Friday, October 29, 2021

Fred Smith - To truly clean up Albany, Kathy Hochul needs to boot SUNY Chancellor James Malatras - NY Post


To truly clean up Albany, Kathy Hochul needs to boot SUNY Chancellor James Malatras

October 27, 2021 7:16pm Updated


Hercules brought together two rivers to flush out the dung that had accumulated in King Augeas’ stables for years. But is our new governor, Kathy Hochul, truly committed to removing the compacted mess King Andrew Cuomo left behind? Call this challenge a Hochul-ean task.

James Malatras offers a test case, centering on his installation as chancellor of SUNY — which came with a $435,000 salary and gave him sway over a well-regarded system of 64 colleges and universities. An estimated annual $11 billion budget and a workforce of 46,000 support this enterprise.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Mulgrew Sleazily Sells New Health Care Plan like used cars, future retirees will have no options, Unions Shouldn’t Be Helping the Health Industry

The last time I saw Unity selling something so hard, so irrationally – it was the 2005 contract. I recoiled with mistrust at the hard sell. As any thinking person might do now. ... Jonathan Halabi, former UFT Ex Bd

There's something profoundly disturbing about our opposition to the New York Health Act. We are, in effect, opposing single payer health insurance for the entire state of New York. It's not just that we're hindering something much needed, a veritable moral imperative. It's not just that we are slowing down potential progress toward ending the national disgrace that is our health system. In fact, we are doing both those things. These things alone could qualify as profoundly disturbing, but we've gone beyond that... Arthur Goldstein, Ex Bd Member

Thursday, October 28 - 8AM

This update is packed with info. 

To me Mulgrew is as criminal as Joe Manchin. Our union's backing for a privatized plan damages the entire movement towards a rational health care system and in essence takes us in the opposite direction -- which will ultimately undermine and destroy Medicare.

No matter where you stand, it is clear that the solution to our union and national health care issues is a single payer plan, which the UFT opposes. 

Arthur takes them to task in his recent blog which has gotten some excellent response from people looking to Arthur to take the leadership to task. Arthur is in his 6th year on the UFT Ex Bd, so hearing this from him counts:

UFT Must Support Single Payer and New York Health Act

Today at 1PM is City Council hearing on medicare bait and switch being pushed by UFT. -- City Council oversight hearing on Changes to Municipal Retirees' Healthcare Plan - Thursday Oct. 21 1PM - Livestream. You can go in person to attend inside or join people outside on Broadway and Murray St. But also livestream at

Remember those Johnny Carson sleazy skits where he is super slick and trying to sell you something? That is how Mulgrew comes across.
Mulgrew told those of us against we will thank him in 3 years.
Mulgrew’s last email: 90% of hospitals will be in network
In earlier town halls it was 98% of doctors and hospitals. 
Try to get the 98% quote from the town hall audio and lo and be hold yhey deleted it.
If Mulgrew's numbers of participants keep dropping - when he hits 75% yell BULLSHIT BINGO.

Lawsuit stuff --- 

The lawyers have been telling those who opted out to rescind -- so far my wife and I are not -- because he thinks our opt out might tie us to agree to pay the extra $191 a month each starting Jan. 1 might bind us even of the judge throws the overall agreement out. I don't believe he gave any indication of that and focused on the scummy way the info was presented and insists they come back with a better presentation -- thus the opt out period will be extended -- the union has been making noises about that but with 3 days to go why expect them to tell us?
Here is some more info:

Steve Cohen was the lawyer for the Retiree Group and he presents advice about the TRO (Temporary Restraining Order), whether or not you already opted out and what you should do, and his opinion about future retirees.

To those friends that are still employed, Mr. Cohen predicts that future retirees will have only one plan health plan option upon retirement - a medicare advantage plan.

I urge all to listen and watch this video.

Jonathan Halabi blogs with good analysis: Another Comment about the Medicare Advantage Preliminary Injunction

 Does Frank say that he is giving retirees more time to learn about Medicare Advantage Plus?

No, he says the implementation plan is irrational. He further states “if [retirees] are required to opt-in or out of a medical program by the October 31, 2021 deadline there would certainly be irreparable harm.” And he orders the Municipal Labor Coalition (including the UFT) and the City not to give retirees more time to think it over. He orders them to:

“… cure deficiencies with the implementation of the proposed new Medicare Advantage Plan… “

Honorable Lyle E Frank

In a previous blog post One Comment about the Medicare Advantage Preliminary Injunction

 Jon wrote --

Mulgrew sent out:

“Can I go to my current doctors and hospitals? Yes. The NYC Medicare Advantage Plus Plan is a Group Medicare PPO, which does not restrict access to providers.”

