In the Merrimack Valley: Lawrence Move to State Insurance Plan OK

According to an article in today’s Eagle-Tribune, the Lawrence police union effort to block the City of Lawrence from moving police union employees to the state insurance plan was stymied when Judge Nancy Holtz refused to issue an injunction. The city was ordered to join the state insurence part as part of the requirement for being allowed to borrow $35 million to cover earlier deficits.

The city canceled its self-insurance program and moved all 2,400 employees and retirees to a state plan with higher deductibles and premiums on Nov. 1, a move that will save an estimated $6 million through the end of this fiscal year on June 30, then $9 million annually.”

The union claimed a violation of previous collective bargaining and possible harm to their members. From the Judge:

“On the ‘harm’ front, the balance clearly tips toward the defendants,” Holtz said in a one-paragraph ruling. “And lastly, allowing a motion like this will most decidedly have an adverse effect on public interest.”

While the Lawrence situation may be unique due to the state’s support of the borrowed money, it would see that other municipalities – some here in the Valley- might be studying this ruling as they pursue a change in the way unions and other employees are allowed to negotiate for their health care coverage. Stay tuned.

Read the full Keith Eddings Eagle-Tribune article here.