Category Archives: Newsletters

FURA GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING

JULY 11 B 2:00 PM B HOOVER HIGH SCHOOL CAFETERIA

This meeting will provide an opportunity for FURA attorney Robert J. Bezemek to meet with the FURA membership regarding the lawsuit.

FUSD DENIES GOVERNMENTAL CLAIM

The Fresno Unified School District Board of Education voted unanimously on March 22, 2006 to DENY FURA= S GOVERNMENTAL CLAIM. This claim allowed the District an opportunity to discuss the premium charges with FURA, but the Board and the Superintendent eliminated any other alternative except a lawsuit with their denial. Neither the FUSD Board nor its Superintendent, Michael Hanson, offered any explanation regarding the denial of the 16 page claim for damages in violation of vested retiree health benefits. This was the precursor to our pending lawsuit.

WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP? – – Lawsuit to be filed this summer

As FURA has stated all along, the next step is filing a lawsuit against the District for violation of federal and state laws. FURA attorney, Robert J. Bezemek of Oakland, is NOW drafting the lawsuit, which will be filed in Fresno County Superior Court his summer.

FUSD SENDS OUT HEALTH BENEFITS BILLS AND PAYMENT SLIPS

As retirees, you have received bills and payment slips with the first health premium due by June 5, 2006. FURA attorney Bob Bezemek stated at our September 2005 meeting at Roosevelt High School, retirees must pay the premiums now or risk being dropped from the health plan. When FURA prevails in court with the lawsuit, the District will reimburse the retirees plus interest for the money paid. Retirees are urged to keep very careful documentation of health premium payments, i.e. record check number, amount paid and date paid, and/or keep cancelled checks or legible copy of checks. If your bank does not provide copies of checks, keep track of the information and/or copy the check before you mail it.

Many retirees have contacted FURA Steering Committee members for clarification of their bills. Some of the billed amounts do not reconcile with information provided to retirees in the District= s April 17, 2006 letter. Many FURA Steering Committee members are asking the same questions.

For example: I thought that the agreement between the bargaining units and the District, and reiterated in the District= s April 17th letter to me, stated that retirees under the age of 65 are to pay what current employees pay, plus a $10 per month health assessment reserve fee, and that those between the ages of 65 and 75 pay only $10 per month for the reserve fee. So why does my current bill from the District contradict that?

FURA= S response:

We do know that the District made good on its promise to bill retirees retroactively to July 2005.

We have no idea what formula was/is used to compute the bills, especially for those who turn 65 during the year, or turn 65 in June 2006.

We have no idea what formula was used to double and triple the bill of cross covered retirees (when both husband and wife are FUSD vested retirees).

One retiree who is under the age of 65 asked why she/he wasn= t receiving the SAME benefits as the active employees (i.e. vision/dental), in-as-much as the retiree is paying the SAME premium. Age discrimination?

If the Joint Health Management Board can double and triple the premiums for one segment of our retiree group, then think what this will lead to in the future for all the other retirees!!! THINK ABOUT IT!! The JHMB membership represents the District administration, FTA, SEIU, and CSEA. And don= t forget, the JHMB has COMPLETE authority and control over all retiree health benefits. The retirees have NEVER been invited to the table or consulted nor have had their limited finances been considered in any of the equations.

www.fresno.k12.ca.us. Send emails, letters and phone calls. Better yet, the Board of Education should HEAR directly from retirees during the twice monthly Board of Education meetings. The Board meets the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays at 5 pm in the Board Room at the Education Center on Tulare and M Streets. The portion of the meeting shortly after 5 pm for > unscheduled oral communication= may include retirees. We must be represented at EACH Board meeting to express our indignation. As retirees, we must be up-front and vocal at each meeting. Don= t shrug your shoulders and assume someone else will be there to do this. We= re all in this together. Be active B Take a turn. Call CAROL at 970-0615 and join our speaker= s bureau.

The JHMB has the power to change our health plan benefits, change our rates and charge additional fees if the health fund exceeds its budget by 3%. There are nearly 5,000 retirees and dependents and no one at FUSD will speak with us nor listen to us.

The FUSD Board of Education has allowed the JHMB to make all of the decisions about our health insurance, but the FUSD Board of Education has chosen not to vote on JHMB changes. They are still legally and fiduciarily responsible for all actions taken by JHMB. The FUSD Trustees have a legal and fiduciary responsibility to retirees, and to follow through with promises made to retirees by previous Boards.

ONLY A LAWSUIT WILL END THIS UNLAWFUL PRACTICE OF CHARGING HEALTH PREMIUMS TO RETIREES. Our colleagues across the state, including Richmond, Hollister, San Leandro and many others have been successful in court. NOW, it= s our turn.