Municipal Labor Committee “Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the NYC Medicare Advantage Plus Plan” (updated 8/11/21, on City of New York letterhead, with Emblem and Empire logos.)

The judge wrote:

“there is little clarity as to which health care providers will be accepting this new Medicare Advantage Plan” and “it is undisputed that much of the program terms are still unsettled and unclear.”

Honorable Lyle E Frank

It is hard to reconcile those two statements.

But before we believe that either is lying, remember that the judge is a lawyer, and Mulgrew doesn’t speak to members on big issues without talking to a lawyer first. And if lawyers wrote both of these things, then perhaps these things do not mean exactly what we think they do.

An old DA Pal, Pete S, posted this comment on the Retiree Advocate listserve:

I am a Retiree who worked at a School in Manhattan for 17 years, 8 of which I  was a Delegate.

Our so-called leadership has tried to sell us on a new health plan without ever consulting the membership before consenting to it's endorsement at the MLC. 
I believe that: 
1- a document (s) clearly comparing and contrasting the members' insurance options should be sent to every member of our union; a) then the members should directly vote on which plan should be endorsed; 
2- although we are forced to work through the Court system I believe that a discussion should take place about any other means at our disposal to force our leadership to heed the voice of the membership, to be more accountable to the membership, to dispense information more openly and honestly.
                    *           *          *
Also,  many thanks to those of Retiree Advocate and groups in the union 
who have tirelessly worked for a more democratically structured union and leadership transparency.
Finally, here is a must read article about how our union's backing for a privatized plan damages the entire movement towards a rational health care system and in essence takes us in the opposite direction -- which will ultimately undermine and destroy Medicare. To Mulgrew is as criminal as Joe Manchin.

Unions Shouldn’t Be Helping the Health Industry | Portside

Portside Date:
Author: Julia Rok
Date of source:

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

City Council oversight hearing on Changes to Municipal Retirees' Healthcare Plan - Thursday Oct. 21 1PM - Livestream

If you can go in person to attend inside or join people outside on Broadway and Murray St. But also livestream at

The yellow announcement below this message is for the action outside the City Council hearing we're calling A People's Hearing--not to be confused with what's going on inside the chambers. For the actual hearing inside, you can submit your testimony via email to or bring it to read in person. 

Either way, we are also asking municipal retirees to send a copy of their testimony to read outside at A People's Hearing. You can send it to

Dear New Yorker/Municipal Retiree:
This Thursday, October 28, 2021, beginning at 1 pm in the Council Chambers of New York City Hall (map ), the New York City Council’s Committee on Civil Service and Labor, chaired by Council Member I. Daneek Miller, wil l hold an in-person oversight hearing on Changes to Municipal Retirees' Healthcare Plan .
On behalf of City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, we invite you to attend and to weigh in further on this topic. 
As noted on the Council’s website here , in-person hearings do not require pre-registration. However, all individuals who wish to testify in person at City Hall must adhere to the following COVID-19 safety protocols:
  • Properly wear a face covering at all times while in City Hall;
  • Maintain physical distancing of 6 feet from others at all times except when not feasible in limited circumstances; and
  • Complete a Covid-19 health screening questionnaire, which will be posted at the entrance to City Hall, prior to entering the building.
If you plan to participate, it would be greatly appreciated if you could bring twenty (20) copies double-sided of your written testimony to the hearing. 
Public testimony will begin following the testimony of any invited experts. Depending on the number of people who attend, you may have a limited amount of time to speak in order to allow as many people as possible to present their views.

Due to COVID-19 social distancing protocols, seating in the Council Chambers is limited and cannot be guaranteed, and you may be directed to an overflow room until it is your turn to testify.
Testimony may also be submitted online at up to 72 hours after the hearing has been adjourned.
For questions about accessibility or to request additional accommodations, please contact the Council’s EEO Officer at  or call (212) 788-6936 at least three (3) business days before the hearing.
If you need non-English language interpretation, please email , at least three (3) business days before the hearing. Please include the following information in your email:
  • Name and date of the hearing; and
  • Your full name, telephone number, and email address.
Finally, the hearing will be webcast live at . (See Live Stream: City Hall Chambers.)
Thank you and stay safe. 

