The Michigan Court of Appeals has decided Wayne County Community College (WCCC) violated state law when it eliminated the traditional Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan from the list of plans available to college employees.
The WCCC Professional and Administrative Association—the union that represents college employees—filed an unfair labor practice charge against the college over the change.
According to the complaint, the collective-bargaining agreement requires employers to offer three specific health insurance options, including a traditional plan. That’s what the Blue Cross plan was. The college maintained the agreement allowed it to substitute a similar plan for the traditional one.
The case went first to the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, which sided with the union. The college appealed to the court, which also ruled against the college.
Advice: Tough economic times may push employers to cut costs, but violating collective-bargaining agreements will not work. Rather than trying to skirt your contract, offer to renegotiate expensive benefits. Perhaps you can make the case to employees.