Last semester, following a dramatic increase in the premiums that Wesleyan’s clerical staff paid for health insurance, members of the clerical union and the United Student Labor Action Coalition proposed that the university institute a tiered payment plan in which employee contributions would be scaled according to salary. The administration expressed a willingness to consider such a plan, and now you have a chance to help make Wesleyan a fair employer.
Next week the faculty Compensation and Benefits Committee is holding forums in which members of the faculty can voice their opinions about potential alterations to Wesleyan’s health insurance system. Those meetings will be held on Tuesday the 15th at 4:15 in Shanklin 107 and on Thursday the 17th at noon in Exley 58. I am writing on behalf of USLAC to encourage you to attend and express support for union-backed changes, especially a tiered system for employee contributions.
As it stands, every employee, from the president, chaired professors, and the chief investment officer to entry-level custodial and clerical workers pay the same amount for insurance. This means that healthcare costs amount to 20 percent of the pretax yearly income of the lowest paid workers and less than three percent of the vice-president of finance’s income. Would we tolerate a tax system in which every citizen paid the same amount (not percentage of income, but amount) in payroll or income taxes, regardless of how much money they made? Then why tolerate such a regressive system at Wesleyan? According to a New York Times article from November 9 of last year, Vanderbilt University has fixed costs for employees at the lower end of the pay scale while allowing premiums to rise for higher paid workers.
As students, we are reluctant to intervene in your affairs, but in this case we feel it is important to speak up. If you agree with us that current system is unfair, please attend the CBC’s forum and say so. If you want to learn more about USLAC’s postion, you can email me at email@example.com, or better yet, you can talk with your administrative staff.
Wohl is a member of the class of 2011.