Correspondence Unit

Community Engagement Division
Office of New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson     
NYC Council

Friday, October 22, 2021

Corrected - Retirees Win Temporary Halt to Change in Medicare --- Judge calls for "rational" implementation, Public Hearing NOT Cancelled

....if the petitioners and similarly situated individuals are required to opt-in or out of a medical program by the October 31, 2021 deadline there would certainly be irreparable harm.

SEND US ALL EMAILS SHE SENDS YOU, AND EMAIL US ASAP IF SHE CALLS.... NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees (for Benefit Preservation)

They are disagreeing with implementation of the plan… not the substance or the rationale.... UFT retiree

you should see the  celebration on Facebook. Like it's VE day. Don't think they grasp what the decision says.  .. A retiree
Friday, October 22, 2021, 7AM

This story broke last night and people are going hog wild. I would hold back on the celebrating over the long-term but for now it feels pretty good to see the Mulgrew/DeBlasio gang smacked down in court for such poor implementation and has ordered them to do it over. 

The Oct. 31 opt-out date is looming and assume that will be extended --- we did opt out already in three different ways (no one trusts these characters). I will reiterate that the confusion was intentional - we had to opt out of the new plan to stay  in the old plan and we had to submit papers to this brand new company that was created instead of the city -- irrational implementation as the judge stated.

Why did those who wanted to stay in Medicare (pays 80%) and Emblem/GHI Seniorcare (20%) have to be the ones to opt out? It should have been the people who wanted the new plan to be the ones to opt in. Fundamentally, few want the new plan and the major reason to take it is to avoid the extortion fee - which for us is about $4500 a year - to stay in the old plan.

There's a lot of commentary on the Retiree Advocate listserve and I will follow up with some of them interesting ones later. Here is the latest from The City --

Court Blocks Controversial Medicare Switch for Retired NYC Workers

That is why we are paying the extortion fee -- for assurance - it's insurance like flood insurance which we pay every year over 40 years but all it took was the one big flood of Sandy in 2012 to make it worth it.

This is a temporary victory but the judge also smacked down the Aetna and United Health suit -- other privatiser vultures who want a piece of the action. 

Full decision here.

.....while the Court has already determined that respondents’ ultimate determination of choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan provider was rational and does not intend to disturb that determination, the Court finds that the implementation of its program is irrational and if the petitioners and similarly situated individuals are required to opt-in or out of a medical program by the October 31, 2021 deadline there would certainly be irreparable harm. 
Accordingly, it is hereby 
ORDERED that the respondents are enjoined from enforcing the October 31, 2021 Opt- Out/ Opt-In date; 
and it is further
ORDERED that petitioners maintain the status-quo enrollment in until the respondents cure deficiencies with the implementation of the proposed new Medicare Advantage Plan, and it is further
ORDERED that such new plan be sent to this Court for this Court to review and determine whether such plan cures the defects as indicated above, and it if further
ORDERED that such plan be sent to the petitioner’s counsel seven days prior to such submission to the Court and petitioner may then provide any input regarding the proposed new plan to the Court.

So they will come back with the same deal but try to get it write on informing us and all that jazz. How long will it take? The rest of my lifespan wouldn't be bad -- oops -- I better not say anything -- they could come back tomorrow and I'd go "pfoof".

And on another front, there was supposed to be a hearing next week to talk about all this stuff --- are the roaches scurrying under their rocks?

CORRECTED - There was confusion as another public hearing was cancelled


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Contract Public Hearing scheduled for Thursday, October 28, 2021, at 10:00 AM, is hereby cancelled.

IN THE MATTER OF a proposed contract between the City of New York acting through Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations – Employee Benefits Program on behalf of the Labor Management Health Insurance Policy Committee for the New York City Health Benefits Program and Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. doing business as Empire BlueCross BlueShield Retiree SolutioFollns, 120 Monument Circle, Indianapolis, IN 46204, in strategic alliance with EmblemHealth Plan, Inc., for the provision of health benefits services in the form of a Medicare Advantage plan under Medicare Part C for the Medicare eligible retirees and dependents of the City of New York who are eligible for the City’s Health Benefits Program. The proposed contract is in the amount of approximately $23,000,000.00. The contract term shall be from January 1, 2022 to December 31, 2026 with two one-year renewal options.  E-PIN #: 0021N002.

The proposed contractor has been selected by Negotiated Acquisition Method, pursuant to Section 3-04 (b)(2)(ii) of the Procurement Policy Board Rules.

The aforesaid Public Hearing has been NOT BEEN cancelled.


