September 10, 2015

Mayor Emanuel, Labor Management Cooperation Committee Commit To Working Towards $20 Million In Health Care Savings For 2016

Ongoing Collaboration between City and Labor Unions Identifies Potential Healthcare Savings and Other Opportunities to Increase Efficiencies, Enhance Services, Achieve Savings

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Jorge Ramirez, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor, along with members of the Labor Management Cooperation Committee (LMCC) announced today a commitment to work towards approximately $20 million in potential employee health care savings and identified other potential city operations reforms including the elimination of vacancies and reducing middle management positions, increasing debt collection efforts, and consolidating all Chicago government IT functions among other reforms for the 2016 operating budget.

The LMCC has been working collaboratively since 2008 to explore joint opportunities to achieve organizational and operational efficiencies along with finding common ground to manage the City’s financial challenges while maintaining high quality services.

“The City is facing significant financial challenges that require all hands on deck,” said Mayor Emanuel. “As we continue to do the hard work necessary to balance the 2016 budget, I want to ensure it represents a collaborative process and reflects input from labor, community leaders, aldermen and residents from across Chicago. The collaborative plans announced today between the City and organized labor are central towards our common goal of a better and more financial stable future.”

This resolution comes on the heels of the recent reforms to grid garbage from a collaborative process between the Department of Streets and Sanitation and Laborers’ Local 1001. The additional reforms to grid garbage identify an additional $10 million in savings for refuse collection allowing the City to redirect the savings into other city services in 2016.

Throughout the summer, the LMCC – which is made up of City officials and representatives from organized labor -- have been studying various areas of city services and costs to try to identify potential efficiencies and savings without sacrificing delivery of service or quality care. To that end, the LMCC trustees voted today to pass a resolution that:

• Calls for working toward up to $20 million in health care savings
• Provides the City with a report outlining other possible city service reforms and operational changes that could achieve up to $100 million in savings, efficiencies and sustainable revenue
• Supports piloting medical plan options to determine if additional savings are possible
“Our city workers are also city taxpayers, so we understand the importance of identifying and eliminating inefficiencies. The labor movement is in the business of having difficult conversations and coming up with amicable solutions,” said Jorge Ramirez, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor. “The City is at a crossroads, and the labor movement is committed to turning City government around for the betterment of workers and taxpayers. The effective cooperation labor has with the city should be the bedrock for compromise around the state.”

The goals outlined in the resolution will allow the City to achieve additional health care savings, while continuing to preserve affordable and quality medical care for employees.
The savings the LMCC are working towards for 2016 are on top of the $10 million in savings previously identified and approved by the LMCC in 2015.

The City plans to exam the recommendations provided by the LMCC for savings, efficiencies and sustainable revenue in the coming months to determine opportunities for implementation and service improvements.

The LMCC resolution also provides for additional opportunities for health care savings through pilot programs in 2016 that could significantly improve the level and quality of care under the City medical plan without imposing undue financial burden.