, copies of other communications and updates.

Thank you to web master Don Kisner for volunteering.

CHECK US OUT—- www.fura-fusd.org

FURA IS WORKING FOR YOU!

Did you know that Education Code 7000-7008 allows retirees to purchase dental, vision, life insurance beyond the l8th month COBRA period? If you are interested in purchasing insurance, contact

WE ARE LOOKING FOR

<> A NEWSLETTER EDITOR

<>TELEPHONE TREE VOLUNTEERS

WE KNOW YOU ARE OUT THERE BUT YOU NEED TO TELL US WHO YOU ARE!

Write to:

Carol Sarkesian C/o FURA
P O BOX 1717
Clovis CA 93613-1717

  • Send your contribution to Treasurer, FURA, PO Box 1717, Clovis, CA 93613-1717. Make your check payable to Fresno Unified Retirees’ Association. FURA is not a non-profit at this time but we should have non-profit status by 2006.
  • Keep reading The Bee and check the district website often. Join your fellow retirees and protect your vested rights.

FURA
P. O. Box 1717
Clovis, CA 93613-1717