Monday, January 31, 2022

UFT Elections: Petitioner and Pensioner Reveal Fear and Loathing Toward Unity Caucus/UFT Leadership

Monday - Jan. 31, 2022

I was about to post a piece of analysis on the upcoming UFT elections and the 10 day old petitioning campaign when this missive came in over the transom this morning (see below). 

But first let me tell you a story told to me the other day by a friend, a UFT retiree whose husband, also a UFT retiree, died two years ago, just as the COVID was hitting.

She had been under his SHIP (UFT retiree supplement) plan. So she tried to contact people at the UFT and got nowhere - she understood the situation with the virus. When she finally reached someone at UFT Welfare, he was not only no help, but nasty and unhelpful. So she went higher up the ladder. The lady was nicer. My friend explained that she had written to the welfare fund within some deadline but the higher up said she had no record and fundamentally was no more helpful than the nasty guy. So my friend threw up her hands and dropped SHIP altogether. It just wasn't worth her time to keep pounding on the UFT door. She is running on the UFC slate.

Now back to the morning missive:

Must disturbing thing I've gotten so far while petitioning for UFC for the upcoming UFT Elections:"I don't wanna sign... you don't know how Unity retaliates." The petitioner was shocked and dismayed more so because this came from their CL no less. Everything came to light for this member, as he reflected on the last months with this passive CL that continues to allow abusive admin create schedules of teaching SIX in a row, 1st period preps with last period lunches, no PD Mondays/PE&OPW Tuesdays and a scrubbing of students grades not witnessed in years. This CL barely holds Chapter meetings, will members stay lost in the dark. He's not Unity (never got the 'gift card' or signed off on the 'loyalty oath') but after quite some time under Lara learned "...if you're not WITH Unity, you stay our of Unity's way. Unity will simply ignore your pleas if you have problems in your school." A culture of fear perpetuated by a caucus, should NOT EXIST in a UNION.

She is running on the UFC slate. 

Friday, January 28, 2022

PSC Union #actuallydoesthework of informing retirees on healthcare while UFT #doestheworkofpropagandizing

The PSC CUNY union report below is a comprehensive pack of info for retirees on healthcare, unlike the selling job we get from the UFT leadership. They termed the city (and by association, the UFT) response as THE CITY’S “THE DOG ATE MY HOMEWORK” DEFENSE

This was posted on the Retiree Advocate listserve:

Here is a  link from the Professional Staff Congress (PSC.) which is quite informative and inclusive of everything that has happened regarding  Retirees Healthcare. Although it is from the PSC perspective most of the information is pertinent for UFT members.  It's a shame that our own union, the UFT,  has not compiled and shared  similarly comprehensive and balanced  information.
Take a look

Here's a sample:

What's Happening to Retiree Healthcare

NYC is changing retiree healthcare benefits. Municipal retirees (including CUNY) originally had to decide by October 31. But that deadline has now been extended indefinitely by a court order (see below). For most PSC retirees, once they make a decision, it means one of two options: (1) Moving into a premium free Medicare Advantage plan or (2) Staying in their NYC current plan, but paying a premium for supplemental insurance.

The web page is organized into five parts:


JUDGE DELAYS RETIREE HEALTHCARE SWITCH TO APRIL: The City planned to have its Medicare Advantage Plus plan in place on January 1, 2022. In a court order, made public at 5 pm on Tuesday, December 14, Justice Leon E. Frank in effect said NOT SO FAST. He extended his injunction, pushing back implementation of the Medicare Advantage Plus plan to April 1, 2022 and the opt-out date to March 31, 2022.

The order was in response to the lawsuit brought by NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees.

Frank wrote that his “preliminary injunction will remain in effect until” the City and the Medicare Advantage vendor, The Alliance, satisfy "the following conditions:"

  1. "The effective date of the Medicare Advantage Plus Plan (the “Advantage Plan”) shall be April 1, 2022, with the opt-out period to end March 31, 2022. However, there will be a continuing opt-out period until June 30, 2022, even while the Advantage Plan is in effect;"
  2. "Respondents shall send to all retirees a letter containing a list of the corrections and additions made to the previously sent Enrollment Guide as discussed between the parties, on or before January 7, 2022. The letter must contain information on how a retiree can obtain a corrected Enrollment Guide free of charge, and the specific web addresses where the corrected Enrollment Plan may be seen; and"
  3. "Respondents must ensure that there only be one set of deductibles in the calendar year 2022 for all retirees."

