Category Archives: Newsletters

Mark Your Calendars for Two Important Court Dates:

September 24, 2009 (This has been rescheduled for October 6.) – 3:30 p.m., Fresno County Civil Court House, Tuolumne and M Streets, Fresno, California.

Honorable Donald R. Franson, Jr.

This hearing has been scheduled by the Court to discuss the process of class certification.

December 18, 2009 (This date will be changed! Check back for an update.) – 9:00 a.m., Fresno County Civil Court House, Tuolumne and M Streets, Fresno, California.

Honorable Donald R. Franson, Jr.

This hearing is the trial and we need at least 200 people to attend. Plan to arrive early. We need the courtroom filled with retirees.

Join Your Retired Colleagues!

Come to the trial and support our legal team in our fight for district paid health benefits.

If you truly value your health benefits, circle your calendar for December 18th, 2009, 9:00 a.m. Fresno County Civil Court House on Tuolumne and M Streets.

  • Don’t continue to allow others to fight for your benefits, alone.
  • Take a stand for fairness and respect.
  • Organize a car pool to drive to the court house.
  • Bring friends, family.
  • We’re all in this together.

A show of solidarity is extremely important. Share the news with other retirees you know.

Non-Profit Status

We have non-profit status in the state of California. So you may deduct this year’s donation on your state income tax. We await authorization from the federal government to be treated as non-profit on the fed income tax. Been working on getting non-profit status from both the state and IRS for weeks. Hope this will be completed soon.

by Barbara Thomas

Motion for Class Certification Granted and Motion for Writ of Mandate Filed

I am pleased to report that on August 26, 2009, the Superior Court granted FURA’s Motion for Class Certification, rejecting the District’s opposition. In its Order the Court approved the definition of the Class, appointed the Class Representatives, and ordered FURA and the District to confer on how best to notify class members of this ruling and other matters. The Court ruled that the class representatives have claims “typical” of the Class, and that they have the necessary background to represent the interests of the Class members. Our law firm was appointed as Class legal counsel. The Court ruled that common questions of law and fact predominate in the case. A court hearing is set for September 24, 2009 (This date has been rescheduled for October 6) at 3:30 p.m. to discuss issues such as how to notify the Class of the Court’s ruling.

I also am pleased to confirm that on August 31, 2009 our office filed the Motion for Writ of Mandate, asking the Court to order restoration of promised, lifetime benefits without premiums or fees. We submitted sworn declarations from 39 witnesses, and deposition testimony from 8 more. Thousands of pages of evidence were presented, along with a 25 page Index of Evidence and a memorandum of legal argument. We argue that the evidence shows that 3,500 retirees earned and were assured this benefit for decades.

The evidence includes statements from former superintendents, former district and union negotiators, recruiters, employees who conducted orientations or processed retirements, and others. Many documents were included which refer to the district being responsible for paying retirees’ premiums, for life, once they reached age 57 ½, including district statements like this one: “Fresno USD is one of a small number of school districts that provide fully paid health benefits for retired employees, their spouses and dependents for life.” (Made by the District in 2002 during the PERB Fact-Finding Process). Please see the Index of Evidence and our argument if you would like a better understanding of what we filed.

The District has until October 31, 2009 to file a response, and FURA is allowed until November 30 to file a reply. The court hearing is scheduled for December 18 at 9:00 a.m.

by Robert J. Bezemek

UPDATE ON OUR LEGAL CASE

FURA’s lawsuit was filed on September 15, 2006. Since then the District has engaged in a series of efforts at delay, by filing spurious “demurrers,” by delays in responding to FURA’s discovery requests, and most recently by filing a meritless motion to disqualify our firm as counsel for FURA. Although each District tactic resulted in failure, they have delayed the case by at least 12 months. These are the next steps: filing a Motion for Class Certification, which will ensure that all eligible retirees are covered by the lawsuit, followed by a Motion for a writ of mandate. The later motion should resolve the merits of the case.

The District’s Motion to Disqualify was particularly egregious. It was based on these facts: The District had served “discovery” demands on FURA and its leadership asking various questions about FURA’s lawsuit. One question asked FURA and certain retirees for every reason forming the basis of their knowledge that the District is required to provide retirees with lifetime, District-paid premiums. Among the information forming this basis of knowledge was a document which the District claimed was protected by the District’s attorney-client privilege.

