Saturday, November 16, 2019

Chicago Teachers Ratify Contract by 80%

The second and third largest cities, social justice leftist oriented unions, in contrast to the UFT, have some interesting news to report.

Despite some controversy in Chicago over what was won by the recent strike and some questions raised about how democratic the process was, the 25,000 membership ratified by 80%. Not too shabby and not far below the numbers here last year.

Read: Chicago Teachers Didn’t Win Everything, But They’ve Transformed the City—And the Labor Movement
Rebecca Burns
November 1, 2019
Working In These Times 


Class size was a premium issue and some gains were made. Some gains were made in terms of enforcement here in NYC but the numbers remain the same here as they were in 1970. The last time the UFT went on strike over class size was in 1967 - I was on that strike - my first days on the job and I didn't have a clue what it was all about. The class size wins in Chicago seem limited but made some progress. The UFT is also lauding the progress. You know I am a critic of the UFT over class size and I think more can be done but when pro-Unity people point out a comparison of contracts by our so-called "business union" vs the CTU "social justice" union, I don't have an easy answer. But I do point out how the Chicago people used community ties and made a case of pointing out where the money was while here we never hear a word about the outrageous real estate and corporate deals -- like let's give Amazon and Hudson Yards funders enormous tax breaks while arguing there is not enough money to at the very least reduce class size in the early grades as was done in the early 90s but reversed by Bloomberg.

The Mayor is a liberal -and probably a neo-liberal who wanted to hold the line on the ed budget but seems to have no qualms about giving breaks to certain corporate or real estate interests. By the way, de Blasio is no different despite claiming to be left of liberal.

I want honest reports not ideologically tainted reporting. I trust Fred Klonsky's analysis. He is a retired union leader in the Chicago area and does not fawn over the CTU even if he is a big supporter.  So here is his report listing some of the gains and why they are important.  Chicago’s teachers approve their contract.  

Here is most of Fred's report:

The vote came two weeks after an eleven day strike that put thousands of teachers on the picket lines and in the streets for nearly daily mass protests.
Late Friday night, with 80% of the vote counted from 80% of the schools, votes for approval were running at 81%.
I found no information on what schools the vote was coming from or whether that information will be made available later.
79% approved the deal after the seven-day 2012 strike. The 2016 CBA received a 72% vote of approval.
Teachers have reason to be proud of their unity and militancy during the bargaining.
Members will receive a 16 percent hike over the five year length of the agreement. That is a long time compared to most contracts, and to the 3-year deal that the CTU wanted.
There will be no increases in health care costs for the first three years, a quarter-percent increase in the fourth year and a half-percent increase in the fifth year.
A disappointment for many was the failure to add to elementary teachers prep time and the dispersal of veteran pay must still be negotiated.
The contractual numbers of students in a class – a central demand of the CTU – seems limited.  A teacher may appeal for a remedy to a newly constituted Joint Class Size Assessment Council, consisting of six members appointed by the district and six by the union. The council will determine if, and what, action is to be taken.
Class size and staffing were huge issues in the strike. The union demanded that class sizes and staffing numbers be put in writing in the contract.
What was important for the union was that the numbers and the procedures for remedy be written into the contract which would allow them to be grieved if the numbers and process for remediation were violated.
Now the numbers and remedy are in writing in the collective bargaining agreement.
Still, the numbers themselves remain high.
As for staffing, the union won 209 additional social workers and 250 additional nurses over the duration of the contract.
CPS must now add an additional 44 social workers and 55 nurses next year above what the district had already budgeted. 
There was no agreement to add school librarians.
The new contract designates funds to hire community representatives at schools with large numbers of homeless students.
A stipend will also be available for some schools to hire a Students in Temporary Living Situation (STLS) Liaison. Together, the representative and liaison will ensure homeless students are attending class, have transit passes, and are aware of neighborhood resources.
There were other improvements for teachers in the agreement as well.
Some will continue to argue over who won, the CTU or Mayor Lightfoot. Or whether an 11-day strike significantly improved the agreement over what Mayor Lightfoot and the CPS board offered before the walkout.
As someone who has some experience in bargaining teacher union contracts, I think the fundamental issue is whether this contract is an improvement over the previous one. In this case, it appears the members believe it is and their vote is the one that matters most.
What I am most pleased about is that unlike in a growing number of right to work states, Chicago public school union teachers had the right to bargain it and to vote on their agreement.
That is no small thing.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Bloomberg as President Would Be More Undemocratic Than Trump