In addition, in order to clarify which medical providers accept the MA+ plan, the judge ordered the City to report bi-weekly on “how many medical providers have been contacted personally regarding the plan…[and] how many medical providers in such areas have yet to be personally contacted about the plan, and how and when those additional medical providers will be contacted.”

THE CITY’S “THE DOG ATE MY HOMEWORK” DEFENSE: Judge Frank clearly rejected the City’s contention before his court that it could not send out a new enrollment guide to correct many errors in the original because of “a global paper supply shortage.” He ordered that the City and vendor correct the enrollment guide and provided a three-month window for retirees to evaluate the corrected material and make a choice to opt-in or out.
In sum, then, the judge’s order:

There's a lot more to this comprehensive summary - definitely worth reading 


Tuesday, January 25, 2022

UFT Update: Unity Slogan #wedothework- badly - #WePutYouOnHoldWhenYouCall

Unity did the work of ed deformer anti-unionists and corporate Democrats and Republicans by supporting:
  • NCLB and Race to the Top
  • Charter schools
  • Closing down public schools and destroying most of the large comprehensive HS
  • High stakes testing that cost millions
  • End seniority transfersCommon core -- remember punch Mike Mulgrew?

UFT President Mulgrew Says He'll Punch Common Core ...

Jul 17, 2019Michael Mulgrew United Federation of Teachers (New York) President says he'll punch common core opponents in the face: ...

Unity is out there with the self-mocking faux #wedothework. I reported on the Salesforce CCC - Clueless Call Center.

A United for Change crew came up with apt variations.


• … of keeping rank-and-file members in the dark until AFTER we make decisions that will affect them

• …of rigging the rules to box out members of other caucuses (someone who knows the specifics of rules they’ve changed to their benefit can flush this out)

• … of hiring from within with non-transparent hiring practices so that only we can do the paid union work

• … of obstructing rank-and-file members’ voices from being heard

• … of assuring the mayor and chancellor that the UFT members will obey orders #lockstep

• … of messing with our retirees’ healthcare

#wedothework of
  • privatizing retiree healthcare
  • failing to win smaller class sizes
  • failing to give in-school covid tests to more than a handful of students
  • failing to protect teachers from administrative harassment
  • shutting out the opposition at the DA
  • appoint, not elect, district reps
We do the work of...
  • pretending we're doing the work.
  • handing out givebacks.
  • rolling over and playing dead while John King & NYSED demoralize us with Danielson APPR ratings.
  • selling off retiree healthcare to for-profit insurance companies.
  • lobbying against universal healthcare.
  • letting new teachers be tortured with four years of probation.
  • negotiating wage increases that don't keep pace with inflation.
  • ignoring our membership.
  • letting teachers work in unsafe, Covid-filled buildings.
  • saying, "What can we do? We're not the employer."
  • getting rid of seniority school transfers.
  • providing patronage jobs to Mulgrew's sycophants.
  • firing UFT phone staffers and replacing them with Salesforce™ call-center-script-readers.
  • quashing debate at Delegate Assemblies.
  • supporting mayoral control (and saying that we don't).
  • hiring lawyers and consultants who have never stepped foot in a public school classroom.
  • doing whatever Marty Scheinman tells us.
  • bending over and getting fucked by every politician who says they'll give us "a seat at the table."
  • telling you that everything Mulgrew does (including bending over and...) is the greatest victory ever.