Thursday, October 21, 2021

‘Bait and Switch’ - Retirees Flee City Medicare Program as Deadline Looms for Move to Private Health Plan - The City

Lots of breaking news on the union health issue front which I will post soon but this article nails some issues - Pete Zucker called yesterday asking to be filled in - his take ---

I call it extortion of $191 a month each for me and my wife to opt out and keep what we were getting for free.

Retirees Flee City Medicare Program as Deadline Looms for Move to Private Health Plan

Uncertainty about coverage and costs under Medicare Advantage has a quarter million former city workers on edge. Two lawsuits seeking to block the move are slated to be heard in court Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Attending My First Delegate Assembly - An 8th Year Elementary Teacher Comments

That was quite an initiation to the Delegate Assembly ... new delegate

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Last week's first DA of the year has created a lot of comment, including mine - Mulgrew Slammed as Delegates React to His Angry Rants - Delegate Assembly (Oct. 13) Report #1

I guess this is report #2 and more to come. 

While I always enjoy reading Arthur's straight and James' comments on the DA, I loved this report from a first time with her comments. A voice from the rank and file, an early childhood teacher who spends her days in classrooms, as opposed to the people who have been running our union. (I would trust people like her to make better decisions for UFT members. Put real classroom teachers in charge.) I told her she has a future as a reporter from the DA. I hope she comes back regularly to report.

Attending My First Delegate Assembly

by A new delegate

Got through my first UFT Delegate Assembly tonight (October 13, 2021)

Quite an experience. Opted for virtual, since the registration program kept glitching and I didn’t trust there would be room for me. It did give me the chance to take notes/jot down thoughts, some of them here: 

Mulgrew acknowledged repeatedly at the beginning that we are, in fact, still in a pandemic. Strange that this has to be said. 

Clarified that observation options for MOTP are still being negotiated. DOH is no longer conducting investigations re: Covid in schools and they are the ones responsible for setting Covid protocols—this leaves principals on the hook to gamble with spread in their schools when the Situation Room calls. Yikes. 

Continued to tout that positivity rates in schools are low, while at the same time saying over and over that testing "fell apart" this year—how can both be true? 

If our testing is as bad as claimed, why are we trusting the data? 

Claimed that ventilation hasn't been fixed in decades because there's no OSHA for the public sector, but there is PESH, so…huh? 

During a bit about SBOs, Mulgrew asked for a show of hands in person and needed to be reminded to open it up to virtual attendees. He did not acknowledge the reminder. Took until questioning and he had to ask how to let us participate. At one point referred to virtual participation as “Never Never Land," does he intend to take virtual participants seriously? 

Instructed us to tell members “do not be afraid of observations.” Acknowledged that some admins use them as form of harassment, but dealing with that issue won't happen until at least next year. How can we bring that back to our chapters and tell them not to be afraid? 

Mulgrew, why are you using words like “gypped" when you’re speaking in a formal forum?! Are you joking?! It wouldn't matter, honestly, that's not okay. 

Where are all the subs the Mayor promised?: Mulgrew says he has no idea where BdB’s 11k came from, we have roughly 6.5k substitutes. 

Every single health care speaker was chastised, interrupted, and deemed out of order. As a new delegate it appears I'll need clarification on when we're allowed to talk about health care, because this happened during multiple parts of the agenda. 

Acknowledged that nurses are being split across schools, some responsible for thousands of students at once. That’s horrific. 

During questioning, Mulgrew only called on people wearing pink for breast cancer awareness. This was audibly evident on the call and confirmed by delegates who attended in person. While breast cancer awareness is a worthwhile cause, that is not how these meetings are supposed to work. A member reportedly stormed out after Mulgrew refused to call on her based on the color of her clothing, yelling that she herself is a breast cancer survivor. 

Motions and resolutions: 

Rules of Order state that motions will only be added to agenda (unless under 3 sentences) IF they are written and distributed to delegates. Received no information via email. Still expected to vote or miss our chance. If motions are being distributed in person only, it seems this would violate the Rules of Order themselves as written. 

Peter Lamphere was interrupted twice and deemed out of order—the second time he wasn't able to even finish his first sentence, he wanted to extend the motion period so more people could speak. Mulgrew interrupted to call him out of order and declare that it was the resolution period—why was Peter permitted to speak and introduce a motion if the motion period was already over? 

Members chanted about health care after members attempted to speak about health-related issues 3x and were ALL interrupted/deemed out of order. 

A number of delegates walked out of the meeting, Mulgrew dismissively said "buh-bye" and insisted that another member introduce a resolution by talking over their fellow members. It was an uncomfortable situation. Mulgrew is expected to represent EVERY member present. 

