Friday, April 28, 2023

Retired Teacher Chapter Leader Tom Murphy Calls for Decorum - After screaming at people for posting signs in back of UFT meeting hall and calling security

You use decorum to silence people who hold you accountable. All you are doing is using decorum as a means of oppression..... Montana House of Representatives Democratic Rep. Zooey Zephyr on being banned for voicing opposition to transgender legislation

Decorum, it seems, is honored lately more as an ideal than a practice. Outbursts at our December RTC membership meeting come to mind.... Tom Murphy, UFT Retired Teacher Chapter Chair

Give us liberty or give us decorum

You hear calls for civility - assume best intentions - even when there are no best intentions. Shutting out voices is itself uncivil. I've known the feeling over the decades of being a minority voice in many organizations. 

But oppression can lead to greater activism against the voices of oppression. Mulgrew and crew try to brand all dissidents as fear mongerers and liers, which is itself fear mongering and lying.

  • Rosa Parks was not civil

Just like in Tennessee and Montana, the outcome at the April Retired Teacher meeting, where few even noticed the signs, was that Murphy's outburst called attention to them - I was outside the room and rushed in when I heard the ruckus - and have some audio of Murphy screaming but am too inept technology wise to share it. 

The late, great George Schmidt of Chicago, told me back when the caucus he helped found tried to purge him, partly over his gruffness framed as lack of civility. (It didn't work and the vote was heavily in his favor). I and a few others know the feeling as we faced similar attacks here in NYC. I'm not uncivil - just a loud-mouthed Jew from Brooklyn. Some Jews learned a long time ago about the consequences of being civil in the face of oppression. Not all unfortunately. In Israel, they are doing bad shit unto others as was done unto them and that can lead to uncivil reactions, which leads to further oppression because authoritarians have no other mechanisms to use.

So, it was an LOL moment to see Mr. Civility and Decorum, Tom Murphy, screaming "Put down those signs" at the bold, energetic retirees who use the pronouns she/her standing proudly in the back of the room and not only calling security, but threatening to close down the meeting if the signs were not removed. Watching the video of Zooey Zephyr being censured by right wing anti-democracy forces, along with the Tennessee banning of black legislators over a faux decorum issue, is beautifully ironic. (Murphy once accused me of antisemitism because my Ed Notes cartoonist made Randi's nose look too big.)

By the way, where does it say in by-laws or constitution that there are  no signs allowed? 

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

May Day Actions in New York, Including Retired Teacher Meeting at 1 PM

In 1889, May 1 was designated May Day, a day in support of workers, by an international federation of socialist groups and trade unions in commemoration of the Haymarket Affair, a violent confrontation that took place on May 4, 1886, in Chicago, Illinois. The 1 May date was chosen by the American Federation of Labor to commemorate a general strike in the United States, which had begun on 1 May 1886 and culminated in the Haymarket affair four days later. The demonstration subsequently became a yearly event...

-------International Workers' Day - Wikipedia

May 1 is a Labor Day worldwide - except in the United States, which has been so anti-labor, the day was moved to after the summer. American capitalism has the power to move the calendar. But the left in this country still celebrates and actions that day are heating up.

You will notice there is a Retired Teacher Chapter meeting on Monday at 1PM. Every other meeting is on a Tuesday. Why the change to a day when so many other activities are taking place? Is this a "screw you" to the left labor movement from a center/right corp Dem-run union? Nahhh. They don't think that deeply. Probably RTC CL Tom Murphy has a dental appointment on Tuesday.

I will be at the RTC meeting getting more signatures for our petition calling for a healthcare vote in the UFT. My snail mail box has been flooded. So if you are a UFT member go and sign online or download a copy if you work in a school and get your mates to sign, put a stamp on an envelope and mail it. Licking stamps is good for your health.

I might wear this mask to the meeting. Does that make me a Putin apologist?

Let Tom Murphy yell at me to take off my mask and get Covid and threaten to call security to throw me out for wearing a sign. Tom, who penned a piece calling for decorum, demonstrated his version of decorum by screaming at a few elderly ladies for daring to put up a few signs in back of the room and called for security to toss the ladies out --- DECORUM, UNITY STYLE.

Here's the schedule for Monday's May Day events. Don't miss out.



No More 24! Stop Racism, Corruption and Wage Theft!
City Hall, Broadway & Murray 

One is this rally to stop the inhumane 24 hour work day for homecare workers.
No More 24!