Sunday, January 23, 2022

UFT Elections: Petitioning in the Age of Covid - Unity Caucus Policy Risks Retiree and working member Health

I, 5 weeks away from my 77th birthday, met my 82 year old colleague whose partner tested positive the day before - lucky he tested negative -- at 52 Broadway to start working on the petitions to get them ready to be picked up later that afternoon and evening. We were joined by 8 of our colleagues in the Retiree Advocate to fill out, run to the printers to make multiple copies and collate everything and then hand them out to people stopping by and then go over to a signing event from 6-7 PM. And the next day I took crowded buses in the rain to deliver a pack of petitions to a high school before their union meeting where almost everyone signed. I've been hiding in my house for two years. And I'm sure these two days were the riskiest I've faced. And I told my wife to sue if I die. But I will smile in the graveyard at seeing Unity sweat. And if they lose, I will rise from the dead.... My comment on the ICE blog

Quinn Zannoni said...
6:17 -- Where was United For Change? Down on the 1st floor in the UFT Welcome Center organizing their petition drive to run for office. Unity is forcing the opposition caucus to amass hundreds of paper petitions in-person during a pandemic -- refusing the option of remote signatures -- just to be obstructionist. They know we'll get them signed regardless, they would just prefer to get us sick in the process.

After ducking crowds for two years, I and other aging UFT retirees spent the entire day in crowded conditions getting petitions ready for United for Change candidates and supporters to go into their covid laden schools to gather signatures. Nice work on the part of our union leadership which lines up with the Keep Schools Open under any conditions crowd.

Hey, there's a blizzard or hurricane on the way. Let's keep schools open no matter what. That is what Dr. Osterholm said on this week's podcast. Would you open schools in a blizzard? Well, this is a virus blizzard. He doesn't call for going remote generally, but certainly in hot zones until they pass.

Wednesday, Jan. 19 was the official beginning of the UFT election and the 60s-80s Retiree Advocate crew had to venture into Omicron zones because the Unity Caucus turned down the UFC request for electronic signatures. I wrote about this:

UFT Exec Bd Vote Opposing Electronic Voting: Mike ...

and the UFT leadership lining up with the keep schools open brigade - which is now a Democratic Party staple since the loss in Virginia. But why expect the center/right UFT leadership, which favors privatization schemes for medicare?

James addressed this issue and I'm reprinting in full:


The leaders of the UFT from Unity Caucus proved in 2020 that they care more about member dues than member lives when they put out a memo, leaked to the Daily News, advising against a sickout at the height of the pandemic. At the time, there was no vaccine and COVID was spreading everywhere with NYC at the epicenter.

This is from the Daily News piece on a sickout planned for March 16, 2020:

But UFT officials are privately warning members against that move, arguing it could be interpreted as a violation of state labor law, according to a message reviewed by the Daily News.

UFT officials told union representatives Saturday to "advise against" a planned call out on Monday.

“A coordinated sick-out will be interpreted by the DOE as an organized effort in violation of the Taylor Law and the Triborough Law,” union officials wrote its leaders.

“They will perceive it as a labor action and strike. Each participant is subject to a fine of two days’ pay for every missed day and arrest. However, even worse, the UFT will suffer greatly with fines and penalties. Please advise against.”

The UFT told the truth when they declared that their dues were more important than member lives.

The Union has managed to send out their "safety last" message again in January of 2022. This time it involves UFT election petitioning. 

The UFT Constitution calls for 100 signatures from UFT members to be nominated for the Executive Board or Convention Delegate positions and 900 for an Officer. It does not say that the signatures cannot be electronic. The United for Change members of the Election Committee asked for electronic signatures at the height of the Omicron stage of the pandemic. Unity's representatives (the Mulgrew majority) said NO.

The results: This is a comment from Solidarity's Quinn Zannoni who is a Chapter Leader who was at Wednesday's Delegate Assembly:

Quinn Zannoni said...
6:17 -- Where was United For Change? Down on the 1st floor in the UFT Welcome Center organizing their petition drive to run for office. Unity is forcing the opposition caucus to amass hundreds of paper petitions in-person during a pandemic -- refusing the option of remote signatures -- just to be obstructionist. They know we'll get them signed regardless, they would just prefer to get us sick in the process.

The UFT is well aware that retirees, many in their 70s and 80s, lead the petition drives. Sending them out to collect hand written signatures in a pandemic shows again the Unity leaders do not care about the health of their members. Mulgrew-Unity are not fit to represent anyone.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Has the Worm has turned on the New BIG LIE - That White Parents want Remote and People of Color Don't?