Under the rules of discovery, FURA members were required to disclose that they had this information, since the District’s question specifically asked for every reason forming the basis of their knowledge. Ironically, the District already knew that some FURA members knew about this document.

Once the FURA members confirmed their knowledge of this document in their discovery responses, as required by the District’s own question, the District argued that this was grounds to disqualify us from representing FURA. The District’s contradictory and fallacious argument was that (1) FURA members could not tell us, their own lawyers, everything they knew; and, (2) that once we were told by the retirees about this document, we should not have included it in the retirees’ discovery answers.

Of course, the retirees’ answers were not ours to censor – everything the retirees knew had to be disclosed, or they would have presented incomplete and false answers to the District’s questions. Had the retirees knowingly omitted the requested information, they could have been sanctioned for perjury. But by including it in their answers, the District argued that the retirees’ lawyers (our firm) should be disqualified, because now we knew the retirees possessed “confidential” information. Taken to its logical conclusion, once the retirees’ told any lawyer what they knew, then the District would argue that the retirees’ lawyers must be disqualified. In other words, the retirees could never have lawyers, because every time it might try to consult with counsel or fully answer the District’s discovery, its lawyer would be “exposed” to the “confidential” information.

The information in question was included within a document possessed by a retiree. The second irony is that we, FURA’s lawyers, never saw this document. Instead, we arranged for the sealed transmittal of this document to the District’s lawyers, without our ever having seen the document. We then offered to allow the District a “protective order,” sealing the document from use during the case – not that FURA even had any need for this document in the first place. The District refused our offer, because it wanted us disqualified.

We argued in our court papers that the retirees had a legal right to provide full and complete answers to the District’s questions, and that the retirees had a similar right to tell us, their lawyers, everything they knew. Recently, the Court ruled in our favor and denied the district’s Motion on all grounds, finding that (1) FURA members can provide their attorneys with any information they might have; and (2) FURA and its counsel acted entirely properly in including the information in the discovery responses. A copy of the court ruling is posted on the FURA website.

We will be in touch with many of you as we prepare the pleadings to file our motions in court.

Robert J. Bezemek, attorney at law

LOS ANGELES RETIREES ARE IN JEOPARDY OF LOSING PREMIUM FREE HEALTH BENEFITS

LA Retirees have contacted FURA re: drastic changes to the LA retirees’ health benefits.

Retirees over the age of 65 will pay (1) monthly Medicare payment of approximately $97 per month (FUSD retirees have been paying this since 1992)

LA retirees who are age 65 and above will now pay $300 per month plus the $97 Medicare charge IF the retiree wants to retain a PPO plan (where you may choose your doctors and health care providers). If the retiree cannot afford the $300 per month, then the retiree must sign up for Kaiser HMO and LAUSD will cover the HMO charge.

LA retirees have informed FURA that this will create a great hardship on all retirees over 65 who have relied on past LA USD Board of Education promises and contracts.

LA retiree associations are considering hiring an attorney and are following up with meetings with the LA USD Union Health Benefits Committee. Those of us who retired from FUSD must keep our retiree association active, viable, and visible. If you haven’t contributed to FURA’s legal defense fund, please do so now. If you have contributed before, please do so again. Look what happened in LA.

Carole Sarkisian

NEXT COURT HEARING

The next court hearing in Fresno County Superior Court will be January l5, 2009, at 3:30 p.m. The case management conference will be held in the new Fresno County Superior Court Civil Courthouse on Tuolumne Street (the site of the former Casa Blanca Banquet Hall). Get there early to get a seat. Last time the court arranged for an expected overflow crowd to be seated in an adjacent courtroom with speakers to hear the FURA case. The hearing will be held in the Honorable Donald R. Franson’s Courtroom.

LITIGATION IS EXPENSIVE

TIME TO CONTRIBUTE TO FURA. FURA members have been very generous in the past but the delays by FUSD attorneys have cost FURA time and money. Remember, FURA donations are only used for the newsletters and for attorney fees. Please write a check to FURA as we begin the new year.

PLEASE SEND YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO:

Fresno Unified Retirees’ Association at PO Box 1717, Clovis, California 93613.

FURA GENERAL MEETING

FURA General Membership Meeting will be held on Thursday, January l5, 2009, at 10:30 a.m. at the Fresno Retired Teacher Hall (CRTA Building) on Saginaw Way in Fresno.

WHO: All FURA members.

