Letters to the Editor, Jan. 25, 2019

Union perspective; billing timeliness

School district cheating employees

I am an employee of the Issaquah School District, have been for over 20 years.

The paraeducators and office professionals have truly been taken for a ride in our current contracts. Briefly, we bargained in good faith before the start of the 2017-18 school year for our next contract. The bargaining and negotiations went quite smoothly. Even though we usually have only a three-year contract, the district offered to extend it to four years. The first year, no problem, all went well with our raise and COLA (cost of living adjustment). Then in August 2018, the unions called the district office to see what COLA would be for this year, 2018-19 and learned we wouldn’t be getting one. The school district’s reason is the Legislature did not specify a COLA for anyone.

Our bargaining team once again approached the district to try to work this out. No budging whatsoever. The district has the nerve to put out a statement that they are surprised we’re talking strike and that we are family, after four and a half months of meetings with them including going to board meetings, pleading our case to them and the public along with parents and teachers alike doing the same in support of us… not one blink of movement on their end.

ISD we have no trust in you anymore. In all the state districts that have contracts offering COLA, ISD is one of the only ones not honoring theirs. Pretty pathetic. We all understand how much the district has grown but apparently that means just brushing aside some of the lowest paid as they’ve said we are expendable. They truly believe the schools and other buildings will run just fine without us.

They have now — after we have voted by 98 percent to strike — offered mediation. They claim that our next step, after months of this, should be arbitration. They seem to be pushing that quite hard, even saying “see you in court” after our last meeting. They must have been told by one of their high-priced lawyers that an arbitrator will find in their favor. ISD we will give you respect, unlike you to us, and meet for mediation, but believe us when we say, it better be worth our while because we will not be taken advantage of anymore.

Mary Beth Jones

North Bend

Not enough time

I can’t be the only person who had this problem.

On Dec. 21, 2018, I received a bill from CMS (Medicare) for my Part B insurance for Q1 2019. The bill was dated Nov. 27 but somehow (Pony Express?) took four weeks to arrive — this is pre-shutdown of the federal government. The bill said they have to receive payment by Dec. 25. So I had one (count ‘em, one) business day to have the payment received (not postmarked) by CMS in St. Louis.

I was going to call my congressman but Sheriff Dave closed up his local office and turned off the phone in Washington, D.C. so I sent email to Sen. Patty Murray’s staff. I filled out the paperwork required for any casework service but being that it was by computer I could not see how to sign it (no DocuSign or similar).

Recently I got an email from Sen. Murray’s casework staff, saying I need to hand sign a privacy act statement before they can work on my case.

A. How?

B. Why? The issue has already passed.

C. I can’t be the only person who gets a bill from Medicare insurance with one day to pay

Even the IRS accepts postmark of date mailed, not date of arrival as indicating timely payment, and even “Slick Dave” down at “EZ Pay Day Loans” gives you more than one day to pay.

I knew the feds were trying to keep people from applying for Affordable Care Act insurance but I didn’t realize they were trying to throw roadblocks for Medicare insurance as well.

Charles Bird

Sammamish

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