AEA files lawsuit to stop PEEHIP increases

Retirees,

AEA stated after the PEEHIP Board of Controls voted to increase premiums and spousal surcharges that they were working on the matter on behalf of all members. Today AEA took action by filing a lawsuit on behalf of all PEEHIP participants. In case you missed the coverage by various news media outlets (see below):

It was announced by the Alabama Education Association at a press conference this morning at 11:00 a.m. (Tuesday, May 17, 2016) of the lawsuit, Remington v. Swindle, that seeks to halt the PEEHIP premium increases that are currently set to take effect on October 1, 2016. Below is a typed statement made by AEA President Remington and a video.

The attorneys for both sides will be handling this lawsuit but we will do our best to keep you informed as we work closely with AEA officials. Should you have questions or concerns, AERA President Joe Ward will be handling all inquiries. Joe is not only the AERA president, he sits on the AEA Board of Directors and is an elected PEEHIP/TRS Board of Control member voted by retirees. Joe voted against the proposed increases and stands up for actives and retirees. If you need to contact Joe, send an email to [email protected] or call his cell phone 256-457-7110.

Watch for local news coverage and updates via email, text and social media as AEA fights for you!

Janice J. Charlesworth
Executive Director
Alabama Education Retirees Association
800-537-6867 or 334-262-4177
Visit our website www.aerainc.org

———————————————

The Alabama Education Association held a press conference this morning at 11:00 a.m. (Tuesday, May 17, 2016) to discuss AEA’s recently filed lawsuit against the Public Education Employees’ Health Insurance Program (PEEHIP) Board. AEA President Sheila Hocutt-Remington is the Plaintiff in this case.  While she is acting as an individual and President of AEA, she is seeking relief on behalf of all PEEHIP participants, which includes virtually all AEA members.

AEA is the only organization actively fighting against the PEEHIP Board’s action to cut its members’ pay.

The lawsuit, Remington v. Swindle, seeks to halt the PEEHIP premium increases that are currently set to take effect on October 1, 2016. 

Watch for local news coverage and updates via email, text and social media as AEA fights for you!

 

Statement of AEA President Sheila Hocutt Remington

I am honored to stand before you today as the Plaintiff in this lawsuit. As President of the Alabama Education Association, it is my responsibility to take action when laws are violated and our members are harmed. I asked our attorneys to review recent actions of the PEEHIP Board to determine if they were lawful. They advised me that they were not, and that brings us here today.

I will leave it to our attorneys to discuss the legal technicalities involved, but as a 43-year veteran classroom teacher of government and civics, I have always told my students that sunshine is the best disinfectant. That is why we have sunshine laws for open records and open meetings. This is not the first time the PEEHIP staff has called a secret “meeting before the meeting.” The PEEHIP staff designed this year’s meeting so that the real discussion and action happened away from the public eye. These “meetings before the meeting” are designed to avoid dissent and to silence any voices calling for alternatives. It is my hope that this never happens again and that discussions that impact the pocketbooks of tens of thousands of educators will be held as they should be – in open, public sessions.

While this lawsuit does not speak to the merits of the PEEHIP Board’s decision, those should certainly be discussed. Educators were very appreciative of the 4% raise the Legislature provided – the first in 9 years. For the PEEHIP Board to come behind the Legislature, especially after the Legislature fully funded PEEHIP’s budget request, and take away most, if not all the raise, is fundamentally wrong.

I call on the PEEHIP Board to look at alternatives available to them to address the shortfall without essentially overriding educators’ long overdue pay raise. I encourage all educators to continue contacting the PEEHIP Board members and asking them to reconsider the increases in PEEHIP costs. This lawsuit would not be necessary if the PEEHIP staff had allowed open and transparent discussions. We hope the Board will seek alternatives that will not hurt hard-working educators and will not end a raise they have waited so long to see.