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Nonteaching staff union OKs change in insurance

Cheektowaga Central School District and its nonteaching staff have agreed to a change in health insurance that will save the district $60,000 this year.

The insurance will be purchased using the experience rating of the school workers instead of the community as a whole, providing the savings.

Assistant Superintendent for Business Dennis Kane said the members of Local 868, Civil Service Employees Association, were accepted into an alliance of groups with similar experience ratings, reducing the cost of health insurance premiums.

"They don't lose anything in terms of benefits, and we save money," Kane said.

"We are always willing to talk about ways to streamline operations and save money," said CSEA labor relations specialist Thomas Finger.

He said union members overwhelmingly agreed to the new plan to save the district money. The change comes in the midterm of the contract, which was negotiated in 2003 and expires June 30, 2006.

When the contract was being negotiated three years ago, the district upgraded the pay of jobs traditionally held by women, such as clerk-typists, senior clerk-typists, account clerk-typists, elementary monitors and nurses. At that time, the union also agreed to take one health insurance plan, from Community Blue health maintenance organization, instead of choosing from four plans.

Superintendent Delia G. Bonenberger said the district asked the union to reopen the contract to negotiate the latest change.

"They did it to save us money," she said.

The new plan also expands the number of participating doctors and disciplines, according to the union.

The savings will total about 10 percent by the end of the school year in June, Kane said.

There are more than 100 members in the union, with 85 of them taking health insurance, he said.

e-mail: bobrien@buffnews.com

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