Don't let legislators pull the plug on collective bargaining

The Legislature is considering two proposals that attack our collective bargaining rights.

Our ability to bargain collectively about our health insurance is under attack. We need to act now to defeat two legislative proposals that are both unfair and unnecessary.

The first proposal, promoted by former House Speaker Sal DiMasi, would let municipalities order educators and other municipal employees into the state Group Insurance Commission (GIC).

The second proposal, supported by many mayors and the Massachusetts Municipal Association, would allow town and city officials to design health insurance plans without any employee input.

Both of these proposals would take away our voice in shaping health insurance -- and your legislators need to stop them. During an economic crisis such as the one we now face, we need to work together to find solutions that work for everyone. It is wrong to attack collective bargaining under the guise of addressing the state budget shortfall.

The law now in place needs a chance to fully succeed A working group that included representatives of public employees, retirees, city and town officials, the Legislature and the GIC worked for two years to come up with recommendations to reduce health care costs. A law passed in 2007 gave municipalities and public employees the option to bargain over joining the GIC. Participation in the GIC works for some communities, but is not a one-size-fits-all solution that is right for every city and town. The law strikes a fair balance and needs a chance to work.

Pre-K-12 and retired members have been sent postcards to send to their state representative and state senator. Members may also send e-mails to their legislators.

Tell your legislators to protect our right to collectively bargain for health care benefits.