Bloomberg inspires much fear and loathing from those of us who knew him close up from his takeover of the NYC school system. The very arrogance of his entry into the presidential race speaks volumes. I think I might prefer an often inept clown like Trump to a high end technocrat like Bloomberg who would know how to pull the levers of power without anyone being willing to challenge him. Bloomberg should have been impeached for the lies and misinformation when he ran the city.

I am laughing out loud at the idea of Bloomberg challenging Trump. How often have we heard that Trump would refuse to leave office if he lost or even if he won a 2nd term? He even joked about that.

I know where he got the idea - from former mayor of NYC Bloomberg who defied term limits to demand a third term here in NYC. Bloomberg was as undemocratic a mayor as we've had, punishing critics or buying them off. Community groups suddenly went silent, bought off with Bloomberg donations.

We saw that first hand in his takeover of the education department just how dictatorial were he and his henchman, Joel Klein and Dennis Walcott (see my post the other day, Former Bloomberg Hit Man Dennis Walcott as Queens Library Head Absolves Himself of Responsibilty for Errors - What Else is New?)

And how about that Cathy Black appointment as chancellor?

He called the rising test scores "a  great victory," but they were bogus all along
https://nypost.com/2011/02/20/new-yorks-school-testing-con/

And those school cheating scandals stem directly from Bloomberg policy.

And remember the wasted time and money over building a stadium on the west side? Imagine traffic in the city.

As for racism, Bloomberg is certainly in Trump territory, just smoother. Stop and frisk is exhibit number one. Since it's been cut down, the crime rate still dropped.

How about those gentrification real estate deals? Bloomberg is way more responsible for the homeless crisis because he refused to build housing - he wanted to push poor and even middle class people out of the city. I taught in Williamsburg and saw what his policies did to that neighborhood which is so crowded and dense and overbuilt with awful architecture too. Are there some good outcomes? Of course but anyone who allows what happened without thinking through the consequences is bad news.

How about the transportation issues? Billions for a few fancy subway stations with no concept of expanding service to more areas that needed it.  Just see that Hudson Yards #7 train station as an example.

And sexism - the guy who told pregnant women who worked for him to "get rid of it?" Oh, I could go on.

Bloomberg is not running against Trump but to stop Bernie or Warren.

He and fellow billionaires are terrified at the thought of high tax rates and cutting into their wealth which is used to give them inordinate power over everyone else.

Bloomberg inspires fear to members of the press who might one day be looking for a job -- I remember getting that feeling from some reporters over their weak, fawning coverage of the Bloomberg years.

We already saw that act here in NYC.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Former Bloomberg Hit Man Dennis Walcott as Queens Library Head Absolves Himself of Responsibilty for Errors - What Else is New?