The struggle between the Chicago Teachers Union and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot over how the city’s public schools should be operating in the face of the current COVID-19 spike has been a case study in neoliberal governance..... Truthout, Explaining the politics behind KSO -- full article below.
Remember - Lori Lightfoot would rather keep schools closed and deny Chicago kids any learning by remote when Chicago teachers demanded safer conditions. That's a definition of neo-liberalism.


Wednesday, January 19, 2022
There are 2 narratives out there on Covid and schools.
One is that we must keep schools open at all costs even if we risk COVID infections. That schools are the safest places. That the costs of learning loss are worse then the impact of the virus.
The other is that schools are breeding grounds for spreading the virus due to poor ventilation with machines with cheap filters, poor social distancing, bad or poorly worn masks, bad testing procedure.

Last week I wrote about how the UFT leadership and AFT leadership (good ole Randi) have fundamentally lined up with the KSO wing while the opposition as represented by United for Change is for a remote option when needed.
I'll admit that at times I'm torn but def leaning to the latter not from personal experience of course (though I'm scared of getting Covid at my age especially) but from the input coming in from many of my teacher friends, a number who have come down with Covid in the past few weeks.

With Omicron the worm seemed to turn in the media and with politicians. The mostly white parents calling for Keep Schools Open (KSO) has used parents of color as a faux prop --- oooh, we are so concerned about learning loss for the poor kids --- while the stats show that POC were more likely to keep their kids home than white parents. 

Adamant Adams was about KSO at all costs has retreated a bit in the face of omicron and is willing to put a remote option on the table even if in that process teachers are getting screwed into working with little of no compensation.

James Eterno has done consistent reporting on the story: (Posted in reverse order going back to last Friday).
Here are a few links of interest over the past week.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

UFT Unity Joins Keep Schools Open at any cost brigade, Unity Controlled Election Committee says NYET to election modifications in face of raging pandemic

UPDATE - Breakthrough infections in NY up 7-fold., “Exclusive: Biden sending medical teams to six states to help hospitals overwhelmed by COVID-19,” including NY.  --- Tell UFT leadership

  • I've never seen anything spread as fast  -- it's approaching Measles--- epidemiologist on Omicron 
  • Ask UFT officials about horrendous conditions in the schools and you get a shrug and a "what can we do?"
  • What struck me at the election committee meeting was not just the hard position on petitioning, but the sense of callous disregard for UFT members and children's health and safety ... UFT election committee member.   
  • I'd see the entire city of Newark unemployed before I allowed one single teacher's aide to die needlessly... John Abeigon, Newark Teacher Union president 
  • President Michael Mulgrew spent much of the Town Hall telling you how wonderful you are for risking your health in a pandemic to come to work...ICE blog

The latter point is hysterical given the outcome of Tuesday's UFT election committee meeting where Unity members acted like the pandemic was over.


I was at a surreal zoom meeting of the UFT election committee Tuesday where the 5 United for Change reps were outgunned by the 8 Unity, all on the full-time UFT payroll on the UFT clock, plus a UFT lawyer. The UFC whose teachers actually spend their days in classrooms, called for emergency changes in the one month UFT election petition campaign beginning next Wednesday, lasting a month, in the teeth of a massive virus outbreak in NYC schools which has caused enormous disruption to normal school activities.When the lawyer cited constitutional issues with all our requests, I asked where in the constitution does it say the caucus in power gets 8 reps and everyone else gets 5.

Just in the past two days, at least two key members of UFC tested positive with one dealing with more than mild symptoms. And the young son of another tested postive today. Until a few weeks ago I didn't know many people who had Covid at the same time. Now it seems everyone working in schools are being exposed. Maybe it's ok over the long run to give us herd immunity. But people have been asking for a few weeks of zoom to let this pass. And we asked for the same thing.

I thought I was at a Trump rally where the Keep Schools Open at all costs campaign was in full force.  Ya know Omicron is mild -- mild means you don't end up in the hospital.

The Unity line lines up perfectly with the lies being told about infection numbers by de Blasio.  UFT/Unity also buried the stories about the poor filters used in schools by the corrupt de Blasio admin by giving a sweetheart contract to one of his campaign buddies. Or that teachers are spending their own money for masks and testing kits. Or that students are walking out: HUNDREDS WALK OUT AT BROOKLYN TECH.