Mayoral endorsement

Noticed that when a speaker received pushback about THIS, Mulgrew said, “Woah, woah, people get to SPEAK!" So what about the people who were cut off over and over again? 

Also mayoral endorsement: After a number of executive board members chastised delegates and insisted we go along with the group no matter what (barely paraphrasing), the # of people voting "yea" went DOWN, so maybe that tactic doesn't work after all. 

Mulgrew joked that in-person delegates were "gaslighting" him because he forgot whether or not they'd voted already. Does he know what that word means? 

One of the agenda items we didn't address was about domestic violence/intimate partner violence and he's throwing around that word...PHEW. Clearly he takes these things seriously. 

A delegate asked why so much time was spent on questions that have nothing to do with current issues, and again the mere mention of health care was ruled out of order by way of interruption. It was a valid question. 

We didn't actually get to a single agenda item that was actionable. Just voted on publicly supporting political candidates. 

That was quite an initiation to the Delegate Assembly. Now to figure out where to keep my eight pages of handwritten notes. I should probably get a notebook before November.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Mulgrew Slammed as Delegates React to His Angry Rants - Delegate Assembly (Oct. 13) Report #1 - Updated

Mulgrew sounded like “my angry drunk father”  --- Newly elected Delegate at first DA who also posted-

The woman who stormed out is my chapter leader. She's the real deal.... Tweet

Is there potential of holding a people's DA downstairs outside the meeting -- why go in and be abused?

Friday, Oct. 15, 2021 - 9AM

I will have a lot to say about what happened Wednesday with the joint action of Retirees protesting outside and working members from all active groups in the UFT working the inside -- I have lots of background info and reports are still coming in, including the whining from Unity Caucus about how people are politicizing issues -- HELLO! James and Arthur have detailed reports:

NYC Educator -- On Persuasion, Lack Thereof, and UFT Endorsing a Bought-and-paid-for Charter Shill - Last night's DA was remarkable on multiple levels. There was talk about NYCH, a bill that would provide health care for all New Yorkers. 

Here is an array of first impressions, many from newcomers to the DA.

The first delegate assembly of the 2021-22 school year displayed the full disarray, disorganized, and unhinged leadership of the union. 

Since the start of the pandemic we have had a union that is far removed from its members. Yesterday we saw a leadership that is now in open contempt of its own members. 

The president of our union, paid by our union dues, actually yelled at his own members, working classroom teachers, elected by their chapters. 

Our union leadership refuses to address changes in retiree healthcare which reduced coverage which is bound to happen to active members in the upcoming contract.UFT leadership endorsed a Mayoral candidate they previously opposed, they were forced to call on executive board members who are no longer in the classroom and retirees that last taught in the 1980’s. 

Mulgrew sounded like “my angry drunk father."

A resolution was passed calling for woman leadership of our city council “but we have all men running the largest union of women in the city”  -- Chapter leader and long time teacher

Mulgrew’s report was like the worst PD I ever had to sit through”  -- New chapter leader

Mulgrew and his Unity caucus are more disconnected than ever before. They haven’t been in the classroom since the pandemic, they have no clue about anything teachers or paras deal with daily and it shows when he talks... Veteran chapter leader

Every single health care speaker was chastised, interrupted, and deemed out of order. As a new delegate it appears I'll need clarification on when we're allowed to talk about health care, because this happened during multiple parts of the agenda... New delegate  

There's a lot more to come regarding the walkout, the joint action of so many, some of the speeches made outside, Mulgrew's increasing isolation and deterioration, scared Unity people who fear he may be blowing it for them as the opposition shows signs of uniting for next year's elections, the potential of holding a people's DA outside the meeting -- I mean why go in and be abused?


Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Media Advisory: UFT Members along with Parents and Allies hold a Health and Safety Rally

Come join the party --


Media Advisory: UFT Members along with Parents and Allies hold a Health and Safety Rally 

Press Contacts: 
Sheila   Zukowsky 
Bennett Fisher 
What:  Serious concerns over  recent privatization changes to  retiree healthcare along with deficits in health and safety pandemic protocols have galvanized both retirees and in-service UFT Members  to rally  together outside the UFT’s Shanker Hall to support  a resolution ON HEALTH CARE PLAN CHANGES – CURRENT AND FUTURE to be presented  inside the first Delegate Assembly of the year.. 
Parents, students, and community organizations supportive of the resolution will also attend.
When: October 13, 2021, rain or shine 
Time: 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. 
Where: 52 Broadway, Manhattan
Who: We are retirees and in-service members of the UFT along with other retirees from NYC's municipal labor unions and parent organizations. We oppose the City's efforts to patch budget deficits on the backs of its current and past employees by cutting healthcare, when multiple avenues exist for the City to create more equitable solutions. The present and coming changes are sure to jeopardize the health   and welfare of vulnerable  retirees and working members alike. 