When Dennis M. Walcott, a former New York City schools chancellor, took over the helm of the Queens Library system in 2016, the branch was just an empty shell on the Long Island City waterfront. By that point, Mr. Walcott said in an interview, the focus was on finishing the building, not in rethinking its details... NYT
Right. The very same guy who was Bloomberg's hit man on the schools for a dozen years making another excuse.  Ahhh, I remember him defending the appointment of Cathy Black as chancellor to succeed Joel Klein and then took over for her after she was dumped.
The congestion is compounded by the placement of the main stroller parking area on a second floor landing, which is insufficient for the dozens of strollers sometimes seeking a spot.
“It’s crazy right now,” said Nikki Rheaume, one of three children’s librarians, as she tried to navigate a crush of strollers around the second floor elevator last Wednesday, when dozens of strollers descended on the building. “It’s chaos.”... NYT on $41 million library mess
Update: A comment from a reader points to Walcott's history - and by the way he replaced a corrupt Queens library head before him - and to the role played by Melinda Katz as borough pres in getting Walcott the job.
Walcott lacks any qualifications for the job. He and the entire board should be removed for this fiasco. He has been on public welfare for so long. The politicians in Albany keep finding him jobs. He is one reason why I did not vote for the female Dem candidate for DA. She has proven bad judgement year after year but the public has not paid attention to her incompetence.
Most professional employees at the library system are ignored and marginalized. DW has no idea who they are or what they can really do for our residents nor do the idiot architects. No one spends the time, money, and effort to becomes a highly skilled library professional in the digital age only to be assigned carrying books up and down stadium stairs. Watch the career of the person who spoke out. She is marked for extinction.
This is just a repeat of the similar debacles he left with us all over the school system. (Not qualified there either.)
Yes - his role alone in closing so many NYC schools and supporting charters should have resulted in intervention by the UFT when Walcott was appointed.

You can see this library from the Manhattan side of the east river from the 34st ferry terminal. I had to check it out and took a 5 minute ferry to Hunters Point - I also wanted to talk to the librarian about dropping off copies of the Indypendent every month. I loved the design - outside and the views from inside. But it did not seem to be as good an idea functionally. I shlepped up stairs and down stairs and it was just weird the way the books were placed and where they were placed -- with a few desks on each level.

A week ago reports surfaced over leaks and cracks. And then this from our old NYT ed reporter Sharon Otterman who should be well acquainted with the squirmy Walcott.

New Library Is a $41.5 Million Masterpiece. But About Those Stairs.

“It’s chaos,” said one of the children’s librarians. 
 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/05/nyregion/long-island-city-library.html

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Jim Vail - The Chicago Teacher Strike - A View from the Inside - Part 2

So the strike helped expose the lies of politicians, and the fight between the people 99% and the billionaires 1% who supported Lightfoot's campaign. It was an eye opener to teachers who voted for Lightfoot based on her lies.

The union leadership organized and ran a very successful strike to fight for better schools. They are to be commended for that. 


But the union leadership also plays a dirty political game that they say they have to in order to get anything in this system. 
this strike won't change the ugly reality we live in today - where over the past 30 years or so the 1% have accumulated 21 trillion dollars, while the rest of us have lost 900 billion dollars. 
.... Jim Vail
In the continuing search for truth and justice, on the Chicago teacher strike I've been looking for articles that come from different directions - examining all sides of the cube to see through the chaff. Like you know you can expect a glowing victory article from Labor Notes and an attack from the World Socialists on the far left. The liberal press will support the liberal mayor and the right wing will attack her for caving. It is a spin zone.

In every one of these posts on other teacher unions, keep in mind how our union operates here in NYC and compare it to the others. Despite the different political views of the UFT leadership (center Democrat - Biden type politician) and the CTU leadership (social democrat - Bernie  like), they operate on some levels in the same way -- with the CTU being more top-down that one would expect.

Yesterday I presented an insider view from someone I trust who is not in the leadership but close to it. Assessing The Chicago Teacher Strike - A View from...

Today I am presenting the views of Jim Vail, not loved by the CTU leadership if I remember correctly, an original CORE member from a decade ago but who became a left critic of the leadership. I got to hang out a bit with him at the AFT convention in Detroit in 2012 when he was still a delegate and we did agree on some of the critical issues. Here is his report republished from Substance and first published on Jim Vail's website Second City Teachers, which may be accessed here. Jim exposes the Lori Lightfoot sham which was predictable based on her supporters. (But it is funny to see the left Jacobins attacking Elizabeth Warren on similar grounds despite the fact that Wall St hates her guts.

Strike ends! Was it a win for teachers?




The Chicago Teachers Strike finally came to a crashing end after a historic 11-day walkout, the longest teachers strike since 1987.


The union and its supporters are going to say it was a win. The opposition and those with high hopes will say it was not.


And that was reflected in the vote - 364 - 242 to end the strike.

