Today at the bargaining table a long time City employee and AFSCME member Joan Extrom bravely shared her testimony regarding her health care benefits and what the medical stipend means to her health and her ability to do her job. I know many members and their families utilize the stipend to stay alive and working. The stipend is not a fluff item that can be so easily dismissed. To deny us this benefit that has been in our contract, and is in fact saving the City money since we are no longer in the HMO/PPO plan, is plainly heartless and poor judgment on the City’s part. Joan has given me permission to share her AFSCME testimony with her fellow Union brothers and sisters. I’m sharing it here, and the next time you’re in the Library you might see Joan faithfully doing her job. It’s what we all want to do right? Stay happily alive and able to work with dignity!