WHAT: Annual meeting

WHERE: Fresno CRTA building on Saginaw Way.

WHEN: January l5, 2009.

TIME: 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

AGENDA: Status of the Lawsuit Robert J. Bezemek, FURA attorney.

David Conway, FURA attorney.

Next Court Hearing (January l5, 2009, 3:30).

Status of the LAUSD retirees’ health benefits.

Questions/Answers.

Treasurer’s Report.

FURA WINS THIS ROUND IN COURT

On February l4, 2008, FURA’s attorney, Robert J. Bezemek of Oakland, presented oral arguments before the Honorable Donald Franson, Jr., re: the District’s second demurrer request to have FURA’s lawsuit dismissed.

For those present on February 14, there was a lively oral presentation by both lawyers.

On March 20, Judge Franson issued his Order rejecting (overruling) the District’s second demurrer. This means that the case proceeds forward for a decision on the merits. The Judge ruled for FURA on each of the six points contained in FURA’s response to the District’s filings. The Judge concluded that FURA had properly alleged the following grounds: impairment of contract, equitable and promissory estoppel, abuse of discretion, breach of fiduciary duty, and declaratory judgment. The Judge also ruled that the case could proceed as a petition for writ of mandate, and that the mandate action on contract impairment would be heard before other theories. The judge rejected the District’s motion for monetary sanctions.

In the ruling, Judge Franson ordered the District to file an Answer to the lawsuit within 10 days. He also scheduled a case management meeting in April to calendar dates for subsequent events.

FURA’s attorneys are busy with discovery, and responding to the District’s discovery. In addition, the next major event is likely to be the continuation of depositions of district officials, and preparation of a Motion for Class Certification. After that, we will be heading for a hearing on the merits of the case. We will keep you advised of events as they unfold.

AN EXCERPT FROM THE JUDGE’S ORDER

“The matter having been under advisement, the Court rules as follows: The court has considered the oral argument of counsel, reconsidered the authorities cited by both parties and concludes that mandamus is an appropriate avenue to determine Petitioner’s claims. There is ample case authority to support this conclusion, beginning with Kern v. Long Beach (1947) 29 Cal.2d 48. Each of the elements necessary to an ordinary Writ of Mandate under CCP sections 1085 and 1086 have been adequately plead.

The demurrers to the second amended petition/complaint by Respondents/ Defendants are overruled. Respondents/Defendants are granted 10 days to answer. The time to answer will run from service by the clerk of this minute order. The request for sanctions is denied.

Trial of the writ of mandate shall proceed first. …”

WE NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT!

The lawsuit to protect our lifetime health benefits continues to be an expensive endeavor both in the amount of time and the amount of money required to see it to a successful conclusion. Please take the time to contribute to our legal defense fund again. Of the nearly 3000 retirees, about two-thirds of us have made some kind of financial support. Remember the lawsuit is to protect the benefits of ALL retirees. Please do what you can to support our common cause. Don’t forget that all donations go towards our legal expenses and our newsletters.

PLEASE SEND YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO:

Fresno Unified Retirees’ Association at PO Box 1717, Clovis, California 93613.

UPDATE ON OUR LEGAL CASE

FROM FURA ATTORNEY ROBERT J. BEZEMEK

Dear FURA members,

On October 4, 2007, we filed a Second Amended Petition for Writ of Mandamus, demanding that the District cease charging premiums, and reimbursing retirees who have been charged premiums in violation of the contractual promise of District-paid retirement health benefits. We also filed a legal argument (brief) in conjunction with the lawsuit, laying out the legal authority to sue. In response, the District again filed a demurrer, which is a legal challenge, not a factual challenge, to the lawsuit. All of these filings are available to view on the FURA website. Meanwhile, a new judge was assigned, Donald Franson. We will return to court on February 5, 2008 in Department 34 at 3:30 pm. Please watch the FURA website for updated information about the time and place of the hearing, as these are always subject to change. Meanwhile, retiree health benefits remains a hot topic around the State, and retirees in some other counties have initiated actions to protect their benefits. Stay tuned for more information.

LITIGATION IS EXPENSIVE

TIME TO CONTRIBUTE TO FURA

Litigation is a long, expensive process but we knew that when we filed against FUSD to preserve and protect our lifetime health benefits. With the start of this new year, please take the time to contribute to our legal defense fund again. Remember, all donations go towards our legal expenses and our newsletters. Unfortunately, the offer to print our newsletters (as explained in our last newsletter) by the Retired Public Employees Association did not materialize.

