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G.L. c. 32B - Public Employee Health Insurance

Health Insurance

Health insurance is a critically important benefit to union members. Health insurance costs continue to skyrocket and employers continue to shift costs onto workers. The issue of health insurance can either build the union or bleed the union.


Brendan Sharkey has been pushing back against employers' efforts to shift costs onto union members for over 20 years. He has served as the lead negotiator for the teachers' unions and other municipal unions at the bargaining table. He has negotiated agreements pursuant to G.L. c.32B, section 19, sections 21-23 and through the tradition c.150E process. He has represented Public Employee Committees at arbitration. Brendan provided training to staff and union leaders at the MTA on the issue of health insurance and health insurance bargaining. Brendan has also provided health insurance bargaining training to two other large public-sector unions in Massachusetts.


Unions have selected Brendan to serve as the union representative on G.L. c.32B, sections 21-23 Review Panels. He also served as a labor representative on the Mayflower Municipal Health Group steering committee and as the MTA staff liaison to the Group Insurance Commission. Brendan has been invited to speak on the issue of health insurance bargaining at the 2017 Blue Cross Blue Shield Labor Conference and the 2015 Public Sector Labor Relations Conference at Harvard Law School.

Services Offered

Health Insurance Negotiation:

Brendan serves as the bargaining representative for unions at the bargaining table.

Health Insurance Negotiation consultation:

Brendan provides strategic advice to union representatives and members who are about to begin the bargaining process or who are already engaged in the process.

Health Insurance Training:

Brendan provides training to staff and union leaders on the issue of health insurance and health insurance bargaining. The training can be tailored to your union's particular needs. Previous training topics have included:

  • G.L. c.32B, sections 21-23:  how to navigate unions through the law and its regulations to achieve results for your members;

  • G.L. c.32B, section 19: strategic considerations at the bargaining table;

  • G.L. c.150E traditional health insurance negotiations: mandatory subjects of bargaining, strategic considerations;

  • G.L. c.32B: the law as it relates to health insurance eligibility, minimum contributions, advisory committees, retiree health insurance

  • How to cost out the employer's premium shift proposal;

  • How to cost out the employer's plan design shift proposal;

  • Health insurance basics: terms, the underlying reasons for rising costs, cost control solutions

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