CHARLESTON – The House of Delegates bipartisan Labor Caucus today unanimously agreed to urge the state Public Employee Insurance Agency Finance Board not to eliminate retiree health insurance benefits for future state and public school employee hires.
“I think the fact that so many House members, both Democrat and Republican, feel compelled to send this message to the PEIA Finance Board illustrates how important this issue is to the future of our state and to new state hires,” said House Majority Whip Mike Caputo, D-Marion.
The Labor Caucus, composed of 61 House members who have been endorsed by the West Virginia AFL-CIO, gathered today following the conclusion of the Legislature’s three-day special session to discuss the PEIA board’s recent actions. Fifty of the 61 caucus members were in attendance today and unanimously endorsed this action.
House Education Chair Mary Poling, D-Barbour, was among them.
“In a time when this state is hard pressed to recruit new people into the education field, PEIA is considering taking away a significant benefit,” Poling said. “It would be a big disincentive.”
Last month, Caputo publicly expressed thanks to Administration Secretary Robert Ferguson and the other members of the Public Employee Insurance Agency Finance Board for re-evaluating the board’s decision to eliminate retiree health insurance benefits for future state employees.
“I hope that the Board rejects this proposal,” he said, noting that legislation intended to enact the same proposal was introduced during the regular session, but the Legislature did not adopt it.
“We want to attract the best and the brightest to our state jobs, whether they are custodians, school bus drivers, teachers, state police officers or cabinet secretaries,” Caputo said. “Taking away this health benefit would prevent quality hires and be very detrimental to the future of our state.”
The following caucus members were present today:
Roy Givens, D-Brooke
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