PLEASE SEND YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO:

Fresno Unified Retirees’ Association at PO Box 1717, Clovis, California 93613.

FURA may not continue to send the newsletters to all 2,983 retirees. There has been discussion that only those who contribute (nearly 1,900 of us) should receive the newsletter. It’s the old story of the church potluck: nearly everyone brings something to share but some come with only an appetite. Please do your part and contribute to YOUR cause. We’re all in this together.

O REMEMBER THIS DATE

February 5, 2008

3:30 pm

Department 34

Court date for the oral arguments

regarding the district’s second demurrer.

O PLEASE NOTE

There always remains the possibility that the Court may change

the day and time of the hearing.

Check the FURA website for

updates.

WHO PROMISED YOU FREE, LIFETIME HEALTH BENEFITS?

FURA wants to hear from you.

1. Who told you about free, lifetime health benefits upon your retirement?

2. Were you told when you were hired? When you retired?

Please send us your comments to either the FURA PO Box at PO Box 1717 Clovis, California, 93713-1717 or email FURA President Carole Sarkisian-Bonard at czsarki45@aol.com

Dear FURA members

As we continue with our litigation with Fresno Unified School District, every dollar saved in our treasury will go towards our legal defense fund. FURA Steering Committee members met with the President of the Long Beach Chapter of the Retired Public Employees Association (chapter #25) on Thursday, August 23, 2007. Jim Spaulding, President of the Long Beach RPEA chapter, believes in our struggle and volunteered to include FURA newsletters at no charge to FURA with the Long Beach chapter’s quarterly newsletters.

RPEA is a statewide organization with dozens of chapters. In fact, Fresno has a chapter which meets the second Wednesday of each month (except for July and August) at Pardini’s on West Shaw and Van Ness at ll:30 a.m. RPEA’s mission is to protect retirement benefits (check out their website at http://www.rpea.com). RPEA membership represents retired California public employees who work together to maintain and improve the quality of the lives of its members by protecting and improving retirement and medical benefits.

FURA encourages all FUSD retirees to join RPEA. (An enrollment form will appear in the September Newsletter.) If you’re interested in attending the next Fresno RPEA meeting on September 12, 2007, please contact FURA steering committee member Joan Jack at 432-8262 no later than Friday, September 7. Lunch cost is $10 payable at the door but reservations are required.

Remember: the next FURA newsletter will be included with the Long Beach RPEA chapter’s newsletter. Important information regarding Judge Mark Snauffer’s decision on the district’s motion to dismiss our case will be included in that newsletter.

Look for the RPEA Long Beach newsletter in September. Newsletters cost FURA over $l,000 each time we publish and RPEA Long Beach’s generosity is much appreciated.

Don’t forget to call five FUSD retirees and ask for a donation to FURA. Litigation is expensive.

Please send whatever you can.
Aim for the minimum $100. 00/year to:

FURA
P O BOX 1717
CLOVIS, CA 93613-1717

FUSD HEARING MARCH 27, 2007

FURA’s attorney, Robert J. Bezemek and his legal assistant, Almira Maronne, had a very productive visit to Fresno January 29 – 30, 2007. Many thanks to FURA members and to the many witnesses who met with our legal team to share their insights and knowledge regarding the District’s promise to retirees of premium- free lifetime health benefits. The more facts and information we gather, the more confident we are in our legal position. The legal team also met with the FURA steering committee, which heard a detailed report on what is happening and about to happen in court and the legal discovery process.

STATUS OF CASE

Our legal team filed an Amended Petition for Writ of Mandate on December 27, 2006. A Petition for Writ of Mandate differs from a typical civil complaint in that it asks the court to render a decision based solely on the pleadings and supporting evidence filed, rather than on live testimony. Courts have held that writ of mandate is a proper forum to enforce promises to pay retiree benefits. Due to the large number of witnesses, 30 years of collective bargaining agreements and other statements made by the District concerning its promise, a writ of mandate is a much more efficient way to proceed with the case.

