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New health plan at Houston Lighting.

Negotiators for the Houston Lighting & Power Co. and Local 66 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers reached agreement on a 2-year contract covering about 3,600 power plant operators, mechanics, and lineworkers in the Houston, TX, area. The accord introduced a flexible benefits package with different levels of coverage and choice in use of benefit dollars.

The pact calls for wage increases of 3.5 percent retroactive to May 26, 1993, and 3 percent on May 26, 1994. After the first wage increase, lineworkers would earn $20.20 an hour.

Negotiators implemented a flexible benefits package that allows employees to choose among four different health care options with different levels of benefits, premiums, deductibles, and copayments:

* Option 1, the current plan, offers managed care/point-of-service health care with first-dollar coverage, but requires employee premiums ranging between $45 a month for single coverage and $165 a month for family coverage, $10 for doctors' office visits, $25 for emergency room services, and $50 for the first 5 days of in-hospital care. It also provides a prescription drug program with employee copayments of $5 for name brand drugs and $3 for generic brand drugs, advancing to $15 and $7, respectively, in January 1994.

* Option 2 calls for monthly premiums ranging between $32 for single coverage and $132 for family coverage, plus employee copayments of $25 for doctors' office visits, $75 for emergency room services, and $100 for the first 5 days of in-hospital care.

* Option 3 requires monthly premiums ranging between $20 for single coverage and $80 for family coverage, employee copayments of $35 for doctors' office visits or in-hospital care, a $400 deductible for in-hospital benefits, and an employee copayment of 25 percent of the remaining costs of doctor or in-hospital expenses, with maximum annual out-of-pocket expenses of $3,000.

* Option 4 provides health care with no employee sharing of premium costs, but has a $1,500 annual deductible; an annual employee copayment of $3,000 per individual, plus 10 percent of the next $7,000 in expenses; and $10,000 maximum out-of-pocket expenses.

Other benefit changes included a $10,000 increase in optional life insurance benefits; minimum coverage of $50,000 for accidental death and dismemberment insurance; long-term disability benefits ranging from 40 percent to 70 percent of an employee's earnings; a vision care plan with a four-tiered premium rate schedule reflecting different coverage levels; eligibility of employees age 50 or older with at least 5 years of service for medical, dental, and life insurance coverage; and an increase, from $8 to $8.50, in the daily meal allowance.

Other terms require management to consider skills, qualifications, and seniority in selections for promotions; and ban subcontracting that is "solely for the purpose" of downsizing the work unit.
COPYRIGHT 1993 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:labor contract at Houston Lighting & Power Co.
Author:Cimini, Michael H.; Behrmann, Susan L.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Previous Article:Grocery store job action ends.
Next Article:The Origins and Evolution of the Field of Industrial Relations.

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