Tuesday, October 12, 2021


Please share -- 

To be distributed at the DA ----note the logos -- almost all active groups in the UFT are backing this and contributed.

Digital copy can be accessed here:  


WHEREAS the UFT stands in resistance to the privatization of Public Education and Public Healthcare, and

WHEREAS the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) negotiates healthcare benefits for the employees of all NYC municipal unions with the NYC Office of Labor Relations (OLR), and

WHEREAS the UFT controls the largest percentage of weighted voting within the MLC, and 

WHEREAS UFT, and other NYC retirees on Medicare only discovered in mid-May that the MLC had negotiated fundamental changes to the administration of their Medicare benefits, and

WHEREAS the next cost-saving agreement between MLC and OLR is coming up as Fiscal Year 2022 approaches, and

WHEREAS at recent town halls and Retired Teacher Chapter meetings, Michael Mulgrew has spoken about upcoming changes to the healthcare benefits for in-service UFT members; changes that may result from the next MLC-OLR cost-saving agreement, and

WHEREAS negotiation of that agreement has still not been publicized, therefore be it

RESOLVED, that UFT leadership notify and inform all affected UFT members of exactly what cost-saving targets are being discussed by MLC and OLR, and be it further

RESOLVED, that UFT leadership notify and inform affected UFT members of exactly what healthcare benefit changes may result from those cost-savings, and be it further

RESOLVED, that unlike the recent experience of NYC retirees, UFT representatives to the MLC will not support a plan affecting healthcare changes without at least 6 months of debate among affected UFT members, and be it further.

RESOLVED, that UFT representatives to the MLC will not support a plan affecting healthcare changes without a vote of UFT membership.

Digital copy can be accessed here: October 2021 Delegate Assembly 1 QUESTIONS FOR MULGREW, UFT LEADERSHIP, THE MAYOR AND CITY



Mulgrew mentioned at the last town hall that health care will be on the table in negotiations for the 2022 contract. Will there be more information given to active members about health care negotiations than the secretive and rushed conversion to private Medicare Advantage experienced by our retirees this year?

[ ]

What other options did you discuss rather than cutting city healthcare costs on the backs of retirees? Isn't it a conflict of interest to have Gregory Floyd, who sits on the board of Emblemhealth, cast his vote in MLC for EmblemHealth/Empire to get the contract for the MA plan?

President Mulgrew, in May, 2015, the Delegate Assembly passed a Resolution in support of the New York Health Act to establish single-payer health insurance in the state. Then, in April 2021, the UFT paid for a political ad opposing the NYHA. What gives you the right to defy resolutions passed by the UFT's highest decision-making body? What makes you feel you can spend our COPE dollars in defiance of positions adopted by the Delegate Assembly? Do you feel you are immune from accountability to support resolutions passed by the membership of this union?

[ ]

Why, President Mulgrew, do you continue to ignore, through words and deeds, the May 2007 resolution passed by the UFT Retired Teachers Chapter, Stop the privatization of Medicare? Do resolutions passed by membership have no meaning for you?

[ ]

Based on our long-standing stance on stopping the privatization of Medicare and our commitment to providing quality, affordable healthcare to our members, should not the UFT unequivocally reject the idea of any healthcare savings that will produce higher premiums for healthcare, fewer healthcare choices, higher copayments or any other kind of diminishment of health benefits for active or retired UFT members?

Given that the raises in the last two contracts were tied to monies in the MLC’s Health Care Stabilization fund , and now we see recent changes in retiree healthcare, how will this impact the healthcare coverage and salaries of active members as we approach the next season of contract bargaining?

[ ]

Given the city’s unions claim that the change to Medicare Advantage results in 600 million dollars in healthcare cost savings for the city, how do you plan to save a similar amount of money in healthcare savings in the next round of contract talks with active working members? Are there any proposed changes being secretly discussed presently?

Can you guarantee that the Medicare Advantage plan will not lead to the privately managed system potentially engaging in pre-approval gatekeeping that might limit access to life-saving care and procedures, or will not lead to limited access to specific hospital networks? Will you guarantee this will not happen to active workers in any future changes?

