City wants unions to share healthcare costs (WHYY)

July 23, 2009

By Elizabeth Fiedler,

Philadelphia wants its union members to share in the cost of healthcare. Union leaders object to paying, but city officials say they have little choice given the city’s serious economic situation. The union members could join many others who already pay.


Steven Wray is Executive Director of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization.

Wray: Often times you have to take compensation in terms of the salary and benefits together - in terms of what ends up being the total compensation package for individuals or for a collective bargaining unit. And so in many cases it can be justified as a way of off-setting what was considered lower pay for government employees.

Wray says more and more workers in the public and private sectors have to pay at least a portion of the cost of their health insurance, in addition to co-pays.

A recent report by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that in fiscal year 20-13, health and benefit costs are projected to take up more than a quarter of the city’s budget.