The Chief
September 21, 2007

PBA Clericals Protest Health Program Shift

By REUVEN BLAU

A small group of clerical staffers at the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association is upset that the union is switching its health insurance provider and delaying wage increases.

PATRICK J. LYNCH: Plan will benefit employees.
PATRICK J. LYNCH: Plan will benefit employees.

The approximately 70 clerical employees who help administer the union's welfare fund recently were forced to switch from the Empire Plan to the Health Insurance Plan of New York (HIP). "Sloan-Kettering isn't covered," one staffer said. "If God forbid I'm diagnosed with cancer, I'm prohibited from going to the best hospital. It's got everybody pissed off."

Lynch: Helps Workers

PBA President Patrick J. Lynch last week defended the move and claimed it would save employees money. "We've implemented a new plan that avoids increased co-pays for our employees, reduces hurdles necessary to secure treatment by specialists and provides enhances dental and optical benefits, all with no premiums to our employees," he said in a statement.

The workers have also not received their traditional annual July 1 raises. "We are low-paid employees," one staffer argued. "We used to have the same benefits as cops make, but now that's no longer the case."

Mr. Lynch said that the raises are being worked out and will be retroactive, as in past years. "PBA employee raises ... have been intertwined with budget approval and employee performance reviews," he stated.

The workers said they are looking into joining Local 153 of the Office and Professional Employees International Union, which represents staffers at various other unions.