So the union was a bit divided when they voted on ratifying the tentative agreement.

Chicago Teachers Union CTU President Jesse Sharkey stated that the delegates vote on the contract, that he is not here to sell the contract.

But he then went on to sell the contract - saying repeatedly it would be a risk to strike for another week or so with no guarantee we would get more in the contract. But he didn't sell it hard, he knew people would be disappointed.


CTU Vice President Stacy Gates played politics – putting a tweet on the board for the delegates to show that the Speaker and the Governor have agreed to support an Elected School Board.

Another political promise?


Mayor Lori Lightfoot campaigned on empty promises of supporting the neighborhood schools and adding more social workers and nurses, straight from the CTU playbook. When it came down to putting her pledges in writing - she refused until the union and the strike forced her to put some things in writing (about $400 million in extra staffing and support for the schools).


She promised to invest in the South and West Sides that have been neglected, and now in office she is fighting against activists who sued the Lincoln Yards $1.2 billion TIF where tax money to help those "blighted" areas is instead going to a wealthy development company called Sterling Bay. She gave these guys everything they wanted in writing.


She also campaigned for an elected school board and then immediately stopped it. The union has a right to be furious with her.


So the strike helped expose the lies of politicians, and the fight between the people 99% and the billionaires 1% who supported Lightfoot's campaign. It was an eye opener to teachers who voted for Lightfoot based on her lies.

The union leadership organized and ran a very successful strike to fight for better schools. They are to be commended for that.


But the union leadership also plays a dirty political game that they say they have to in order to get anything in this system.


So it was disappointing to hear our leaders say Mayor Lightfoot was fanatical, or religious, a true believer - who wanted a five-year contract (crazy for that long since she can do a lot of damage by closing a lot more schools in her alliance with development), no extra prep time for elementary school teachers (this preserved the 'longer school day' that she they say has led to higher graduation rates) and no change to the Reach teacher evaluation system used to fire lots of teachers at a time of extreme teacher shortages.


What was the union zealous about? What exactly were we all willing to not go back to school until we got it?


The union framed it as a cap on class sizes - we got some good stuff in writing, far from perfect, a nurse in every school, every day (look close at the contract wording!), veteran pay (not that much considering $25 million over five years) and extra pay for Para Professionals (a definite win the union and teachers can be proud of). They forced CPS to increased the sports budget by 35%, adding $5 million to a meager $15 million was a win for city athletics.


It was very inspiring to hear many high school delegates say that their schools still wanted to strike to support of the elementary schools getting a 30 minute prep period each day, to ensure a better school day. Solidarity!

This contract is a reflection of the ruling class attack on public education that was at the apex when President Barack Obama took office in 2008 and implemented the Race to the Top.


The teachers unions supported President Obama (the newly elected CORE leadership was able to abstain from an endorsement, though former CTU President Karen Lewis pushed for it).


Like one of the many colorful signs said during the teachers protests - Unlike Burger King, you can't have it both ways!


But ultimately politics played a very big role here. It almost became a pissing match between the Mayor and the CTU. Nobody wanted to lose - within the box they were playing.


As the great political philosopher and linguist Noam Chomsky says, in the American system you put everything within a box - and within that box you can have some very rigorous debate and free speech. But in this system you are not allowed to go outside that box.


So this strike won't change the ugly reality we live in today - where over the past 30 years or so the 1% have accumulated 21 trillion dollars, while the rest of us have lost 900 billion dollars.


It is a fight not only for teachers, but all of us!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Assessing The Chicago Teacher Strike - A View from the Inside - Part 1

