This week, CASE defended your rights and stopped management’s take away of the CoBen Cash benefit for our members who have health coverage through Tricare; a program available to military members, veterans, and their dependents. The Sacramento Superior Court rejected CalHR’s and management’s unilateral denial of CASE’s bargained-for benefit.
Unit 2 members who have health and dental coverage from another source, such as their spouse’s employer, may get up to $155 extra each month due to the State’s savings on their health costs. But in 2015, CalHR unilaterally determined that Tricare, combined with the CoBen Cash program, somehow violated provisions of the Affordable Care Act, and it ended this benefit for all State employees covered by Tricare. The CASE Board disagreed and prevailed last summer on our grievance at arbitration. CASE was the only state union to challenge this unilateral breach of contract.
Although acknowledging that CalHR might appeal the court’s ruling, it was a complete victory for CASE that will result in the repayment of money improperly withheld from Unit 2 members who are covered under Tricare. “We are very pleased that the court agreed with us and rejected CalHR’s unfair punishment of Unit 2 members on Tricare,” CASE General Counsel, Patrick J. Whalen said.
“CASE is once again leading the fight for all employees in state service through strategic, vigorous litigation. The victory in this matter is particularly gratifying because our Unit 2 members covered by Tricare come from families who have served our country.” said CASE President, Peter Flores, Jr, “Those same Unit 2 members serve California even though they continue to be underpaid relative to other public sector professionals.”
CASE trusts that management will accept the ruling and begin issuing back pay. CalHR devoted significant time and energy defending its illegal actions; three attorneys, for example, attended the Superior Court hearing. This taxpayer money would have been better spent on the services CASE members provide the State of California, instead of fighting its members.
If you are a member who is, or has been, covered by Tricare and improperly was denied CoBen Cash, please contact CASE at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know your department and classification so we can secure the rights of every affected Unit 2 member.