Union says U profits from U Plan

The local technical workers union rallied Wednesday at Coffman Union

Anna Weggel

Local union members rallied Wednesday at Coffman Union, saying the University is profiting from a miscalculation in the U Plan, its health-care plan.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5, said it believes the University will make approximately $6 million by 2005 from the health-care program.

AFSCME Local 3937 represents unionized University technical workers.

In August, the group found out that the University miscalculated the cost projections associated with the U Plan.

In a message to all University employees, University Unions United said the institution overestimated the costs of the U Plan. The move is predicted to give the University a $6 million surplus by 2005.

Richard Pfutzenreuter, the University chief financial officer, said the $6 million profit union members claim is not accurate.

“They’ve been told repeatedly they’re not accurate. They simply refuse to consider the facts,” he said.

Marie Milsten Fiedler, AFSCME Local 3937 vice president, said members were doing “informational picketing” Wednesday.

Fiedler said she believes the extra $5.1 million the University has saved so far should remain strictly in the U Plan.

She said union members picketed to encourage employees and students to sign a petition that demands the money stay in the U Plan.

“It’s pretty simple,” Milsten Fiedler said. “They should be held accountable. This affects everybody.”

Local 3937 President Candace Lund said the union will give the signatures to University President Bob Bruininks and the Board of Regents.

In the past, University officials have denied claims that the University is profiting off the U Plan.

Lund said the administration is not denying it is going to save millions of dollars, but the money is still not included toward the U Plan.

“They’re calling it savings, we’re calling it profit,” Lund said.

Lund said most signatures were from University workers, but they were also receiving some student support.

“Students may not think it affects them now, but we’re fighting to keep health care affordable for everyone,” she said.

Junior Hugh Kingston said he rarely pays attention to on-campus rallying.

“It happens too much around campus,” he said.

Kingston said he does not worry much about health care at this point in his life. But he said he will have to in the future.