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Important Reminder on Medical Benefits Deadline March 6

Time is fast disappearing for submitting your Wellness Assessment!!  The paper submittal deadline has past; you now must complete it online if you have not already done so.

While you are not required to do so, failure to take the Wellness Assessment by March 6th (next Monday!) will mean you are forfeiting the ability to earn higher than "Bronze" status for the first year the new Healthy Incentives Program SM goes into effect. While the bargaining to determine when and whether we go onto this plan is ongoing, there is a strong likelihood we will end up with this medical plan. In that event, failing to have completed the Wellness Assessment will mean a significant financial penalty to you.

TEA strongly urges all members to complete the Wellness Assessment by March 6, 2006!

Note that you are not required to answer all questions in the Wellness Assessment.  Significantly, you are never required to provide specific medical information.  However, the goal of this program is to give employees access to useful information and coaching, to encourage you to be proactive in making choices to improve or maintain your health.  TEA encourages you to submit as much information as you feel comfortable doing, to help customize an action plan based on your needs.

Note also that you will be told after your submittal of the Wellness Assessment that you have earned "Silver" level status.  You earn "Gold" level by completing the Wellness Assessment and the follow-up action - either an eight-week log or acceptance of three phone calls, depending on your risk rating.

If you have any difficulties completing the form, please contact Benefits & Retirement Operations Section (BROS) at 206-684-1556 between 9:30 and 3:30 (or leave a message at other times) or email them at kc.benefits@metrokc.gov.  Two problems that have come up are:

  1. Some on Macintosh computers were having trouble with the online forms; this seems to be specific to the browser you use, so try another browser or a different computer.
  2. If you and your spouse/domestic partner use the same home email address, only one can enter it as their ID for the Wellness Assessment.  The workaround is to use your work email address.

Please let Eric Mandel know if you encounter other difficulties so we can monitor this for TEA - thanks!



updated February 17, 2006


Important Announcement
on Medical Benefits and Informational Meeting
Wed. Feb. 22 at noon in KSC 5B/5C

A joint negotiation of all TEA Bargaining Units (in both Transit and Wastewater) has resulted in a "Tentative Agreement" on moving forward with participating in the enrollment qualifications for the Healthy Incentives Program SM.

By completing the Wellness Assessment and the follow-up action - either an eight-week log or acceptance of three phone calls, depending on your risk rating - you will be qualified for Gold level and the lowest copays when TEA members move onto the plan.

Online completion is required by March 6, 2006 in order for you to qualify for Gold.  (You will also have an option to do a hard-copy (paper) submittal instead, but note it has an earlier deadline of postmarked mailing by February 24th.  You may pick up a paper copy at the Benefits & Retirement Operations Section (BROS) office, 3rd floor of the Exchange Building at 821 2nd Avenue, in downtown Seattle.)

A mailing to your home is being sent out today by the County Benefits section.  It will include a cover letter by your TEA President, Eric Mandel, and specific instructions on completing your Wellness Assessment, along with an access code to do the online entry.

Note that you are not required to answer all questions in the Wellness Assessment.  Significantly, you are never required to provide specific medical information.  However, the goal of this program is to give employees access to useful information and coaching, to encourage you to be proactive in making choices to improve or maintain your health.  TEA encourages you to submit as much information as you feel comfortable doing, to help customize an action plan based on your needs.

TEA will continue to bargain overall contracts for Transit and Wastewater Bargaining Units, and actual placement on the plan is subject to future agreements.  (Until that time, you will remain on your existing benefit plan through the end of 2006, and if necessary, something substantially similar thereafter.)

We were diligent in resolving concerns about the privacy of information you submit.  We are confident that the Memorandum ensures that all reasonable care is being taken to protect that information with additional language that was included in it.

You may begin filling the assessment out now, though we suggest waiting until a special TEA meeting scheduled for noon on February 22nd in King Street Center rooms 5B/5C, in which we will answer your questions and discuss the terms of the agreement.  You may direct questions to your Bargaining Team Chairs Dave Crippen and Roger Browne, or TEA President Eric Mandel.  Specific questions about filling out the forms or other specifics may also be addressed to the Benefits & Retirement Operations Section (BROS) office.  They are available by phone at 206-684-1556 between 9:30 and 3:30 weekdays, or by email at kc.benefits@metrokc.gov.  (Note that email responses will be slower.)

In any event, TEA asks that you ensure your Wellness Assessment is completed by the due date noted above.  (If you have already filled one out as a spouse or domestic partner of another County employee, you will not need to resubmit one.)

updated February 17, 2006


Results of February 16 vote for election of the vacant position of Vice President

This position fills the vacated term from Roger Browne's old position and will be up for a two-year election at the Annual meeting this Fall.

There were 319 ballots distributed and 165 received (1 of which was disqualified).