Using the strike weapon is why we won those items, and I want all members to understand the true power of withholding our labor. This strike mattered....now is a time for celebrating what we DID win. I want our members to feel the power of collective action. That those 11 days on the pickets and in the streets got us wins we were told were unwinnable. How we forced items like class sizes and staffing into this contract. Not at the levels we need, but it is now there forever more.... We used more democracy than probably any other union, though often imperfect and rushed. I’ll take a small piece of the credit for that, too, as I believe that I, alongside my other fighter friends, helped push for more transparency and rank & file input. Not claiming we did it alone, by any means, but advocating from below is a powerful force to push us towards justice....
Chicago teacher, member of bargaining team and Ex Bd. 
with my teaching income pretty much stagnant for 13 years while expenses keep growing, I figure I probably should be focusing on savings rather than on education reform.... Another CTU  teacher and original member of CORE
This is part of a series of commentary and reposts from fans and critics of
the CTU strike. It is not always easy to compare what happens in the CTU with the UFT - apples and oranges in many ways. But in a series of posts I'm working on about the recent strike and some of the issues that have boiled to the surface with attacks coming at the CTU from the left and of course the right. Remember, the mayor is considered a liberal "progressive" by the press and the right wing. But that puts her in the Joel Klein/Bloomberg territory and she showed it during the strike.

One of the differences between the UFT(Unity Caucus) and the CTU (CORE Caucus) is the willingness to take on the financial world and liberal elites while here the UFT is part of that world.

I was lucky in that I met many of the future leaders of the CTU over 10 years ago at a meeting in Los Angeles and over the years have learned which people can be trusted to give honest assessments instead of spin.

Here is an eloquent report on FB from a member of the bargaining team and an Ex Bd member of the CTU who was somewhat critical over the last contract in 2016.  I met her a few times when we were in Chicago and what passion as a teacher and activist. A hero to many. Following that is one of her pals, another wonderful guy I met, who respects with her but is voting NO. She does one of the best explanations of the power of a strike. My former MORE colleagues should take a page from her book when they push the idea here.

Over the years she has always been open about the problems inside the CTU and CORE, but if there were never problems we would be in a perfect world. She doesn't judge people as evidenced by this comment:
I will not tolerate folks belittling or “calling out” those who have made a rational appraisal of the wins/losses and decided that we must win more. I also respect members who are expressing gratitude for what we did win. This was an immensely difficult fight. Both sides can be right at the same time. This is a complicated and nuanced decision.
And important to me was that she respected the views of the late George Schmidt who was an internal critic of the leadership and was made to pay for it.

The key is to face disagreements and not bury them and this is something acolytes of the CTU and CORE on the left all too often do. Raise them up as a social justice union to some ideal standard in comparison to the so-called business unionism like they claim the UFT is -- see my recent post where I define some of the differences in the bargaining process where even some fans of our Unity Caucus agree that the UFT would have taken the originally offered 16% and run without even the thought of a strike: Bargaining for the Common Good: The UFT and the Chicago Teachers Union - A Sharp Contrast

From a CTU teacher, member of the bargaining team and ex bd:
After some time to reflect and process, I am left with a feeling of pride for the work we did as a united group of 35,000 workers standing up for justice.

We engaged in an open-ended strike with an unknown outcome, demanding BIG demands. This was not 2012, where the act of striking itself was the main objective. This was not a one day 2016 deal either. We spent over a year collecting proposals from our rank and file, processing them, and developing a list of truly transformational demands. We threw out the playbook of engaging in a 5-7 day demonstrative strike action and did a real, uncertain, terrifying strike against power and money. We went on the offensive to force those powerful and monied interests in this city to invest in our schools. After decades of disinvestment and sabotage.

Now, there were moments internally that were hard and nasty. This was a hard and nasty fight against a hard and nasty ruling class in this city. I won’t ignore those abuses. 

But now is a time for celebrating what we DID win. I want our members to feel the power of collective action. That those 11 days on the pickets and in the streets got us wins we were told were unwinnable. How we forced items like class sizes and staffing into this contract. Not at the levels we need, but it is now there forever more. This won’t be immediate, but we will have a nurse and social worker in every school. That’s not nothing. We won serious raises for our PSRPs, as well as our SECAs and bus aides, some of the lowest paid workers in our district. We won money for sports programs. We won guaranteed nap time and enforceable 10:1 staffing ratios for our Pre-K students. We fixed some of the main drivers of the sub crisis, including allowing banking of 200+ more sick days. We have paved the way for the fight on Student Based Budgeting and the School Quality Rating Policy, though I wish we’d gotten more. It looks like the 4.5 law, which restricts our bargaining rights, will finally be repealed. Using the strike weapon is why we won those items, and I want all members to understand the true power of withholding our labor. This strike mattered.