Stop Racism, Corruption and Wage Theft!
Many of you came out April 12 and during the 3-day sit-in at City Hall to demand Speaker Adams bring the No More 24 Act (Int 175) to a vote and immediately replace it with two 12-hour shifts. Together, we made it known, New Yorkers will no longer tolerate being the only city to have the racist and inhumane 24-hour workday. 

In response to our actions, Speaker Adams revealed her dirty deal to protect insurance companies’ profits: she claims that the City needs to pay at least $1 billion a year. We ask: to whom? To the insurance companies and home care agencies? Is it to offset their loss from not being able to keep stealing our hard-earned wages? If this is not corruption and racism, then why does Adams fight tooth and nail to stall Int 175 despite community outcry?!

The federal and state governments already contract insurance companies to cover patients' care. Splitting the 24-hour care only makes insurance companies – not the City – pay more, and make less profit. The No More 24 Act will protect the worker’s health, create more jobs, increase the City’s tax revenue, and guarantee the safety of the patients.

JOIN US this May Day, to demand Speaker Adams prioritize the interest of all New Yorkers by ending her corruption and putting the No More 24 Act to a vote before May 1st. 

May 1, 12PM 
City Hall, Broadway & Murray 
Our endorsers include worker centers, labor unions, women’s organizations, and political parties, among others. In alphabetical order:
Asian American Feminist Collective
A Better Balance
Abraham Ezekiel Foundation
Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF)
Border Workers Association
Brooklyn-Wide Interagency Council on Aging (BWICA)
Brooklyn College Women's Center
Broome/Tioga Green Party
Building Trades for Workers’ Democracy
Campaign For NY Health
Citrus College Adjunct Faculty Federation
Coalition of Labor Union Women-Philadelphia
Columbia YDSA
Corporate Campaign
CUNY Law School Labor Coalition for Workers' Rights and Economic Justice
Domestic Workers United
Garment Worker Center
Global Monitor
Graduate Workers of Columbia GWC-UAW Local 2110
Greater New York Labor Religion Coalition
Green Party of Brooklyn
HEAL Trafficking
Hunger Action Network of NYS
LatinoJustice PRLDEF
Metro Justice
Mujer Obrera
Nancy Folbre, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Amherst
National Asian Pacific American Women's Forum NYC Chapter
Immigrant & Refugee Justice
Occupational Clinical Center of the Southern Tier
Party for Socialism and LiberationSocial Justice Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Binghamton
Socialist Party of NYC
Society for Humanistic Judaism
Student-Worker Solidarity
Students Organizing Against Reynolds (SOAR)
The City Congregation for Humanistic JudaismTompkins County Workers' Center
UAW-GSOC Local 2110
UAW Local 675
Unidad Latina en Accion, CT
Unidad Latina en Accion, NJ
Wind of the Spirit
WNYCOSH Worker Center
Women’s Strike NYC
Yale Women’s Center


UFT Retired Teachers Chapter Meeting
52 Broadway, NYC


Workers Rights Are Moral Rights
Union Square Park-Worker Education Circles
5pm March to Foley Square



Demand Care Not Cuts
Whitehall R Station
March to Cipriani's (55 Wall Street) where Mayor Adams is being honored at Literacy Partners Gala

MORE's Contract Committee has organized a May Day action to call out Mayor Adam's and his austerity budget! Beyond our own contract fight we know that austerity impacts ALL of us and so we hope that you will join us! 

We are organizing alongside  AQE and the People's Plan to Demand Care Not Cuts! If your union, caucus, or organization wants to assist with organizing with us please email me directly and I can send you our contract committee meeting info. 

Rally Details:May 1st 6-8PM
We will meet at the Whitehall R/W station at 6 PM. Then we will march over to Cipriani's where Mayor Adams is being honored at the Literacy Partners Gala. We hope to have a large picket and will have speakers. We will end by 8 PM (it's a school night!) 

The action flier is attached below. If you have any questions please do hesitate to reach out.

We hope to see you there! 


Friday, April 21, 2023

To: Stroock & Stroock & Stroock & Stroock, LLP, FYI, KFC - Notice of Unlawful Impersonation of a law firm

As many of you know, the UFT has been paying Randi's former law firm, Stroock & Stroock & Stroock Stroock & Stroock & Stroock Stroock & Stroock & Stroock Stroock & Stroock & Stroock Stroock & Stroock & Stroock a million dollar a year retainer to threaten UFT members over such stuff as using the UFT logo but went over the top with threats to former ally Arthur Goldstein (My Union Dues Pay Lawyers to Threaten Me)  over his parody of a recent Mulgrew letter to members. 