The final vote was --

105 - Ade Franklin
 59 - Susan McDonald Wright
Thanks again for the volunteers that helped me count the ballots (Valerie Garza, Iha Khilfeh, Jo Sullivan and Jeff Suter)

Patricia Overby, TEA Secretary

Candidate Forum Scheduled for Thurs., February 9 (12 noon in KSC 3D/3E) to Meet and Ask Questions of Candidates for TEA Vice President for Election at February 15 TEA Meeting

TEA now has a vacancy in the Vice President officer position with the election of Roger Browne to Wastewater Bargaining Chair.  To ensure that members get information about the candidates, a special Candidate Forum, moderated by Liz Krenzel (Transit TEA member), will be held this Thursday, Feb.  9th, at noon in KSC 3D/3E.  Candidate statements also appear below.

TEA Bylaws (Article VI, Section C, l) state that "When any other Board office becomes vacant by reason of death, resignation, promotion, attrition, or recall, a successor for the remainder of the current year will be elected by a majority vote of those Full Members present at the next Regular Meeting after the date the office is vacated." A vote will occur at the February TEA regular member meeting on February 15th.

The Nominations Committee presents the following list of candidates (in alphabetical order) to fill the vacated Vice President position (to expire September 2006). 

Candidate statements follow:

Ade Franklin

Greetings and I hope this message finds you well.  My name is Ade Franklin and I am asking for you to vote for me as the next Vice President of TEA.

I have been a part of TEA since the beginning - when we were trying to grasp the idea that as professionals we needed to organize.  I was an active participant in the team that negotiated our initial contract.  And while I have not been to every meeting over the past ten or so years, I believe that my attendance is regular and most would consider me an active member of TEA.  I am participating in current contract negotiations as a committee member and an alternate.

I have been working for Metro/KC for almost 14 years.  In some ways, I have grown up in this organization.  I have worked in Engineering as a CAD designer; the Construction Management office as a construction inspector; the Facilities Inspection group as a facilities inspector; and the Implementation group as a project manager.  I am currently the Project Coordinator for the Offsite Facilities.

I believe in direct communication, listening and the rights of employees.  I believe that my time and involvement in TEA and work experience in the organization gives me some insight into the interest of many members.  I will use that insight when voting as a board member and as chair of the grievance committee.  And for these reasons, I ask for your vote.  Thank you for you time. 

Susan McDonald-Wright

I have worked for King County for the past 17 years; four of those years have been with WTD as the Contracts Coordinator.

If elected Vice-President I will work as a member of the Executive Board for the benefit of all the TEA members.  As Vice-President one of my primary responsibilities will be chairing the Grievance Committee.  I agreed to be nominated because I believe in the integrity of the system.  I will work to maintain the credibility and integrity of the committee, the process, and that all TEA members are represented with fairness and equity.  As a veteran member of the Grievance Committee I have worked to ensure that grievances and violations having merit are heard. 


Healthy Incentive Plan Update

Members heard and asked questions about the status of TEA negotiations regarding future medical benefits.  Again, the Bargaining Teams stress that your concerns are foremost in mind as we conclude our negotiations on this.  No TEA member is in jeopardy of losing benefits or the ability to earn a "Gold" level once an agreement on benefits is reached.  You will hear more shortly so please be patient! We are doing due diligence to ensure that all privacy and other concerns are adequately covered.

To clarify some points of confusion: When members are told they are now on the Healthy Incentive Program, they will have some time (as yet unspecified) to fill out the Wellness Assessment.  This is the first of two steps in earning the "Gold".  You are NOT required to answer every question on the Assessment - fill out as much as you are comfortable with.  More specific info you provide will help tailor any recommendations for wellness provided to you, but it is not necessary to answer every question to have considered it completed.  Further, should you be rated as a "moderate" or "high" risk - which does not impact your ability to earn "Gold" - you will need to accept at least three calls from a health coach.  While you will be strongly encouraged to successfully complete an action of your choosing, it is NOT a requirement for earning "Gold" level.

Eric Mandel, President

February Meeting Schedule (All meetings held at King Street Center unless noted.)

(All meetings held at King Street Center unless noted.)

Feb.  6 WTD Bargaining Committee (12-1)
Feb.  7 Transit Bargaining Committee (12-1.  4G)
Feb.  8 Board Business Meeting (12-1, 4G)
Feb.  8 Transit Negotiations (1:30-4:30)
Feb.  9 WTD Negotiations (9-12)
Feb.  9 SPECIAL TEA MEETING / CANDIDATE FORUM (12-1, 3D/3E.  Introduce/ask question of candidates filling vacant Vice President Board Position)
   
Feb. 13 WTD Bargaining Committee (12-1)
Feb. 14 Transit Bargaining Committee (12-1 pm, 4G)
Feb. 15 TEA Regular Meeting (12-1, 8th Floor Conf.  Rm.)
Feb. 16 WTD Negotiations (9-12)
   
Feb. 20 HOLIDAY
Feb. 21 Transit Bargaining Committee (12-1 pm, 4G)
Feb. 22 Board Business Meeting (12-1, 4G)
Feb. 23 WTD Negotiations (9-12)
   
Feb. 27 WTD Bargaining Committee (12-1)
Feb. 28 Transit Bargaining Committee (12-1 pm, 4G)