Friday, January 20, 2023

DA Links, No CIty Council Vote on MulgrewCare on Jan. 19 - Mulgrew should take credit - I was just kidding all along, Deal With Aetna falls apart

NYC Council has no plan to pass bill that would let Mayor Adams charge retired city workers for health care: ‘It’s dead’ - Daily News

She cast doubt over the Jan. 26 deadline floated by the administration, though. “It’s not even clear that the deadline was ever [active],” she said before lamenting that the administration hasn’t yet provided the Council with a detailed contract for its preferred Advantage plan. “One of the questions at the hearing was, ‘Where’s the contract?’ ... We didn’t even have a contract to deliberate on as a body, so for me, that was a very important piece of information that we would need to go forward in any decision.”

What a failure of the UFT political machine which Mulgrew tried to activate to pressure the city council. Watch segments of the hearing on the VIDEO.

Add this hit:

Mulgrew, after pushing co-pays as part of the solution, actually tried to take credit for the ruling. James has the story with a response from Marianne:

I have an idea for Mulgrew: Declare victory like he did when co-pays were ruled illegal.


Mock UFT Press release: Major victory for UFT as City Council Won't be bringing up and voting on a bill he advocated for

Michael Mulgrew praised The NYC City Council for not voting on the UFT promoted bill urging them to change the code despite his desperate efforts to get it changed. He announced he was just kidding all along and never wanted to have the city code changed so retirees who want to opt out of Mulgrew's fantastic Medicare Advantage Plan could pay $200 a month. "Do you think I'm dumb enough to alienate UFT retirees who are the backbone of Unity Caucus support?"

We heard from Marianne that the city council would not be taking the expected vote on changing the City Council Admin code and most likely will let it die. This is a big defeat for Mulgrew who tried to get UFTers to bombard the city council will pleas to change the bill. But would it shock me to see Mulgrew shrug and take credit as in the faux press release above?




There was a DA on Wednesday (Retiree Advocate was out there handing out leaflets) which I missed because I had some symptoms - I am negative so probably a mild cold. James and Nick have those stories

  • The UFT’s first delegate assembly of 2023 was an incredibly rich source of information – both from what was said and not said. Unfortunately, most of this information was extremely disappointing – particularly Mulgrew’s blithe remark that in-service members will likely now pay premiums. I’ll just be focusing on the healthcare bit tonight, as this was the big topic. For more exhaustive minutes, including the many resolutions that were passed, check out the ICE-UFT blog. 
  • Mulgrew didn’t seem to want to discuss healthcare tonight. He had given a full report, then had LeRoy Barr give his report, only to jump in before the question period and say someone ‘reminded’ him to give the healthcare piece. Mulgrew doesn’t usually break in and out of the president’s report, so this is interesting. At this point, there were three big pieces of news: (1) that the MLC likely won’t agree to the Aetna deal for MAP; (2) that ‘given the arbitrator’s decision’ this will likely mean in-service members will now pay premiums; and (3) that things are looking good for the in-service RFP (for healthcare at 10% a cheaper cost than GHI). To my recollection, Mulgrew, surprisingly didn’t mention anything on the fact that 12-126 likely won’t even be put to a vote after successful lobbying from retirees and in-service members.

Here are a couple of reactions to the hearing from retirees:

What a powerful show of force at the NYC Council public hearing! Great testimonies from all our PSC colleagues and so glad to see some union leaders (thanks so much James) who were fully supporting the retirees! I really also appreciated and valued the testimonies of the other union retirees and the fortitude shown to speak up and sharing publicly their stories, as well as their positions opposing the decision of their own union leaders to support a privatized Medicare plan through Aetna as “the choice”.... Lizette from PSC ---- More from Lizette below Bennett's letter to Adrienne Adams

Bennett Fischer Letter:
Dear Council Speaker Adams,

In recent emails with your office I was told that you were looking forward to hearing the debate about the topic of whether or not to amend Administrative Code 12-126. I was told that despite all the months of emails and phone calls from your constituents (both in-district and city-wide), after all the press coverage of the huge community opposition to amending the City Code, after all the pressure and spin from the Mayor and the MLC, that you were still undecided; that you were looking forward to learning from all of the stakeholders at the Civil Service and Labor Committee's public hearing on January 9th, and that you would use that event to inform your decision.

And, you suggested that I take the opportunity to attend the hearing so that my voice might be heard among all the others, to help you reach a decision. That was a good suggestion, so I attended the hearing - for all eleven hours - and was happy to see that you were there also.

So, did you learn anything on Monday? Did you listen to the testimony of the hundreds of retirees and active municipal employees who came to the hearing? Have you read any of the hundreds, if not thousands, of written testimonies that were submitted online? Did you hear the overwhelming number of pleas, from your most vulnerable and engaged constituents, to leave 12-126 alone?

Did you hear the current and former union presidents who oppose the well-connected "boys club" of MLC leadership?

Did you listen to PSC CUNY President James Davis, and the panel of CUNY professors who made a clear and concise analysis of the harmful consequences of amending 12-126? Did you listen to their suggestions about the short-term ways to find health benefit savings while long-term solutions are sought?

Did you listen to the brilliant, retired civil servants from City government who shared their expertise and insights about the fear-mongering and disinformation tactics that are being used by OLR and MLC to force the City Council into a box?

Did you listen to the testimony of Wendell Potter, recovering Big Insurance VP, who told you about the deceitful, rapacious, tactics of profiteering insurance companies who market their products, with lies, to improve their bottom line?

Did you hear the deflections, delays, obfuscations, and excuses of the OLR lawyers who were asked to provide the Aetna contract to you?