We did not win everything we needed. I am disappointed in the weak case manager allocations, the large class size caps (especially for middle school), and the fact that we were not able to win the kind of time/workload relief our members desperately need. I do believe we should have waged a more comprehensive and coordinated campaign on the morning prep time issue. Members in our elementary schools have been especially disrespected for too long. I believe those of us who fought for collaborative prep time were right to advocate for it. And I will keep fighting for equity for our 18,000 majority female elementary teachers and staff, time to fulfill the legal collaboration requirements of our IEPs, safety for our students, and respect for the complex work we do educating young children after this contract is ratified.

We pushed the boundaries of what is possible through a strike. We struck, side by side with our sister union SEIU 73, for the first time in our union’s history. And I will take some small piece of the credit for that victory of solidarity. I helped push that early on, and I believe it made our fight stronger. Though I was certainly not the only one that helped make this happen. So many others helped make that red & purple solidarity a thing!

We used more democracy than probably any other union, though often imperfect and rushed. I’ll take a small piece of the credit for that, too, as I believe that I, alongside my other fighter friends, helped push for more transparency and rank & file input. Not claiming we did it alone, by any means, but advocating from below is a powerful force to push us towards justice.

We didn’t drop most of our demands, even though there was certainly pressure to do so. 

I respect members who are a hard “no” on this TA. Five years is a long time to not have all that we need for better schools. And I will not tolerate folks belittling or “calling out” those who have made a rational appraisal of the wins/losses and decided that we must win more. I also respect members who are expressing gratitude for what we did win. This was an immensely difficult fight. Both sides can be right at the same time. This is a complicated and nuanced decision.

Regardless, the end of a contract fight is not the end of the overall fight. The attacks on public education are not over. The austerity project against public services has not ended. The ruling class will try to come for us. We fight on, somewhat broken and beaten up, because we must. Because our students deserve it. Because we are one of the only united forces that can stand up to the rich and their pillaging of our society’s wealth. We are truly the vanguard in the fight for justice.

Striking is a fundamentally transformative action. Seeing the creativity and the passion that our members demonstrated out there on the streets as well as the often crunchy, but I believe genuine, work inside the bargaining team, tells me we are nowhere near ready to give up.
I believe in us, our power as workers, and in continuing the push for collective struggle. Solidarity.
Below is a reply from another CORE member:
I appreciate this sentiment and I really appreciate all the work you put into this. I am a hard no, but I will not belittle those who are willing to accept this deal and I am very thankful for the work the BBT did. I’d love to make the sort of only the beginning bows we made in 2012, but I remember 2016 too well and with my teaching income pretty much stagnant for 13 years while expenses keep growing, I figure I probably should be focusing on savings rather than on education reform.
 

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Parsing Randi on Health Care - From Under Assault

This is a great post from a former ICEUFT colleague who blogs as Under Assault. She exposes the details of Randi's faux Medicare for All speaking out of 5 sides of her mouth. I keep wondering about the arguments our union leaders are making in favor of private insurance and arguing for the ability to bargain on health care in contracts when it is clear removing health care from bargaining can't be anything but advantageous. And then I began to think of the UFT Welfare Fund which gives the leadership control over the machinery (and patronage) that is paid for by the city.


"The glib and oily art to speak and purpose not" (part I)

https://underassault.blogspot.com/2019/11/the-glib-and-oily-art-to-speak-and.html 

Medicare for All means restructuring the tax code to eradicate a market-driven, for-profit industry that deprives Americans of coverage, needless expense and choice.

I'd venture to say that what the 99% really wants — in addition to universal coverage, of course — is a reduction of the overall costs we pay for health. Those include taxes and the out-of-pocket amounts we're hit with in the current design of things.