A Unity hack twitter account liked and reported an attack on these students that claimed radical teachers were behind it. You know, students at Tech are not smart enough to figure out the school was unsafe on their own. I know non-radical teachers at Tech and they say there are rampant infections. There is even a parent who is a major commentator on YouTube whose daughter goes there and she mocks the education she's been getting the past week. Lots of auditorium time.

The Unity election 8 (mostly district and special reps) acted ho-hum. Like nothing has changed since the Dec. 5 first meeting, despite the massive Omicron outbreak in the schools.

I wrote about the first election committee meeting in early December: 

At that time, Omicron was still a blip and the one month petitioning and election schedule seemed workable. The UFC people even supported the Unity resolution to get only wet signatures -- no electronic signing. What we fought about was over electronic voting in the election itself. I posted about that issue when it came up on the Ex Bd where I believe only two members voted against.

The reactions of the election committee are almost funny when you consider that all UFT courses for retirees were announced as going on line. And all Retiree chapter meetings are online for the entire school year. But asking people to race around schools in their spare time to gather signatures is fine.
There was a lightness of being in the zoom - a total sense of no urgency. Like if you get sick fine. Like long covid doesn't exist. And reports of childhood diabetes. Or that Omicron is one of most infectious ever -- it may be milder for short covid but the increased numbers put enormous pressure on hospitals.

I raised the point that the numbers before December were not worrisome as  every teacher is vaxed but the sudden rise in numbers of vaxed teachers infected in such a short time is astounding. Vax won't stop you from getting it but will mitigate - however greater numbers will be getting it.

NYC Elementary school teacher with children of her own

This was a special meeting called in response to a request by UFC/New Action rep Michael Shulman who raised a number of points and requests based on the vision of asking teachers to go around schools gathering signatures in the midst of the worst outbreak we've yet seen with hopes that a few weeks will lead to safer conditions:

  • Waive petitioning for this election.
  • Add two weeks to petitioning time and move the election back two weeks.
  • Allow electronic signatures.
  • Reopen the issue of electronic balloting in the face of the pandemic
The Unity 8 rejected every suggestion. I wasn't surprised at their rejection but was astounded at the arguments they were making which seemed so similar to Donald Trump in the initial stages and President Biden today. But then again, the UFT leadership is Democratic Party central and lines up perfectly with them.
Arguments against? Infections are down from last week. Message - it's over. My head hurts from smacking myself. They were proud when a UFT nurse at NYU joined in the pooh poohing. Ya know, like hospitals seem fine. Probably we're hearing fake news about cancellations of elective surgery.

Like there's no way teachers are getting sick -- 
Two key UFC candidates tested positive on Monday are home sick with some serious issues. The message -- get out of bed next week and go petition.

Every one of these Unity people are either full-time UFT employees who are actually getting paid to attend the meeting and at most spend a period a day in a school. Unity will be holding a big petition signing event at Fashion Industries HS on January 19 after the DA. Someone should go picket the event.

Here are some more voices from classrooms being ignored by the Unity/UFT leadership.

NYC UFT Member twitter thread:
  • Well. Thanks to the NYC Mayor and DOE I contracted COVID on my first day back at work after being exposed to multiple students who were positive. Here is a/thread about my experience /1
  • I’m an itinerant related service provider for the DOE and am routinely in 3 or 4 schools per week. I worked on Monday servicing students in grades K-3 in my elementary school. Testers were there in the morning. /2
  • I was unable to get tested because I was “not on the list.” Tuesday night I was informed via school-wide email of positive cases. I was not alerted as being a close contact. However, when I returned to school Wednesday, several of my students were absent so you do the math. /3
  • I alerted my supervisors for my itinerant position. They told me that as long as my home rapids were negative and I was symptom free, I should go about “business as usual” and travel to my other schools as scheduled. /4
  • So I went for a pcr test and also did home rapid tests Wednesday, Thursday, 2x on Friday (because symptoms started that night), and Saturday. All my home rapids were negative. However, Saturday night I received my PCR results and, lo and behold, they were positive. /5
  • As a result of these failed policies by the DOE, numerous students and staff in MULTIPLE schools were exposed to me. I am 100% certain I was infectious despite negative rapids b/c my husband and two children - who are under 5 and therefore cannot be vaxxed - all have symptoms. /6
  • This illustrates yet another hole in the system. My daughter is in 3k. There is NO DOE testing protocol for 3k and prek kids. They are among the MOST vulnerable as they cannot be vaccinated. Some also have difficulties wearing masks. /7
  • Hospitalizations for unvaccinated kids are on the rise. Also, my mother and MIL - who care for my infant son - were both exposed through me. They are both over 65. Our nanny was also exposed and she has underlying health concerns /8
  • Q: How many of students, educators, and our loved ones have to get sick and die before the DOE does it job and implements REAL policies that protect us? A: all of us. They don’t care. /9       