In response to our Petition, the District filed a Demurrer on February 7, 2007. A demurrer is a legal challenge to the theory behind the case. It is not permitted to dispute the factual basis of the lawsuit. The court decides whether, if all we allege is true, the Petition states a valid claim. Defendants often “demur” to a lawsuit as a stalling tactic, even when they have little or no chance of prevailing. Our opposition to the demurrer is due March l4, 2007, and the judge will hear the case on March 27, 2007. It is a public hearing, and FURA members are encouraged to attend. The hearing is scheduled for 3:30 pm in Dept. 22 of the Fresno County Superior Court.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

FURA Public Hearing; March 27, 2007; 3:30 pm

Department 22 of Fresno County Superior Court

When deciding a demurrer, the judge can do one of three things:

1. Overrule the demurrer (denying it outright and compelling the District to answer the Petition).

2. Sustain the demurrer (throwing out the lawsuit).

3. Or, sustain the demurrer with leave to amend (i.e. Granting some legitimacy to the demurrer, but offering a chance to amend the lawsuit). We are confident the judge will find in our favor regarding the demurrer, after which time the District will have to formally answer the petition.

NEXT STAGE OF THE CASE

The next stage of the case is called “discovery.” This is a formal investigative phase of the lawsuit, in which the parties exchange information and documents and depose each others’ witnesses. FURA depositions of the District’s key witnesses will commence following the demurrer hearing. FUR A attorneys have already begun discovery by issuing a written demand for many documents which they believe will lead to or, will provide useful evidence supporting our case. The attorneys will be counting on FURA members to assist them in identifying and locating key documents since many of the documents in question were filed away before most of the current District staff were even hired.

FURA NEEDS YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!

Litigation is expensive – 100’s of interviews & depositions, Hours and hours of research, Travel time and expenses, preparation of documents and letters, conferences with opposition, Preparation of two previous complaints, and on-going expenses as long as the case continues. It won’t continue without your support. Over 95% of monies collected pays for FURA legal fees at $3000 a month.

Newsletters are expensive It costs close to $1,000 per newsletter to over 2400 retirees. Postage alone is over $600.

We have collected nearly $120,000, but FURA needs more to continue. There is $8,000 left and more legal fees to come.4. Contact five or more fellow retirees and encourage them to make another $100 contribution in 2007 or what they can afford each month. Even sending $10-25.00 a month would help a great deal .FURA is making real progress, but in order to prevail, further financial support is needed for the long term. We, FURA, will only prevail if we are strong, determined and persevere.

SEND WHAT YOU CAN AFFORD to:

FURA

BOX 1717

CLOVIS, CA 93613-1717

FURA’S HISTORY

On Friday, September 15, 2006, FURA”s attorney, Robert J Bezemek of Oakland filed a lawsuit against the FUSD in Fresno County Superior Court. Mr. Bezemek’s firm has represented scores of labor unions which prevailed in several public school retiree health benefit case over the past 20 years.

FURA was formed in November, 2004 to preserve and protect promised FUSD retirees’ health benefits. FUSD imposed premium charges and “health assessment charges” in May of 2006 to offset the unfunded liability of the retirees. They did this after keeping their promise for nearly 30 years. FURA has long hoped to avoid litigation with FUSD over the issue of charging retirees for LIFE LONG health care benefits. This lawsuit comes after years of stonewalling by FUSD, during which time, FURA and its attorneys made numerous overtures to District representatives, the Board of Education, and the current superintendent to resolve the matter, all to NO AVAIL.

For 28 years, FUSD promised, and delivered, District-paid health benefits to retirees as a form of “deferred compensation,” (i.e., in exchange for accepting below market wages), An arrangement NOT UNIQUE to FUSD but was, in fact, a common practice in school districts across California. Suddenly, FUSD stated in letters to retirees that if they failed to pay premium charges for three months, the District would revoke the retirees’ health benefit coverage. The current premium charges are for those 75 years of age and younger but those 75 and older are not off the hook. The District’s Joint Management Health Board has ultimate authority over ALL retirees and rates can be changed at any time without Board of Education approval. Moreover, the Joint Healthcare Management Board (JHMB) reserves the right to assess all retirees when halth plan charges exceed the health budget by an arbitrary 3%.

With an operating budget of nearly $1 billion and boasting of a healthy reserve of 4.3% (Fresno Bee, 9/14/06), FUSD apparently believes that premiums, fees and assessments must be charged because of “budget constraints?” But wages for active employees were actually increased the same year of the assessment. And the District is proposing another 5% pay increase this year? Did retirees contribute to those 5% raises?

