As it became clear in various local unit negotiations that the parties desired an efficient way to provide a variety of health and welfare benefits to covered employees, PSSU explored the feasibility of establishing a Health and Welfare Fund.
Attorneys for PSSU drew up a Declaration of Trust Document which was adopted by the Executive Board of PSSU in 1975. As the Fund has grown in size, the Declaration of Trust has been amended from time to time by the Executive Board to make provisions for growth and to assure a sound legal basis for the Fund.
Dauphin County was the first employer to negotiate contributions for its employees and provide Fund benefits beginning in January, 1975. Since then other local units have negotiated contributions to the Fund for nearly 1500 employees in local units throughout Pennsylvania.
WHO CAN JOIN THE TRUST
This Health and Welfare Fund is solely a Union Trust Fund and is not a joint union/employer trust. While there are many local units, not all can legally become members of this Fund. The interested group must be a public employee unit. Units certified by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board under Act 195, the Public Employees Relations Act, are normally eligible. Prior to determining eligibility for a group to join the Fund, legal counsel must be consulted as this remains a complex area. In any case, whenever a new unit is considering joining the Fund, the question of public employer status is the primary issue raised before the Board of Trustees for an opinion from counsel. Contributions are contractually negotiated and all employees in represented bargaining units in the Fund are eligible for benefits on a non-discriminatory basis.
WHO ARE THE FUND TRUSTEES
The Board of Trustees for the Local Unit Health and Welfare fund are appointed by the Executive Board of Pennsylvania Social Services Union. The Trustees serve on a voluntary basis with open ended terms. In accordance with the law, Trustees are not financially compensated to serve on the Board. They are however permitted to be reimbursed for incurred expenses (i.e. meals, travel, etc.) in conjunction with financial policies established for the Board of Trustees.
The Board of Trustees meets quarterly to review expenditures, make investments decisions, meet with consultants and provider representatives to determine the soundness of the benefit plans and to consider recommendations for improvements. The Chairperson of the Board historically has been either the President or Secretary-Treasurer of Pennsylvania Social Services Union.
The current Trustees are:
Steve Catanese, Chair, SEIU 668 President
JoAnne Sessa, SEIU 668 Secretary-Treasurer
Mike Butler, Erie County
Don Meadows, Bucks County
Mark Jackowski, Bucks County
Linda Whittington, Administrator
Joanna Chronister, Administrative Assistant
Jim Hoellman, Managed Care of America
John H. Cummings, Jr., Esq., Xpyria Investment Advisors
Bruce Ludwig, Willig, Willliams & Davidson
Bruce Brown, Brown Shultz Sheridan & Fritz