Town's union members wary of higher health insurance cost

Many members of town and school unions turned out for the Select Board vote on possible changes to their health insurance.

(Photo by Elaine Cushman Carroll)

Faced with Milton’s share of healthcare costs rising by $1.7 million for the upcoming year, the Select Board voted to keep open the option of engaging in a state measure that would allow greater leverage in changing health insurance options for 800 town and school employees.

The 4-1 vote was taken at the Sept. 4 meeting and disappointed the roughly 100 town and school employees, some accompanied by their children, who were in attendance.

The vote came despite pleas from Margaret Gibbons, head of the Milton Educators Association (MEA), who said that union members turned out on two days notice so the board could “see the people affected and the families they represent.”

The group included representatives from all six of the district’s schools and unions representing custodial and cafeteria workers and town mid-level managers.

“We have been making significant progress at the table and no vote is needed at this time,” Gibbons told the board.

The town and union representatives are currently negotiating new contracts for the various unions as they face a tight budget year.

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