California and the Federal Courts have declared for decades that vested compensation is protected from impairment and guaranteed by the Constitution. Lifetime health benefits are no longer offered in FUSD for all new hires after July 1, 2006? The reality is that gouging the deferred compensation of District retirees (all of us on fixed incomes) will have little impact on FUSD’s budget. All of our 65-and-over retirees are on Medicare and FUSD picks up only 20% and the cost of pharmaceuticals.

Our lawsuit seeks to require the District to honor its promise to all of us…and repay us the amounts that have been taken so far, and more importantly, to forbid FUSD from assessing premiums in the future.

SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why were two governmental claims filed with FUSD before the lawsuit on September l5, 2006? Governmental claims are required by California law prior to filing the lawsuit.

Who is FURA’s attorney? Robert J. Bezemek is an experienced labor lawyer who has successfully represented many entities in vested retiree health benefit plans.

What can I do to help? Call five friends and ask each to contribute to our legal defense fund. Attend the March 27, 2007, court hearing in Department 22 of Fresno County Superior Court at 3:30 pm and pack the court room. Write letters to the FUSD board members (go online to www.fresno.k12.ca.us and click on about us and then click on board of education). Go to a Board meeting and during unscheduled oral communication share with the board your frustration and anger.

How long will this litigation take? Unfortunately, real life lawsuits don’t end in an hour as we often see on TV. This case could go on for several years–it’s up to FUSD Board of Education to instruct its legal team not to stall

Why should I keep track of my monthly payments for the health insurance premium and health fee assessment? When FURA prevails in court, retirees will receive the money plus interest. That’s the law.

Am I required to have STRS or PERS do the automatic monthly deduction? NO. It is voluntary.

NOTE

FURA’s Bylaws will be on our Website soon: http://www.fura-fusd.org

FURA’S Attorney Bezemek Reports Proper Legal Strategy Used

By Robert J. Bezemek

Preparations continue for the filing in court of our opposition to the District’s demurrer. A recent decision of the California PERB reaffirms the legal theories we advance for FURA. In El Centro Elementary School District, PERB Dec. No. 1863, 31 PERC 10 (2006) the Teachers’ Association filed charges with PERB, alleging that the District unilaterally imposed fees on retired teachers, without negotiating with the Union which had represented them when they worked for the District. PERB dismissed the case, ruling that there was no unfair labor practice, “Nor does CTA’s status as an exclusive representative extend to include retirees … As such, PERB does not have jurisdiction” over retirees.” 31 PERC at pp. 20-21. In other words, the CTA chapter did not represent retirees.

PERB relied on a Supreme Court decision holding that while employers and unions could permissively negotiate to improve retirees benefits, vested pension rights cannot be bargained away by unions because “Under established contract principles, vested retirement rights may not be altered without the pensioner’s consent.” Allied Chemical and Alkali Workers v. Pittsburgh Plate Glass Co. (1971) 404 U.S. 157, 181, n. 20. In its ruling PERB added that an action could be filed in court on behalf of the retirees for breach of contract. California law holds that the proper way to enforce contractually-promised retiree benefits is through a petition for writ of mandamus, which we have brought on behalf of FURA.

Preparations continue for the filing in court of our opposition to the District’s demurrer. A recent decision of the California PERB reaffirms the legal theories we advance for FURA. In El Centro Elementary School District, PERB Dec. No. 1863, 31 PERC 10 (2006) the Teachers’ Association filed charges with PERB, alleging that the District unilaterally imposed fees on retired teachers, without negotiating with the Union which had represented them when they worked for the District. PERB dismissed the case, ruling that there was no unfair labor practice, “Nor does CTA’s status as an exclusive representative extend to include retirees … As such, PERB does not have jurisdiction” over retirees.” 31 PERC at pp. 20-21. In other words, the CTA chapter did not represent retirees.

FURA STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBERS:

Carole Sarkisian-Bonard, Boyd Cline, Melinda Homola, Barbara Thomas, Vivienne Oxley, Joan Jack, Glen Rathwick, Jerry Phillips, Chuck McAlexander, Lynn Freeman, Karin Larka, Robert Larka, Steve Deak, Rog Lucido, Don Kisner, Earlene Fiori, Sally England, Tony Zuniga, Pat Mitchell, Richard Daniels, newsletter editor.

<><><><><><><>

BE THERE!

FURA Public Hearing; March 27, 2007; 3:30 pm

Department 22 of Fresno County Superior Court

CLOVIS UNIFIED NOW CHARGES RETIREES HEALTH CARE PREMIUMS!