The powers-that-be in the District are probably hoping that FURA will not file the lawsuit because of the financial costs of such a measure. Your past financial generosity is appreciated, but we= re asking more of you by checking old files, closets, boxes etc. and find items below as evidence in our lawsuit.

PLEASE CHECK YOUR OLD FILES AND CUPBOARDS B Spring cleaning in May

FURA= s attorney is asking for copies of the following:

Copies of the FTA chalk talk from 1975 B 1993.

Copies of bargaining notes from FTA, SEIU or CSEA from 1975 B 1993.

Copies of bargaining proposals from FTA, SEIU or CSEA from 1975 B 1993.

If you have any of these please send them to:

FURA
P O BOX 1717
CLOVIS CA 93613

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?

Contact your bargaining unit when you were employed at FUSD. Ask them why they sold retirees down the road when negotiating with FUSD. FUSD could not have changed retiree benefits if the bargaining units had not agreed.

HELP us with small expenses

Newsletters and receipts for donations are our second largest expense. If your check will suffice as a receipt let us know and we will save $ on paper, ink, envelopes and postage B it all adds up. FURA will save additional money on the paper, ink and postage of each newsletter/mailing by SENDING THEM VIA EMAIL.

FINANCES B Litigation is inevitable and expensive

Your financial contributions are critical to ensure our success in preserving our vested retiree health benefits. The FURA Steering Committee speculates that the District will NOT resolve this issue as stated in the GOVERNMENTAL CLAIM with FURA, so please contribute again. FURA is still exploring non-profit tax exempt status, and when/if approved by IRS, your donation may be tax deductible. Future newsletters will inform you of our progress.

ACTIONS TO ENSURE ADEQUATE FUNDS FOR LEGAL REPRESENTATION

Send another check to FURA= S P O BOX 1717 CLOVIS CA 93613

Find two other retirees and ask them to support FURA and send a check.

Contact your past bargaining unit and ask them why they broke promises to retirees and why they aren= t actively working to protect retiree vested interests .

Write letters, call Board members and attend Board meetings to speak to this injustice. You= ve read the newspaper and heard the TV and radio news: the Governor= s budget has more money for education than ever before. The District= s CFO and Superintendent can not claim lack of funds this time around.

Join your fellow retirees in protecting your vested health benefits. In order to save on mailing costs I will on mail receipts to new members along with their membership card.

Your check reflects your donation.

FUSD HAS FINALLY DONE IT

  • They have unilaterally decided to illegally change our vested health benefits.
  • You should have received YOUR letter from FUSD stating this.
  • When you read it do not be lulled into thinking that ‘it’s not too bad’.
  • FUSD must be stopped by FURA now!! Otherwise we will have allowed FUSD to open the door to add any charges they want to make us pay in the future.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

  1. FURA has learned that thousands of names and addresses were incorrect. A letter from FUSD was delivered to our address on 23 Feb, 2006. It was NOT ADDRESSED TO BARBARA OR JOHN T THOMAS but to someone else at our address! If you have not received a letter from FUSD addressed to you by the time you receive this FURA letter, call the Benefits Office at 559-457-3520 or 807-0820 ext 1013 and demand a correct letter in your name and correctly addressed.
  2. AND THEN — IN THIS LETTER FROM FUSD They claim they HAVE NOT received approximately 1600 FUSD ELIGIBILITY VERIFICATION health plan forms. Call Benefits at this number and make sure they have your completed forms!! 559-457-3520 or 807-0820 ext 1013.
  3. AND — CALL 559-457-3520 or 807-0820 ext 1013 AND DEMAND THAT THE DISTRICT SEND YOU A COPY OF THE AGREEMENT THAT DEFINES HEALTH BENEFITS FOR RETIREES, SINCE RETIREES ARE NOT PRIVY TO FUSD COMMUNICATIONS TO OR FROM THE BARGAINING UNITS MEMBERS.

TO PAY OR NOT TO PAY

ALL FUSD retirees were advised by FURA attorney Robert J. Bezemek on September 25, 2005, to pay FUSD for health premiums and health plan assessments whenever the district decides to send out those bills retro-active to July l, 2005. Bezemek further stated that when FURA prevails in court, then all fees paid to the district will be reimbursed with interest.

OUR LAWYER IS REACTING

On February l6, 2006, FURA FILED ‘A GOVERNMENTAL CLAIM’ AGAINST FUSD to stop the District’s plan to charge retirees premiums and assessments for their retiree health benefits. THIS CLAIM IS A PRECURSOR TO A LAWSUIT. The Claim, however, allows the District an opportunity to resolve this issue with FURA without litigation.