Did you hear the compelling personal stories of the old, the poor, and the infirm municipal retirees who told you that - forget about money - what they cannot afford to lose is the power of the law, stripped from their hands, and placed into those of a few self-interested union bosses and politicians? "Those people" aren’t afraid of change, as the patronizing lawyers from OLR would have you believe. "Those people" are not a small group of confused malcontents who need to be saved from themselves (as Garrido, Mulgrew, Nespoli & Co. would spin the debate). No, "those people" are us.

The only rump group of confused malcontents around here is the elite MLC boys club of Mulgrew, Garrido, Nespoli et al.

Here's a question: When are we going to stop pretending that this is about choice? “Choice” is the red herring that our gaslighting mayor, some of our gaslighting union presidents, and the soulless lawyers from OLR are using to obscure what this issue is all about: Cutting employee healthcare to save money on the backs of its workers, and to save the asses of a boys club of incredibly incompetent (or worse) union presidents who entered into the crappiest bargain of the century with their 2018 agreement - an agreement which funds city workers’ wage increases with cuts to their health benefits, now and forever. We must break that cycle.

I know it’s tough. None of us know how this will play out. It’s not pointless, but it’s beside the point to engage in exercises about what will happen after a convoluted series of hypothetical worst-case scenarios occur. The fact is, the City and the MLC are on exactly the same page. The Mayor may very well try to strip away all but one health plan. With 12-126 intact, let him try! The MLC and OLR may very well decide to do the exact same thing! But health benefits for NYC municipal employees are a legally-bound subject of collective bargaining. Neither the OLR or MLC can act without the other, but neither wants to take the blame for the fallout that implementing their disastrous Med Advantage policy would surely incur. That’s why they want the City Council to amend 12-126. It gives them cover. And it would give them the ability to make future health benefit changes without restraint in law. Don't fall for it. You fell for the Mayor's hollow assurances when you voted with him to cut public school budgets. Please don't be fooled again.

I actually think that it will be politically impossible for Mulgrew, Garrido, et al to let the Mayor unilaterally switch retirees' healthcare to a single plan, as long as 12-126 remains in place! That is the lie they are hiding behind now, because they are too invested in their own spin to make a correction. They're doubling down. But they will be pressured to change course and support their members as long as they don't have the cover of avoiding blame that amending 12-126 would provide them. In the cold light of day, with 12-126 intact, they can't be seen, in the eyes of their membership, to be complicit with OLR in screwing the entire City workforce.

So which is it? You told me you were waiting to hear from the stakeholders before you make a decision. Now you have heard.

Which side are you on?

Bennett Fischer
Retired Teacher (2018)
Retiree Advocate/UFT




 Report from Lizette

The NY City Council held a hearing yesterday on a bill presented by Council Member Carmen De La Rossa to amend Administration Code 12-126. Here is the excellent summary from Lizette Colon, retiree from PSC, about how the hearing went. DO NOT AMEND ADMINISTRATIVE CODE 12-126
What a powerful show of force at the NYC Council public hearing! Great testimonies from all our PSC colleagues and so glad to see some union leaders (thanks so much James) who were fully supporting the retirees! I really also appreciated and valued the testimonies of the other union retirees and the fortitude shown to speak up and sharing publicly their stories, as well as their positions opposing the decision of their own union leaders to support a privatized Medicare plan through Aetna as “the choice”. A plan that does not even exist yet! Many questions were raised- no one answered them! Like Council Member Barron stated: “ I don’t even know why we are here.”
Personally, there were several things that were stomach gut wrenching moments: 
*the first panels of speakers /City reps lying openly and not sharing full information of the so called Aetna Medicare plan. city reps talking about the Aetna’s proposed plan that is not even a full plan yet! With plenty of unanswered questions ) followed by questions from many Council Members who sounded clueless and noncommittal
* to witness the panel of the top MLC “so- called” union leaders:Mulgrew ( UFT), Garrido ( DC37) Nespoli ( Sanitation) Floyd ( Teamsters) Middleton ( CWA local 1180). Simply sickening!
*To see that retirees were the last ones to be heard ,having to wait almost 8-9 hours to allow them
to testify without counting on the presence of the city reps. and union leaders, who left right after their presentation, nor the City Council Members ( who have left the chambers to eat/ rest 😵‍💫)
*To hear and witness the disillusionment, disbelief and/or outrage of members with their unions and the MLC re back door deals re: healthcare 
Finally, I would like to highlight the tenacity and leadership of Retirees organizations such as CROC, COMRO, DC 37 Retirees Organization, PSC Safety Network, PHNP and Marianne Pizzitola, who bravely leads the NYC org . of Public Service Retirees . Her testimony was simply superb! We have all come this far thanks to her relentless organizing efforts. She clearly denounced the following “ That should not be something that is put on [retirees],” Pizzitola said. “We earned our rights. We earned our benefits, we paid for them. We gave up years of wages. We gave up benefits to have what we have in retirement in the form of deferred compensation. These people shouldn’t have to worry in retirement, to literally organize and come out and defend themselves.”
The fight is on!! Please keep calling the Council Members! We need all of them to support us in this battle to preserve the healthcare rights of all of us! 
Here are some links that you might like to review: 
In solidarity/Solidariamente,
More info:

Retirees to NYC Council Members: Do Not Be ‘Bamboozled’ By Medicare Advantage - Work-Bites

Commercial insurance companies have a long history of harming patients - Paying the fox to guard the henhouse - PNHP

Sunday, January 15, 2023

NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees - UPDATED HEARING INFORMATION!

Friday, January 13, 2023

Marc Kagan: Is Adams’ Medicare Advantage ploy ‘a game of chicken?’ - The Chief

No comments: