MONTGOMERY, Ala. - The Alabama Education Association says they have won. The Alabama Supreme Court ruled in favor of the AEA in the case against the Public Education Employees' Health Insurance Plan (PEEHIP).
Huntsville's UniServe Director for The Alabama Education Association, Adam Keller, says this is a great thing for all educators.
"We're thrilled to see the courts rule in our favor, and we're thrilled to see our educators get some money back in their pocket that they definitely deserve," said Keller.
This case dates back to 2016, after the Alabama legislature passed a pay raise for teachers and school employees, but then PEEHIP voted to increase their rates - essentially negating any raise they would have received.
"This happened right as the state passed a four percent raise, so their raise was often negated by these insurance increases," said Keller.
AEA sued PEEHIP saying their vote was illegally done because the meeting discussing these raises was closed; according to the Open Meeting Act, what the PEEHIP board talked about should only be discussed in an open meeting, and the first court ruled in AEA's favor.
"We took action, we believe that PEEHIP and all government agencies should follow the open meeting act," said Keller.
In a Facebook post this morning, the AEA says "tens of thousands of Alabama's educators will finally see some of the long overdue 2016 pay raise, plus a refund of illegal health insurance premiums!"
The teachers union says they don't yet have specifics on how or when the refunds will be issued.
The Facebook post quotes AEA President Sherry Tucker said, “Now is the time to talk to your colleagues who haven't joined your professional organization yet. The PEEHIP case is only the beginning of what we will accomplish for Alabama educators when we join forces.”