THE RECAP

  • The District first promised in l977 that retirees who served sufficient service would receive district-paid retiree health benefits as part of their compensation. Here is an example of one such promise to FUSD retirees:
  • “District paid Health and Accident premiums for retirees will begin on or about June l, 1977 for employees retiring after June 10, 1976.”
  • These promises were made to certificated and classified employees and repeated year after year until NOW. After FUSD retirees qualify for Medicare, the District health plan covers the gap between what Medicare pays and the actual cost of the medical services provided.
  • More than 3,000 current retirees, and their spouses, relied on those promises and now receive their deferred compensation from the District in the form of retiree health benefits. This benefit was an integral part of our compensation as loyal employees, In fact, as the Claim explains, the District has in the past justified lower pay for its employees by pointing to the district-paid retiree health plan.
  • The plan recently created by the District makes the retirees pay for what was promised and earned by them before retirement and threatens to increase their future charges even more.
  • Our retiree health plan is hardly unique to FUSD but the District wants YOU and the community to believe otherwise. According to the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, 62% of districts contribute 100% of the premiums for retired employees under age 65 (reference is A Review of Potential Health Care Benefit Programs Provided by STRS, May 200l, pg 40).
  • The Constitutions of California and the United States treat promised deferred retirement benefits as vested rights, which cannot be impaired by school districts or other governmental agencies. These cases were brought to the District’s attention by FURA, but the District has chosen to ignore them in crafting its plan to now impose charges on retirees and by capping or freezing the health fund. The District wants retirees to ignore that we earned and depend on these benefits. There is no telling what retirees may be charged in the future, so FURA was formed to protect our rights.
  • Long ago a labor arbitrator wrote, “Men and women do not labor for chances on a roulette wheel and employers do not pay wages with lottery tickets.” The District has NO BUSINESS gambling with its retirees’ health benefits.

FURA HAS TRIED AND TRIED AND TRIED AGAIN TO WORK WITH FUSD BUT WITH NO RESPONSE FROM THE DISTRICT

What has FURA done to try to work with the District? Here is the timeline:

  1. November 22, 2004: 5 page letter from FURA attorney Robert J. Bezemek to Interim Superintendent Walt Buster.
  2. December 7, 2004: FURA board meets with incoming Interim Superintendent Chuck McCully
  3. January 10, 2005: FURA Steering committee members meet with Interim Superintendent Chuck McCully and Nancy Richardson, assistant to the superintendent.
  4. March 1, 2005: 8 page letter from FURA attorney Robert J. Bezemek to Ms Luisa Medina, President of the Board of Education; Mr. Charles McCully. Interim Superintendent and Mr. Gregory J. Dannis, Law Firm of Miller, Brown & Dannis (negotiations attorney for the District).
  5. July 7, 2005: 7 page letter from FURA attorney Robert J. Bezemek to the President and Members of the Board of Education.
  6. August 18, 2005: FURA Steering Committee met with FUSD Superintendent Michael E. Hanson and Labor Relations Administrator Eva Chavez.
  7. August l8, 2005: FURA Steering Committee asks FUSD Superintendent Hanson to allow FURA attorney to meet with the FUSD Board regarding vested retiree health benefits. No Response.
  8. August 24, 2005: FUSD Board of Education approves the agreement with the Fresno Teachers Association approving impairment of vested retiree health benefits.
  9. February l6, 2006: FURA files Governmental Claim against the District (see website for the entire l6 page claim: FURA-FUSD.org)

FURA TREASURER’S REPORT

Expenses to Date:

Attorney Fees =$ 73,702
Communication (mailings, meetings, email, web) = $21,745.
Donations to Date = $112,657.

Newsletters and receipts for donations are our second largest expense. If your check will suffice as a receipt let us know and we will not spend the 39 cents. Your financial contributions are critical to ensure our success in preserving our vested retiree health benefits. The FURA Steering Committee speculates that the District will NOT resolve this issue with FURA so please contribute again as litigation is inevitable and expensive. FURA is still exploring non profit, tax exempt status and when approved by the IRS, your donation may be tax deductible. Future newsletters will inform you of our progress.

NOW WHAT?

RETIREES ARE ASKING, “I PAID FOR LIFETIME HEALTH BENEFITS BEFORE RETIRING, WHY AM I BEING TOLD BY FUSD THAT I MUST PAY AGAIN ?” Since 1977, retirees have had life time health care without premiums or assessment but not any more! Now retirees are expected to bail out FUSD by paying for their pre-paid health benefits for the second time. Only “suckers” pay for the same thing twice and we ARE NOT SUCKERS! Why as retirees are we worried or concerned about having to pay twice for FUSD promised Health Insurance? We paid for it over and over again by giving up hard earned pay raises. Now FUSD wants retirees to pay again.

