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Lockport unions plan protest over health insurance

City of Lockport unions and retirees are planning a protest over health insurance benefits at Wednesday's Common Council meeting. The unions plan follow up with formal grievances.

Paul M. Beakman, president of the police and fire retirees, last week accused the city of violating a court order by switching to a self-insured health insurance format this year without clearing it with the unions.

The 2015 State Supreme Court order forced the city to pay the retirees $170,000 in damages because health benefits were changed without negotiations.

City Finance Director Scott A. Schrader said the coverage hasn't changed; only the city's way of paying for it has been altered. He said the self-insurance format will reduce city benefit costs by an estimated $350,000 this year. Blue Cross/Blue Shield is administering the plan.

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