In June of 2006 Clovis Unified proposed the following schedule for their Retirees’ Health Care Premiums. This was the same information reported at the Hoover FURA Meeting last summer but in more detail. What is most disturbing is that FUSD’s Joint Healthcare Management Board (JHMB) will require all employees to contribute to the plan if their budget expenses are exceeded by 3% of their projections: whereas Clovis’ limit was 10%! Don’t forget they paid nothing in 2000…

Retiree Classification

05/06 Rate

06/07 Rate

Single/w Medicare 65+

$98.99

$106.17

Single No Medicare

$200.50

$215.03

Married, one/w Medicare

$197.97

$212.32

Married no Medicare

$401.02

$430.09

Family, one/w Medicare

$297.58

$319.15

Family/w no Medicare

$601.51

$645.12

Retirees under 65 have no Medicare and would pay the higher rates. Obviously, we must continue our efforts or fall victim to this pattern of disrespect. <><><><><><><>

CONTRIBUTION INFORMATION – Please print.

Make your check payable to FURA and become a member. Join your fellow retirees in protecting your vested health benefits.

NAME ____________________________________________________ PHONE __________________

ADDRESS ______________________________________________________________________________________

CITY _______________________________ STATE ______ ZIP _______________

FIRST TIME CONTRIBUTOR? YES _____ NO _____

My check is enclosed, payable to FURA:

[ ] I’d like to help in some way [ ] telephone tree [ ] greeter at meetings [ ] other

<><><><><><><> MAIL YOUR CONTRIBUTION TO:

FURA
P O BOX 1717
CLOVIS CA 93613-1717

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT.

ALONE WE CAN BE DEFEATED– TOGETHER WE ARE INVINCIBLE!

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FRESNO UNIFIED RETIREES’ ASSOCIATION

P O BOX 1717

CLOVIS, CA 93613-1717

http://www.fura-fusd.org

FURA IS THE ONLY VOICE FOR ALL FRESNO UNIFIED RETIREES. FURA’S ONLY AGENDA IS TO PROTECT AND PRESERVE VESTED RETIREMENT HEALTH BENEFITS FOR ALL CLASSIFIED, CERTIFICATED, CONFIDENTIAL, SUPERVISORY AND MANAGEMENT RETIREES OF FRESNO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT BY PROVIDING SUPPORT AND INFORMATION.

FURA JULY GENERAL MEMEBERSHIP MEETING

(NOTE: Due to attorney/client privilege,
details of the attorney’s presentation will not be posted on the FURA website.)

Over 500 FUSD retirees attended the July llth, 2006, FURA General Membership Meeting held at Hoover High School. Meeting was called to order by Carole Sarkisian-Bonard, President of FURA. She opened the meeting by reading a letter from a FURA member who is experiencing great personal hardship with the assessment of health premiums. In her letter, the retiree states that the $210 monthly payment is causing tremendous hardship on her and is grateful for FURA’s mission to preserve and protect vested retiree rights.

Carole then introduced FURA’s attorney, Robert J. Bezemek. Mr. Bezemek reviewed the chronological history of the lifetime benefit and posted a large chart of all those whom he has interviewed including FTA negotiators and District administrators and Board members. After discussing the strengths and merits of the pending lawsuit against the district, Mr. Bezemek fielded questions from the membership.

Special Guest, John Follis, president of the Clovis Unified Retirees’ Association addressed the audience and provided a copy of a letter from the Clovis Unified School District enumerating monthly premiums for the 2006-2007 school year. Mr. Follis said that retirees did not pay any health premiums until the year 2000 and charges were around $98 per month. The average assessment six years later is around $599 per month.

Treasurer Barbara Thomas reviewed the printed materials distributed at the meeting including the following:

FUSD Trustee boundary areas: urged all FURA members to send letters and/or emails to board members regarding the injustice of the health premium assessment

Call to Action: a questionnaire was distributed urging FURA members to sign up for committees (e.g., calling retirees who have not joined FURA to do so; speaking at a Board meeting regarding the hardship of the monthly premium; writing letters to The Fresno Bee regarding the hardship)

Contributing more money to FURA for the lawsuit

Approval of the bylaws of FURA.

Glen Rathwick spoke to the group regarding the importance of joining FURA and continuing to contribute time and money for this all important cause.