I and others received letters from Stroock etc which I ignored - so sue me. UFT/Unity Threatens Opposition with Legal Action f...for Using UFT Logo Using Stroock, their million dollar a year firm - So Sue Me

I received it the day before my birthday - a special present. The lawyer sending out the letter is Alesha Dominique:  
Alesha Dominique, the head of Stroock’s Trademark practice, where she represents clients in intellectual property litigation with an emphasis on trademark, false advertising and unfair competition, copyright and patent matters.  Alesha began her professional career with two Teach for America placements — first in the Bronx and then in Chicago.

Don't you love TFA, an anti-union organization grads, suing union employees?

Bennett Fischer, from Retiree Advocate, posted his own parody as a comment on Arthur's blog:

ACME Legal Services

April 15, 2023

To: Strook & Strook & Stroock & Stroock, LLP, FYI, KFC

Re: Notice of Unlawful Impersonation of a law firm

Dear Stroock et al,

ACME represents rank and file members of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) who, as you know, occasionally disagree with UFT president Michael Mulgrew and sometimes choose to exercise their First Amendment rights by publishing their opinions in public forums such as "Blogs" and "Websites." Our clients’ opinions may or may not take the form of parody and other forms of protected speech.

We understand that you purport to represent the entire UFT - the whole shebang as it were - including the members to whom you send "cease & desist" letters in the name of the union president. That seems weird. Why would you do that to the dues-paying members who pay your fees? You even scatter your letters with emboldened, italicized text that, I don't know, is that supposed to be scary? As you undoubtedly know that sort of typographic emphasis can seem threatening and laughable all at the same time - kind of like a parody of an actual legal letter. (Hey, wait a minute, good job!)

But really, this is a very serious matter to rank-and-file UFT members, many of whom are concerned with the so-called "legal advice" you've been dishing out to the union president lately. Advice like:

• Try to break NYC law by charging premiums for GHI Senior Care (until you are stopped by a retiree lawsuit).
• Coerce the City Council into changing the law you couldn't break (until you are laughed out of the Council chambers).
• Shut up and don't say a word while GHI imposes illegal Senior Care copays (until stopped by a retiree lawsuit).
• Threaten UFT members with cease & desist letters.

To that end, dues paying, rank-and-file UFT members demand that you immediately (1) retract the Fake Legal Advice you've been giving our president; (2) stop impersonating an actual law firm; and (3) cease sending threatening letters to UFT members.

Please confirm in writing, as of three weeks ago, that you have complied with our clients' aforementioned demands. The promptness and completeness of your response will determine future blog posts and other forms of protected speech.

Very truly yours,
ACME Legal Services 


Wednesday, April 19, 2023

UFT Leaders love the 3% Pattern and Taylor Law While Los Angeles Teachers Reach Tentative Deal to Boost Pay by 21% Over 3 years

Would NYC teachers be willing to take a two for one hit on Taylor Law penalties with a view to the long term benefits? We know the leadership will fight to stop a strike because the penalties on them are more severe - the brilliance of the Taylor Law that enlists union leaderships in opposing strikes. The Unity crowd went nuts at a recent DA when an oppo person made an amendment calling for us to lobby to change the Taylor Law. Today is a DA and I hope it comes back again but we know Mulgrew will try to avoid calling on oppo. 

I will be outside getting signatures on our petition and handing out copies for people to take back to their schools. The usual Unity slugs will refuse to look at it.


Breaking news in the NYT:

The Los Angeles Unified School District has agreed to increase pay for teachers by more than 21 percent over three years. The tentative agreement came after teachers joined support staff on the picket lines in March.

Nick has a piece on the story at New Action:

Los Angeles Teachers Get 21% Raises – Without Even Having to Strike

UTLA has announced a tentative deal with the City of Los Angeles that includes 21% in raises over just three years. The signatures are still pending, but I don’t expect a no-vote on this one.

Not only do the raises put our dismal pattern to shame; they aren’t even the only economic gains. There are also special additional pay increases for hard-to-staff titles like nurses ($20,000) and special education teachers ($2,500), among others. Contractual class size reductions, which UFC supports outright but Unity Caucus usually rejects for financial reasons, are also part of the LA deal. So we’re talking about what would be a dream deal in New York. Oh yeah, and did I mention there aren’t any healthcare givebacks either?

The best part? Los Angeles teachers didn’t even have to strike. The City knew they were strike ready, as they had already ‘pre-struck‘ for three days earlier this year in solidarity with SEIU-99. This goes to show that it’s not necessarily striking itself, but even merely showing a willingness and capability to do so, that shocks municipalities into signing good contracts with labor unions.