THE WORRY – ONCE FUSD STARTS CHARGING, RETIREES BECOME VULNERABLE FOR YEARLY INCREASES ALA CLOVIS UNIFIED!

NEW RULE # 1 FROM FUSD:

The Board approved agreement with FTA states the following, retroactive to July 2005:

  • Retirees up to age 65 are assessed: Retiree only $30 + $10 per month for “health plan assessment”
  • Retiree + children $40 + $10 per month for “health plan assessment”
  • Retiree + spouse $60 + $10 per month for “health plan assessment”
  • Retiree + family $70+ $10 per month for “health plan assessment”
  • If you are 65 – 75 you will be charged $10 per month, retroactive to July 2005 for the health plan assessment.
  • If you are over 75 you pay nothing — AT LEAST FOR THIS YEAR

NEW RULE # 2 FROM FUSD:

This year FUSD will provide a fixed dollar amount ( “freeze” or “cap”) on the district health budget for retirees. In the future these things will occur; the “freeze” will be the same as this year, medical costs climb, the number of retirees increase, individual retirees will have smaller and smaller pieces of the “cap” pie and will pay larger and larger “premiums”. A retiree will not be protected because of his or her age.

THE WORRY – IF WE ALLOW FUSD TO DO THIS TO US THIS YEAR, WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE? THE BOARD AND ADMINISTRATION HAVE NO LOYALTY TO RETIREES, NO INTEGRITY REGARDING PAST PROMISES MADE, AND NO COMPASSION REGARDING PAST FINANCIAL SACRIFICES MADE BY ALL RETIREES.

Today there are over 2500 retirees plus dependents for a total greater than 5000 individuals. The number of FUSD retirees will increase each year. As more FUSD retirees join us and the district’s financial contribution, the “cap”, remains the same, retirees will be expected to make up the difference by paying premiums and increased deductibles. Think of the “cap” as a pie. Today that pie is divided into, let’s say 5000 pieces, one for each of us, our spouse and dependents. Each of us wants to keep the same size piece of pie as long as we or our spouses or dependents are around. If more retirees are added, let’s say 200 a year then we have, in 2006-07, 5200 individuals. Now, the “cap” pie will be divided into 5200 pieces and each of us will get a smaller share that goes to pay for a smaller portion of our medical bills. Look on your FUSD Explanation of Benefits letters, there is a column that says “Plan Payment” and next to that “Patient Responsibility” Should the district’s plan succeed the columns, “Plan Payment” will decrease and “Patient Responsibility” will increase. In order for our portion of the pie to remain as it is now the district would have to increase the “cap” which it will not do. Remember FUSD and FTA started negotiations this past year with $100 + premium a month for retirees. They both backed off of this figure but left the door open for future increases by agreeing on the “cap”. When health costs exceed 3% then these costs will be passed on to retirees, immediately.

NEW RULE # 3 FROM FUSD:

For many years the FUSD Board of Education has had a hand in over seeing the health care of itÆs retirees, but not any more. The Board has abrogated its fiduciary responsibilities by delegating them to a Joint Health Management Board (JHMB).

JHMB IS IMPOWERED TO:

  1. change your current health benefits including doctor(s) that are now caring for you;
  2. change the Health Care provider, change to an HMO or the like;
  3. change what you now pay, zero dollars, to whatever they think is needed to cover the district budget.

There are two votes on this Board. One represents FUSD. One represents ALL bargaining units with FTA having 2/3 of the vote and the other four bargaining units having the other 1/3 of the vote. This arrangement is questionable, perhaps unworkable, and it fails to distribute bargaining power equitably. JHMB has complete authority over retiree health benefits.

THE WORRY – RETIREES HAVE NO REPRESENTATION ON THIS BOARD AND ARE AT THE MERCY OF THE TWO BARGAINING VOTES.

WHAT HAS FURA DONE THIS PAST YEAR?

FURA HAS:

  1. Engaged Robert Bezemek as the attorney to represent Fresno Retirees interests
  2. Met twice with Interim Superintendent, Chuck Mc Cully
  3. Met with Superintendent Mike Hanson, no consideration or follow through
  4. Sent three demand letters in recognition of retiree vested health benefits to FUSD Board of Education and Superintendent with copies to Fresno County Superintendent, Pete Mehas and FTA in November 2004, March 2005 and July 2005. No consideration or follow through.
  5. Offered to bring FURA attorney, Robert Bezemek, to Fresno to meet with FUSD Board of Education. No consideration and no response.

