The main issue cited by the Faculty Senate was the fact that the administration “announced that it had selected United Healthcare as the sole provider of medical insurance for Fordham employees. This decision was made without the approval of the Faculty Senate.”
According to Andrew Clark, Ph.D., vice president of the Faculty Senate, the main purpose of the meeting was to “enable the faculty to get a briefing and express their concerns.” Clark stated that many of the faculty was confused and frustrated by the administration’s decision. He also hoped this meeting would provide the faculty an “opportunity for solidarity.”
The healthcare conversation has been on-going. The faculty senate FAQ website states, “faculty representatives did participate in a process that led to the consideration of Cigna and United Healthcare as possible providers of medical insurance.” However, the faculty hold that the “University statutes require that changes in faculty salary and benefits be approved by the Faculty Salary and Benefits Committee and the Faculty Senate. Unfortunately, the administration did not follow these provisions of the statutes.”
Clark and the Faculty Senate are incensed, as they believe the administration has moved away from previous statues the groups had agreed upon.
The healthcare provider is a major issue, as the plan is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 1, 2015. However, the Faculty Senate has not approved that decision yet. They say that they remain in conversation with the administration about this issue.
Time is pressing on this issue, according to the Faculty Senate, as the open enrollment for United Healthcare begins October 10. The Faculty Senate cites the university statutes which, according to the Faculty Senate FAQ page, “require the administration and the Faculty Senate to come to consensus on any changes to the package of salary and benefits for faculty. Therefore, unless there is an agreement between the administration and the faculty over the entire ‘package’ (to use Fr. McShane’s term for the full set of particulars we have been negotiating, including health care, salary, merit, etc.), and unless this agreement is approved by the Salary and Benefits Committee, and then by the Faculty Senate, as the university statutes require, the administration is not permitted to make the changes that it envisions. The Faculty Senate has held open all options, including legal action, to enforce the faculty’s rights and privileges.”
The FAQ states that the faculty senate prefers Cigna insurance over United Healthcare since it had concerns with the provider including “UHC’s inability to provide us with statistics on the rejection of claims.” They are also worried about “UHC’s weaker customer service record, their lower national rankings…and the lower cost of UHC to the university.”
Clark says the faculty has “a lot of unforeseen issues in the next weeks.” The faculty believes that they have offered different proposals including some concessions, but they say the administration has not offered the same courtesy back.
Meetings are continuing this week, with the Faculty Senate coming together on Friday for its first meeting of the semester.
Kelly Kultys is the Editor-in-Chief for The Fordham Ram.