Mulgrew is holding a town hall. Get your bingo card.


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Lydia tested positive Monday, talked about poor testing in NYC schools and the Solidarity Lawsuit - YouTube

Lydia Howrilka of Solidarity talks about the weakness of the NYC testing program when she was interviewed last week on OPEN BxRx. She had tested negative the day before but Monday morning she tested positive and has symptoms that seem to go beyond the advertised "mild" being used to sell the keep schools open at any costs program.

Hello Lydia,

I would like to thank you for joining us on OPEN BxRx Tuesday! It was pleasure to have you on.

The segment will be available on YouTube by 7am Tuesday January 11th.  Here is the link:

Thursday, January 6, 2022

UFT Outsourcing to Salesforce Update - Workers sue UFT over being replaced by Salesforce as they slam Mulgrew

I was just getting passed around via the telephone... uft member

I am one of 4 UFT Retiree Health Consultants who have filed an age discrimination case against the UFT for replacing us with younger minimum wage workers...
Getting rid of us, we think, was part of the overall plan to reduce health care costs and reduce services to retirees....
UFT workers started reporting to Salesforce managers who put workers in call centers and told them to raise their hand if they had to go to the bathroom. Not only unhealthy conditions but demoralizing as well........ Fired UFT Retiree health consultant

There has been a response to our earlier post on Salesforce replacing UFT members. 

  • Fuck Salesforce -- UFT Staffer

There are signs the Unity gang are not very comfortable with this story. An obvious Unity flack left this comment:

This is bs. The uft needed a way to be more responsive. No system is perfect, but the response rate now is vastly better than it was. UFT is basically understaffed. Getting a rep on phone b4 Salesforce was very hard. Often, nobody answered. Now, you get through and get a callback. 

My response:  

So you admit you guys are Bloomberg light in terms of farming out services? How nice you don't have to pay per session or hire people who know what to do. They may call back but often with wrong info. A much better system using clueless people.

My point? Unity is following the Bloomberg business model which decimated certain areas of the DOE by farming out work that was done by UFT members. We heard from some of the people replaced by Salesforce - and some are suing over age discrimination.

I just found out about this Medicare Advantage deal the unions are pushing through. I know there is some resistance from loyal UFT members but the hierarchy (Mulgrew and others) has joined the corporate mentality. They no longer value union ideals. 

They laid off all Retiree health consultants and hired younger minimum wage workers. Before they laid off all their retiree health consultants, they signed a contract with Salesforce. UFT workers started reporting to Salesforce managers who put workers in call centers and told them to raise their hand if they had to go to the bathroom. Not only unhealthy conditions but demoralizing as well.
I was one of the Health Consultants laid off so I saw the transition going on there. It is so sad what they have become. 

Here's some more:

I am one of 10 UFT Retiree Health Consultants who were laid off when the UFT eliminated all the Retiree Health Consultants in December 2020.

In September 2019 we were removed from our offices and put in a Call Center run by a company called Salesforce. Four young women were hired to work with us in the Call Center at minimum wage. We were told they were to direct calls to either a pension or health consultant.  However, we heard them answering questions about city health plans and Medicare and giving out wrong information. When we complained, these workers were moved to another floor.