The Mayor recently loosened quarantining rules so unvaccinated students will not be quarantined. Why did UFT leadership seemingly cave to the city and allow them to base decisions on convenience instead of safety, especially with breakthrough cases and the highly transmissible Delta variant?

Only 10% of consenting, unvaccinated students are being tested weekly for COVID. LA schools are testing every teacher and student every week. Why aren’t we openly pressuring the city to adopt more rigorous testing to keep us safer? Why is school staff being denied access to COVID testing in schools?

Over 4,000 classrooms only have ventilation through a cracked window and De Blasio’s boondoggle NON-HEPA air purifiers. What are we doing to protect those teachers and students with adequate ventilation? Infrastructure is crumbling around us.

Over the summer, the DOE increased classroom capacities to allow only 20 sq ft per student - this does not accommodate students at 3 ft distancing . Why did we let them get away with that? Why have we not fought harder on reducing class size given this pandemic and unprecedented funding window?

What measures and steps are we taking to address continued exposure to the virus and members who are suffering from or may suffer from the lasting, and even life threatening, effects of LONG COVID?

What are we doing to better address the full time school nurse shortage crisis in our schools? Why isn’t there any public outcry for the lack of full time school nurses who provide daily skilled nursing services to students with conditions like diabetes and District 75 medically fragile students? Agency nurses are not adequately trained or supervised by their agencies. They also have no direct access to the student’s medical records.

Why are we not fighting for a more wide ranging remote option for the medically fragile, unvaccinated and vulnerable families when many receive significantly less home instruction under the Medically Necessary Instruction program? With well over 150k students possibly staying home because of grave safety concerns should we not reach them where they are until the pandemic is over? Would this not relieve overcrowding and staffing shortages along with social distancing concerns?

Why are we not offering our cities’ families and staff increased access to the safest masks available like N95s and KN95s?

Why have we not opened more schools as vaccination hubs in our communities with the lowest vaccination rates and sought for an aggressive campaign to promote education to address vaccine hesitancy? Will we support mandated student vaccinations? Why or why not?

Many are reporting significant delays by the Situation Room and contract tracing in notifying parents and educators about positive cases? Why are we not fighting for this to be rectified?

1Today, 10/13/2021, delegates and chapter leaders stand in solidarity with our retiree and in-service family, parents and allies rallying outside of Shanker Hall. We must BE BETTER AND DO BETTER for our members and school communities.


Monday, October 11, 2021

Delegate AssemblyGate: UFT Leaders blink, opposition organizes for Oct. 13 DA over medicare and health and safety issues

EdNotes - BREAKING - 3:15PM, Oct. 7 --  Notice to Attend DA Sent out during school day as UFT Leadership Packs Upcoming Delegate Assembly with Unity Caucus Members  ---  IMAGINE -- Actual working chapter leaders and delegates were sent a notice - purposefully when they were in the classroom, thus giving the vast Unity Caucus network, many not in classrooms an advantage in registering - and all seats were filled almost immediately -- thus shutting out the many newly elected (spring 2021) chapter leaders and delegates --- one of the stories was that MORE elected 100 of them and few of them will be able to get into the DA next Wednesday -- but we (Retiree Advocate) will be outside and will urge every ch and del shut out to join us outside shouting -- let us in....  - UFT Closes Doors to DA -- UFT Update: Ant...

Coming Wednesday (Oct. 13), ICE-UFT will be joining with multiple other opposition groups for a Healthcare-Health and Safety rally at the UFT's first Delegate Assembly of this school year. Delegates, Chapter Leaders, rank and file active UFTers, retirees and others will all be there. I have never seen this kind of excited pulling together among opposition groups in the UFT.... James Eterno at ICEUFT blog

Monday, October 11, 2021 - Good morning - happy day off (I barely noticed).

It's in the DNA of the UFT leadership over 60 years of Unity Caucus existence to hold on to power at all costs. This didn't play well with some.

How is this at all reasonable? A teachers union that locks teachers out of its meetings because they're...teaching? Space is certainly an issue, but if there are caps on attendees who want to be there, then this is de facto suppression of full delegate participation. ... A delegate

Chapter leaders and delegates are elected to FULLY REPRESENT their respective chapters endowed with FULL POWER TO LEGISLATE. This is yet another example of seeking to make the DA a rubber stamp for a @UFT leadership that doesn’t consult the rank and file. We must be & do better..... Delegate

Over decades, that has been the major thing they have been good at -- managing the membership. When it comes to the DOE or big progressive ideas or aligning with progressive politicians, the UFT leadership has been mush -- think Schumer compared to Mitch -- they have the same mentality -- it's not in their DNA to fight back, other than to fight back against dissident members of the UFT. That's where they show some level of militancy.