Unfortunately, as the Kaiser Foundation noted earlier this month, you can't discern that widely held position from the polls. Wording of the questionnaires themselves affects the responses you get, and how successful politicians and their spokespersons "sell" the various proposals in different parts of the country also makes analysis slippery.

The true Medicare for All candidates, catching the tailwind of the two bills already introduced in the Senate and House, are very clear on the issues. We have to change the tax structure to achieve two goals: make healthcare universal and reduce the overall cost. What's in their way is Big Money, Big Pharma and a couple of the Big Unions, ours included.

That the AFT/UFT's position on Medicare for All is not progressive, even spineless and duplicitous, is clear from Weingarten's Sept. 27th letter in the Jacobin, from which I'll riff on a few things she's written.

"I am supportive of AFT members fighting for diverse viewpoints and positions"
and "the AFT has embarked on a very different process — one that puts member engagement front and center."

Silky smooth. The fact that leadership may support members "fighting for diverse viewpoints" doesn't mean that Weingarten, Mulgrew or execs actually listen to or buy into the  arguments made by the rank and file, particularly those of us who support M4A legislation. In fact, I'd argue there is a certain hostility to polling the membership, much less following its lead.
"I want that glib and oily art to speak and purpose not." (Shakespeare, King Lear, act 1)

"Everything that deceives may be said to enchant." (Plato, The Republic, book 1)

"We agree that we must make healthcare a basic, universal human right ... but ... I don’t believe there is just one way to get there."
It's way too facile to agree with Progressives that healthcare is a basic right. To suggest that there's more than one way to get it is catastrophic for any real change. Every proposal that sidelines M4A legislation buttresses the fundamentally self-serving layer of bureaucratic redundancy and greed we have now in for-profit insurance. But Weingarten supports that fluffy prose.
"We may yet go singing on our way — it makes the road less irksome." (Virgil, Eclogue 9)

"The safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts." (C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters)
In fact, restructuring the tax code is the only way to kill this dragon and make healthcare truly universal and truly universally accessible.
"There is but one road that leads to Corinth" (Pater, Marius the Epicurean)

"I argued for Medicare for all as a floor, not a ceiling, with a role if people want for private insurance."

This stance is idiotic. Anyone who advocates for it condones for-profit healthcare.
"Here the boundaries meet and all contradictions exist side by side." (Dostoevski, The Brothers Karamazov)

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable." (Mencken, Prejudices, 3rd series)
And, in fact:
"This was the most unkindest cut of all." (Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, act 3)

"In concept, health insurance is supposed to lower the cost of care and expand coverage ..." That's a false premise right there. Let's be honest. The purpose of health insurance right now in this country is to limit the amount of care people can get and make money for shareholders.
"He who would distinguish the true from the false must have an adequate idea of what is true and false." (Spinoza, Ethics, pt.1)

"Truth exists, only falsehood has to be invented." (Braque, Pénseés sur l'Art)

"That which has always been accepted by everyone, everywhere, is almost certain to be false." (Valéry, Tel quel)

... Unfortunately it hasn't worked that way. Medicare for All is one way to fix the concept, but it’s not the only way. The point is to get to universal coverage, and to stop the prohibitive costs that keep prescription drugs and healthcare out of reach for too many people."
You can't stop "prohibitive costs" when the biggest players back industry-driven out-of-pocket expenses. This argument is essentially a sham.
"A picture is something which requires as much knavery, trickery, and deceit as the perpetration of a crime." (attributed to Degas)

"If I be false, or swerve a hair from truth ...
Upbraid my falsehood!" (Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida, act 3)
Upbraid her falsehood indeed.



" ... the goal for us as a union remains finding a standard-bearer who fights for universal coverage."
So they want us to fight just for universal coverage? If that's all she's willing to go to the mat for, our cause is truly hopeless.
What might ills have not been done by woman!
Who was 't betrayed the Capitol? — A woman!
Who lost Mark Antony the world? — A woman!
Who was the cause of a long ten years' war,
And laid at last old Troy in ashes? — Woman!
Destructive, damnable, deceitful woman!
         (Otway, The Orphan, act 3)