ROCHESTER — Dozens of retired CSEA members and retired sheriff deputies attended the Monroe County Legislature’s recent full session meeting to voice their displeasure with county lawmakers and administrators over changes in health insurance.
Last year, nearly 1,800 retired Monroe County employees saw their health benefits unilaterally diminished. CSEA, as well as other county bargaining units, had previously negotiated the benefits with the county and did not approve the changes. CSEA, through our Legal Department, is challenging the move in court. We believe the changes violate good-faith bargaining and do not meet the intended spirit of the insurance provisions under which members retired.
At the public forum session, retirees told legislators that Monroe County officials broke their promise regarding their benefits and expressed their displeasure with lawmakers. Many who spoke before the legislature said county officials can no longer be trusted if it continues to behave in this manner.
“It is our contention that we were considered retirees until we died,” retired Sheriff Deputy Bill Hampson told lawmakers. “Not until we turned 65.”
“This is not a political issue,” said Michael Hogan, a retiree who spoke before the lawmakers. “This is a question of honor. If you keep your word, and honor these commitments, this community will be blessed with public servants who will serve honorably. You will set the example.”
CSEA Rochester Area Retirees Local President Bernie Giambra addressed the legislators at the public forum.
“Retirees would like to think we gave the best years of our lives working in public service,” she said. “In return, the county is under contract to provide us with our health insurance to carry us into the sunset of our golden years. Retirees that have the most cost-effective HMO plans have been cast off the Medicare land of uncertainty.
This is not fair. We are asking you to keep your part of the contract and honor your word for all retirees, as we in good faith have kept ours.”
— Ove Overmyer
Above, CSEA retiree Bernie Giambra (at podium), addresses Monroe County legislators at the full session meeting on Dec. 12. Retirees are at odds with county administrators who have been diminishing health care benefits for retirees since 2009. CSEA is taking legal action against the county.