We were furloughed due to covid in March 2020 but the UFT continued to hire Welfare Fund staff. We received an email from our former UFT supervisor in October 2020 who told us there was a stealth operation going on at the UFT. She said the calls we used to answer were redirected to another floor and she wasn't even told this was being done. She just noticed that there were no longer calls in the queque. In December 2020 when one of my colleagues asked when we would be returning, we all received a letter of termination.

I am one of 4 UFT Retiree Health Consultants who have filed an age discrimination case against the UFT for replacing us with younger minimum wage workers. Getting rid of us, we think, was part of the overall plan to reduce health care costs and reduce services to retirees. UFT retirees were not told we were being eliminated but if you attend the Retiree Chapter meetings, retirees are directed to websites to have their health questions answered.

The UFT has a facebook page for retirees but it is censored so I need to hear the unvarnished truth.

And another:

I know there is some resistance from loyal UFT members but the hierarchy (Mulgrew and others) has joined the corporate mentality. They no longer value union ideals. They laid off all Retiree health consultants and hired younger minimum wage workers. Before they laid off all their retiree health consultants, they signed a contract with Salesforce. UFT workers started reporting to Salesforce managers who put workers in call centers and told them to raise their hand if they had to go to the bathroom. Not only unhealthy conditions but demoralizing as well. I was one of the Health Consultants laid off so I saw the transition going on there. It is so sad what they have become. 

I'm not shocked to see Mulgrew taking the union in a classic neo-liberal direction even when touched by anti-union forces.

Are the Salesforce workers unionized?

At the moment, none of the major tech companies have a unionized workforce. Employees at Amazon and Salesforce have also implored their executives to stop selling technology to the US government.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

UFT Staffer - The face of the UFT is Salesforce - Calling the UFT is like calling Amazon (except the UFT is not as responsive as Amazon)

Fuck Salesforce -- UFT Staffer

This explains a lot about how the UFT leadership decision-making has been running the UFT into the ground. Like we love call centers. I get someone in India to come fix my plumbing.

From a staffer:

The face of the UFT is Salesforce. They have an entire floor at 52. Calling the UFT means calling a call center.  It's concierge service with an exclamation point. Just like Med Advantage. Circles upon circles of misdirection and "customer service." Unless you have someone's personal cell # all you get is a scripted intake interview and hope for the best. You are not a member; you are a customer.  Calling the UFT is like calling Amazon (except the UFT is not as responsive as Amazon). It's a shameless adaptation of the corporate American model. Questions are not asked; tickets are opened. Questions are not answered; tickets are closed. Well, sometimes. Rarely. Maybe. Usually they languish, and languish, and... Where have you been bro? Get with the program! We are not members; we are customers. Soylent Green is people!!!

I was not aware of the Salesforce issue until the other day. 

My friend's daughter and a cousin used to work for the same startup that was bought by Salesforce who turned it into a shit show. They left as soon as they could. Nice work Mulgrew. 

The key point is the corporatization and privatization of services. Having clueless people in control in so many areas of the union. This is actually parallel to what Bloomberg did to the DOE. Bringing in corporate people instead of educators. The old system had many issues but it was still run by people who originally started out as teachers. Every principal and Supt had some teaching.

Same with the UFT. It might be an old boy and girl network but still they had been or were still teachers.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Lydia Acts - UFT Solidarity Files Article 78 with TRO - Calls for Remote until virus passes

Lydia Howlrikka came home exhausted in the final day of school before the XmAs vacation. She took a day or two to cool down and then sprung up to take this issue on. 

There is a lot of coverage of this story in the press and the City Corp Council has touched based with her to tell her they will oppose the suit. She also heard from the judge who seems to have postponed the case until after the time runs out for this to be acted on. 

James hit on the story early on and got thousands of hits and Lydia got thousands of signatures.




Lydia Howrilka and/or 

NEW YORK: Lydia Howrilka is a union organizer and is an activist dedicated to fighting for safer schools for all school based staff and students who are returning to in-person classes on Monday, January 3rd. She believes that the aging infrastructure and inadequate HVAC systems in NYC public schools is not enough to keep staff and students safe from COVID. She also believes that Mayor Adams’ reopening plan, “Stay Safe, Stay Open,” is inadequate for keeping all communities and constituents safe.

