Thursday, March 9, 2023

Retirees Rally to Protest MLC Vote 11:30, Retiree Advocate Outreach, CityMD Copays Double to $100 in a UFT Sneak Attack

Membership: this is urgent. In-service must start organizing. If it works for retirees, it can work for us. Otherwise, if trends continue, where will we be in 10 years? 20? 30? The answer is simple – we’ll be broke.-- Nick at NAC

Retirees and active workers opposing the drive towards Medicare Advantage will rally on the steps of the Smithsonian Museum, just across from Battery Park in Manhattan, beginning at 11:30 a.m on Thursday, March 9. They will then march along Broadway before rallying again at City Hall Park at 1 p.m. For more information, contact

Media Advisory For March 9th 2023



NO Medicare Dis-Advantage for New York City Municipal Retirees

New York City Municipal retirees have been fighting for almost three years to prevent the City from switching our excellent traditional public Medicare with a supplement to an inferior, privatized Medicare Advantage Plan. After a successful lawsuit challenge, the City tried doing an "end run" by lobbying the City Council to change a law that has protected our healthcare for decades-- Administrative Code 12-126. This change would not only have affected retirees but could have also diminished current city workers' health benefits.

Retirees fought back and the City Council did not make this change.

Now the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) and the Mayor are on the verge of forcing us into a life threatening for-profit Aetna/CVS Medicare Advantage plan with the vote by the MLC taking place on March 9th.

If this " nuclear option" is approved, retirees will no longer have the choices they have always had. They will be forced into the new Aetna Medicare Advantage plan and if they opt out they will lose all other NYC health benefits they and their dependents have always received: no Medigap coverage, no drug plan and no health coverage for family dependents.

When: Thursday, March 9th, 2023 at 11:30am

Where: Gather at 11:30am by the steps of the Smithsonian Museum across from Battery Park (next to the Bowling Green subway stop)

What: After brief remarks, we will march past the offices of the UFT, PSC, OLR and DC37 and end up in front of City Hall. There will be short statements at each location from various union members. Arrive at City Hall by 1pm

Press Contacts: Gloria Brandman

Sarah Shapiro

Cross-union Retirees Organizing Committee (CROC)


Medicare money fund will be running out and UFT deal with Aetna is speeding that process up. So when Mulgrew etc argue the city will go broke unless we move to MedAdv which actually has higher costs due to paperwork, profits, etc but argues no worries, the money to cover those costs will come from the feds through medicare payments. 

I tried explaining this after yesterday's meeting to someone who kept insisting the healthcare system would break unless we did this. How can healthcare costs go down when Aetna makes a profit that Medicare doesn't? And when Aetna admin costs are 12-15% and Medicare is 2-3%? The answer is that the feds will be sending the same money to Aetna that they would have been sending directly to the docs but with a premium to cover some of their higher costs, thus increasing the likelihood of Medicare as an option at all disappearing. And as we know, when competition is strangled, costs go up. It's a scam to shift government money into private hands. Just like the charter school scam.

The Mulgrewcare way to move deckchairs on the Titanic. 

"I represent 1,900 retired families,” Ferraiuolo continues, “I have some members that are very elderly — I’m talking about in their 80s, who’ve been retired for 35, 40 years with minimal pensions, a little Social Security, all right? For someone like that to have to have copayments and deductibles means a lot when you’re living on a budget. Sure, if you’re [MLC Chair] Harry Nespoli — and you’ve been a union leader for the last 30 years and you’re making big money and you’re gonna retire with a tremendous pension — the copays mean nothing. I’m looking to protect the men and women who it does mean something.”...

As head of Correction Captains’ Association, Ferraiuolo is a voting member of the MLC — but he says it’s meaningless.

“Even though I have a vote it doesn’t mean anything because all it takes is the teacher’s union [UFT], DC37 to vote and everybody else’s vote is null and void because they carry that much weight,” Ferraiuolo says. “That’s what’s going on. And I do see them in bed with the city.”

Ferraiuolo says there are many inside the MLC who oppose the campaign to strip traditional Medicare benefits from retirees — “but they don’t come out and verbally say it.”

I picked up this leaflet outside the union before the meeting yesterday(see text below). The woman handing it out had no connections to organized groups. She took the initiative on her own --- this is a sign of things shaking when opposition is not just the usual suspects like us. She signed up to work with us and sent us a letter this morning offering a range of skills.

Retiree Advocate met earlier in the lobby before the meeting which was flooded with retirees getting out of the cold. RA people worked the crowd, signing people up for our listserve.

I also met a recent retiree outside before the meeting offering her skills to the movement. She remembered me from her school closing rallies. And I got a text from an old 1970s activist with us living in Florida offering to do some work down there. Yes, something is  shaking. Enough to shake the Unity tree which relies so much on retiree support? RA got 30% in the chapter election in 2021 and repeated that number in last year's election (roughly 18k for Unity vs 8K) - A big gap to make up in next year's (April 2024) chapter elections. 
BTW -CL Tom Murphy, not too popular lately with retirees, seems to be fazing out- insiders predict Debby Penney who recently resigned from the pension board, as a possible replacement. A wise move by Unity as some people will buy that new leadership might mean a change in policy. Don't hold breaths.
Some are even predicting that Mulgrew will also be going with Karen Alford, Janella Hinds and Mike Sill in contention to replace him. At times he seems desparate but is that a sign of his leaving or trying to stay? Insiders say he is desparate to get this healthcare sellout out of the way and on to a contract and hope the issue fades by election time.
Retiree Advocate will be running in the RTC chapter election next spring and hope to run a strong campaign - 
 -- if we were running the chapter, would this healthcare sellout have happened?

Even if we don't win, if we break over 40%, that becomes a threat the next year in the general UFT election. But the key to that is an effective opposition. Right now I'd have to give that a C-.


My previous post: MulgrewCare Update: LET US VOTE, Aetna Doesn't Live up to Promises, the one time "Provider Pass", Contract Tied to Healthcare savings

Halabi: My First UFT Retired Teachers Chapter Meeting

Senior Care vs Aetna Medicare Advantage PPO

ETERNO: CityMD copays to go up from 50-100.


 Nick Bacon:

It now costs $100 for UFT to use an Urgent Care. A few months ago it was $50. UFT, it’s time to start paying attention.

Today, hidden at the bottom of an email that overworked teachers might not even see, UFT announced this: “CityMD Urgent Care centers will move to the GHI CBP’s non-preferred tier, with an increased $100 copay effective April 1. This new higher copay is a result of CityMD’s unwillingness to negotiate fair service rates with EmblemHealth.”

Let’s be clear. CityMD is where people go for urgent care in NYC. Most other urgent cares don’t even register, if they are even geographically accessible in the first place. And $100 is completely unaffordable to most of our membership. It will keep our families from getting medical care. It’s also, an absurdly high increase in relative terms. Let’s look at the numbers: our leadership just allowed our copays to go up 100%. But they did nothing when DC37 leadership set our raises to 3%.

Membership: this is urgent. In-service must start organizing. If it works for retirees, it can work for us. Otherwise, if trends continue, where will we be in 10 years? 20? 30? The answer is simple – we’ll be broke.


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