SO WHAT’S NEXT??

Since FUSD Board and administration will not respond to legitimate concerns, a legal option will be used in order to maintain our vested retiree health benefits and get their attention.

On September 27, 2005 at the FURA General Membership Meeting held at Roosevelt Auditorium with our attorney Robert Bezemek, a motion was made to proceed with appropriate court action and sustained by a unanimous hand vote by over 600 FURA members. We will let a judge decide our fate.

FURA has the best labor attorney in California and he is ready to present and argue our position in court. Robert Bezemek has represented other retirees in suits against school districts and won. His position is that, a promise is a promise. A deal is a deal. A contract is a contract. We taught our students that the United States is a land of laws. Boards changing vested retiree health benefits is in violation of our country’s Constitution as well as the Constitution of California.

WHY DO YOU THINK WE CALLED IT LIFETIME?

A FURA member who was negotiator at the bargaining table in 1976-77 when the lifetime health benefit became a reality said, “Why do you think we called it lifetime benefits?” A fundamental principal behind FURA’s efforts to protect and preserve retiree benefits is the concept that retiree benefits were earned by foregoing pay raises. A retiree should reasonably expect that he or she is entitled to promised benefits as compensation for work performed on behalf of FUSD and that the promised retiree benefits will be provided regardless of FUSD’s budget woes. This is the law in California.

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

GENEROUS CONTRIBUTIONS BY FURA MEMBERS HAVE SUPPORTED OUR EFFORTS TO THIS POINT. WE HAVE COLLECTED HALF OF THE MONEY WE NEED. WE ARE GRATEFUL TO ALL OF YOU THAT HAVE DONATED BUT WE ARE ASKING YOU FOR AN ADDITIONAL MINIMUM DONATION OF $100.00.

  • Contributions are spent only on legal costs of the pending law suit, newsletters, and communication. FURA volunteers do every thing else.
  • FURA has applied for non profit status so contributions will be tax exempt. We will keep you posted as soon as we know more.
  • Contact your colleagues and ask them to join and support FURAÆs efforts.
  • FURA web site is FURA-FUSD.ORG
  • Pass the newsletter along to friends at church, social gatherings and clubs.

If you are between 65 and 75 don’t sit back and say, “It’s only $10.00”. FUSD (the wolf) has it’s foot in the door and we must act NOW to stop the huffing, puffing and increase in retiree health costs imposed by the wolf (in sheep’s clothing known as JHMB) .

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

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.

 

ATTEND DISTRICT RATIFICATION MEETINGS

There is going to be a set of ratification meetings from July 11 to July 19 for the FTA board to answer questions about the tentative FTA/FUSD agreement. It would be a good idea for FURA membership to have a presence there to express our challenge to this tentative agreement. At least some of the FTA membership could see what impact it will have on retirees and eventually some of them as they approach retirement. It could change votes. Press coverage is a possibility.

July 11 — CTA office (In the same parking lot as the Barstow branch of EECU) at 4pm

July 13 — Roosevelt HS (probably the library) at 10am

July 19 — Fresno HS library at 4pm

Key issues to address

  • Document RETIREE HEALTH BENEFITS we signed at retirement states “No monthly premiums required after age 57 ½ for medical only.” There is no reference to the Plan Document.
  • Many retirees made their decision to retire based on this medical insurance guarantee.
  • The proposed differentiation between post and pre-65 retirees is nothing less than age discrimination. Retirees are already required, by the Plan under which we retired, to apply and join Medicare parts A and B at 65.
  • Neither FTA nor FUSD contacted all affected retirees for input into this agreement.
  • FTA is not a contracted bargaining unit for retirees. We do not pay dues. We cannot vote. As they do not have the power to increase our retirement allotment, they also do not have the power to bargain away a legally binding promise. FURA has retained counsel to address this issue.
  • Retirees are not represented on the proposed Joint Health Management Board as proposed in the tentative agreement (pick a copy of the tentative agreement at the FTA office).
  • Retirees are on a fixed income. Their lifestyle is based on some degree of constancy in monthly income and outgo. The proposed agreement indicates that if the Health Fund initial allocation is under-funded (employees and retirees have more health costs than budgeted) our monthly premiums, co-pays and/or deductibles will increase to pay for this shortfall. This increase could be catastrophic for some retirees.
  • Retirees should not be a pawn in an attempt to show that these changes in our benefit package will make the district more solvent. It will also make each retiree less solvent.

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