On December 30, Howrilka and her union caucus, UFT Solidarity, filed a pro se Article 78 with a TRO to halt the reopening of NYC schools until there is an adequate universal testing protocol in place, students and staff are required to submit a negative PCR before entering the building the week of January 3, and that the first 2 weeks (from January 3 to January 18) be remote only while testing results are processed.

Alarmed at what they have concluded is a dangerous and unsustainable safety plan, public school educators affiliated with Solidarity, the second largest caucus of the United Federation of Teachers, filed this special litigation pro-se. The litigation came after a long period of reflection and discussion within Solidarity’s membership who had become alarmed by the rejection of remote learning and inadequate safety and testing protocols in their schools. UFT Solidarity polled UFT membership and learned the following startling conclusions:

  • 88% of UFT staffers polled stated that, “No, all adults in my school cannot get a COVID test.”

  • 75% of UFT staffers polled stated that, “To my knowledge, my school community is rarely or never informed when tests are slated to take place.

UFT Solidarity and Howrilka’s concern is heightened by the amount of pediatric infections and hospitalizations due to the Delta and Omicron variants of COVID-19, in addition to innumerable health complications among the many members who are still recovering from COVID-19 related illness.  

Howrilka is seeking a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) “prohibiting [DOE] from forcing herself and all similarly situated to report to work in person on or about January 3, 2022,” preventing the loss of Cumulative Absence Reserve (“CAR”) and sick leave days, and compelling DOE to permit Petitioners to teach remotely. 

Howrilka states, “We have been telling the City for almost two years that school buildings are not safe! Schools do not have enough funding to maintain adequate ventilation. The CDC has stated that the coronavirus can spread beyond six feet in the air between people. The science behind this virus is constantly shifting and changing every day. At this time, schools are not safe for students and staff! We must be fully remote until we can have better access to testing or until the post-holiday surge of COVID subsides.” 


Widows of NYC first responders who died in line of duty must pay for health insurance after city changes policy - Daily News

HI Chris,

Great article!

What’s largely missing from the debate over this extremely unfair reduction in NYC retiree health benefits is the reason why the Medicare Advantage Plus plan has those 87 medical procedures that require prior authorization.  Traditional Medicare (plus a Medigap supplement) does not require prior authorization because it rarely denies coverage.  There’s no need to pre-authorize.

It’s obvious that this private insurance conglomerate (Emblem Health and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield) needs the prior authorization because they know they will be denying these procedures at a much higher rate than Medicare does.  That information is being hidden.  Nowhere does it tell the retirees or their spouses how likely it is that these procedures will be denied, while Medicare practically never denies them.  Where is the comparison of the expected denial rates between Medicare Advantage Plus and Medicare?  Nowhere!

And where is the estimated cost of these procedures that retirees would have to pay themselves or go without the care their doctors say they need?  NO  WHERE!!

I recently had a heart monitor surgically inserted in my chest, as my cardiologist felt it was important for me to be continuously monitored.  If I had to pay for it myself, it would have been over $85,000.  Just ONE procedure.

So it’s not just the inconvenience of having to wait for authorization, although that can sometimes be a very serious problem, it is the likelihood that we will end up with one or more important procedures being denied, and then being forced to bear an extraordinary cost or go without important care.

The older and sicker you are, the more important this hidden information is.

Thanks for “listening.”

Retired NYC Teacher / UFT member since 1968




Widows of NYC first responders who died in line of duty must pay for health insurance after city changes policy

New York Daily News
Jan 02, 2022 10:00 PM

Elderly spouses of cops, firefighters and other New York City workers who died in the line of duty are being told they will have to start paying for health insurance if they opt out of a new Medicare plan the city is forcing on them and thousands of municipal retirees, the Daily News has learned.

After the 9/11 attacks, state legislators passed a law allowing line-of-duty spouses — widows or widowers of uniformed city employees who died on the job — to remain on their late loved ones’ health insurance for life, free of charge.

Now, survivors age 65 and older will be responsible for a $191 monthly premium starting in April if they decide to stay on their current coverage instead of being automatically enrolled in the new Medicare plan, emails from ex-Mayor de Blasio’s administration reveal.

Sunday, January 2, 2022