At some point, that single-minded focus on control, especially a leadership totally out of touch with the members, begins to fail. The attempt to pack the upcoming DA with Unity Caucus members while retirees rally outside over the Medicare issue (Rallies, Lawsuit Updates - Retirees go to court ), joined by newly united opposition protesting the way the leadership has handled safety in the schools, may seem like a minor failure, but it is indicative of an increasingly isolated leadership, even within the confines of Unity Caucus and middle management at the district rep level. 

Last Wednesday night Oct. 6), a joint zoom event was held where parents and teachers told their stories. Zoom -- ICEUFT, Educators of NYC (EONYC): Educators Speak Out on Unsafe Schools -

Of even greater concern to the UFT leadership was this posting by Daniel Alicea, of Educators of NYC, promoting the rally outside the Oct. 13 DA:

Note the logos at the bottom -- just about every group involved in the UFT other than Unity is listed -- possibly with more to come -- and of course independent non-affiliated who are always heavily recruited by Unity, especially the newly elected chapter leaders, of which there are many, might be tempted. That MORE can claim 100 CL and Del is significant.

Plus the delegates and Ch Ldrs connected to the other groups would be the first real threat to Unity control of the DA since the early 60s. Making sure to keep as many activists out of the in-person DA is right in the wheel alley of the UFT/Unity leadership.

If these groups can actually deliver getting their people to show up that would put icing on the cake and present a real long-time threat to Unity control of the DA -- just imagine if they have to drag out all their people every month -- why they'd have to offer them a post-DA dinner as a bribe.

Was it a glitch?

I was told after posting the breaking story of an attempt to pack the DA (rivaling FDR's attempt to pack the court) by someone with inside info that I was wrong - it was just a glitch and reversed a few hours later. 

I maintain it wasn't a glitch (I had info that for the Sept 22 CL meeting, some Unity people were sort of told to make sure to be there in person) but intentional.

By 5PM, the meeting that was supposed to be socially distanced - the excuse to limit in person attendance -- had been opened up. 

The reversal to open up the space inside the DA was incited by the outrage of chapter leaders and delegates calling and tweeting at union officials. By 5PM the so-called artificial "safety distance rules" set up for the DA - and for the Sept. 22 chapter leader meeting -- where Retiree Advocate/UFT Caucus people were also outside in force.

Let's follow the bouncing ball.

Since the registration [for Oct. 13 Delegate ASSEMBLY] email was sent during the work day, I opened it and registered less than 15 minutes after dismissing my kids. Virtual available only. No other option. Locked out of the full democratic process. Thanks for such a warm welcome to the DA, @UFT! ....Classroom teacher, newly elected delegate

The UFT executive board recently voted to allow a hybrid delegate assembly. While I support giving this option to members, I received an email to register for the DA at about 1:50. When I tried to register in person it said it’s at capacity… Classroom teacher, chapter leader

Response of Brian Gibbons, UFT social media head:

From reports, Brian Gibbons has not been a classroom teacher.

I do find it ironic that the UFT leadership seems fine with sending its members into crowded non-socially distance schools while using the safety issue to restrict attendance and limit democracy at union events. For instance, all Ex Bd meetings are supposed to be open to all members but right now you must be vaxed to attend (interesting that the unvaxed members the UFT is supporting in court would not be allowed in). All retiree meetings this year will be remote - there is one Oct. 13 from 1-3PM -- interesting how that meeting was moved from the usual Tuesday to just before the DA which starts at 4 -- the leadership knew we were planning to rally.

I'm proud of the work Retiree Advocate/UFT has done over the past year -- we are a group of people from various caucuses and have worked very well together - a model of sorts. I wrote this in April, 2021 -- The United Front: Retiree Advocate/UFT brings friends and former opponents together for Retiree Chapter election.

In some ways the actual issues pale compared to the fact that all groups are talking to each other at various levels - privately and in more official ways from what I hear. Working together for the Oct. 13 DA -- the first DA for many who had been elected last spring --- might turn into actually bringing a long-time dream of mine to fruition -- a united slate in this spring's UFT elections. 

Wishful thinking? I'm torn because I don't look forward to getting involved in another UFT election but if wishes come through I will be there.