None of this is a surprise. All the data suggests that it’s the strike threat, and almost entirely the strike threat, which is helping labor make gains right now. It’s why many of us in the left-opposition were so shocked to see LeRoy Barr and other UFT leaders speak out against lobbying to reform the Taylor Law so that we would have the right to strike ourselves.

All this is critical, because the right to strike is in jeopardy right now. The Supreme Court is primed to make a decision that could allow companies to sue labor unions for strike-related losses to their bottom line. It goes without saying, that this would have a massive chilling effect for labor. In this terrifying moment for workers, some members of the opposition are planning to put forward a resolution for today’s DA to join the national fight for the right to strike. Now, whether Mulgrew calls on anyone to actually raise that resolution is another story. But, I hope Unity reverses course and does the right thing. We deserve the right to strike. And we aren’t getting the contract we need without showing the City that UFT leadership plans to seek it out.

 As does James at ICE:


The United Teachers of Los Angeles union has a tentative contract agreement after they boycotted faculty conferences and went on strike for three days in solidarity with other education workers in the district.

The salary increases in this new 3 year contract in LA will be coming every six months. 

By my elementary math, that comes to 7% per year. Go UTLA! They won lower class sizes too.

There is full retro and I don't think they will have to wait 11 years to get all of it like here in NYC. We recently  did our income taxes and 2022 is the first year in many where lump sum payments from the 2014 contract that go back to 2009 were not part of it. Our accountant wondered why we made less money in 2022.

UTLA achieved this contract agreement in open bargaining. There was no cone of silence, confidentiality agreement someone had to sign be on the negotiating committee in L.A. like we have at the UFT. 

UFT leadership will probably say those Los Angeles, California teachers made less money than us so they are just catching up but their union changed its leadership a few years back to take a much more militant approach to bargaining. The last two LA contracts after they went on strike in 2019 and their COVID agreement have included solid victories.

Look at the subheading of the NBC4 story on the agreement showing how just the thought of another strike moved the district:

The agreement with UTLA eliminates the possibility of another potential work stoppage after the service workers union staged a three-day strike last month.

UFT leadership is so completely out of touch and the LA salary increases are more proof on why we need a new way of bargaining here in NYC.

Our petition campaign for a vote on healthcare, now hitting 7,000, has driven Unity Caucus and their legal eagles over the edge as they threaten to sue people over parodies. We are about to hit 7k, one third of the way to the constitution 10% figure. Last night's organizing call had 450 people registered which shows the interest. Over 200 showed up and stayed for most of the meeting. 


Tuesday, April 18, 2023

Organizing Call - UFT Members for Premium-Free, Quality Healthcare - 400 registered so far - get on board - Tonight at 7PM

 I'm copying James' post - my snail mail box has been overflowing with wet signatures but you can also sign online. We need a push to get these into more schools. Where ever they've gone in we are getting responses despite Unity attempts to suppress.


We can get ten percent of UFTers to sign our petition so we can get a full membership vote on significant changes to our healthcare if everyone climbs on board the petition express.

Tonight there is an organizing Zoom. Please attend.

Over 6,000 have already signed the petition. We have to get north of 19,000 signatures to have 10% of the UFTers on board. We are almost 1/3 of the way to the referendum. 

We can do this if everyone pitches in. If you are available tonight, please help us out.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Corruption @UFT in Para Election: Full-time patronnage jobs -- Unity is more interested in Unity than its membership, Petition on UFT Healthcare Vote Passes 6K

I posted a developing story about  the upcoming para election in the UFT -

Contentious UFT Para Chapter Election - Does Unity Cheat? I Know, you're shocked! 

As the nominating petitions were being circulated, word was getting out who was on our team.  We had one para who was a member of the Unity Caucus, who has strong feelings that change needs to happen and did not want to support the current Unity candidates.  Well, that para was called into the district office and offered a union paid position, so he opted out of running with us.

Then it happened again! Another potential candidate we had, who was also “all in”, is a member of Unity and felt he needed to take a stand and run with us, and who we were proud to have him on our team,  just a few days before the deadline to hand in the nomination petitions, he told us he was asked to “stand down” and not run with us. 

I'll say this time and again: The prime directive of the UFT/Unity Caucus leadership is to maintain power at all costs, even at the expense of the membership. I've always believed that if the oppo ever came close to winning or actually won, the leadership would pull one over Trump - actually refuse to leave - or maybe incite the Unity fairlful to storm the ramparts in their own version of January 6.

People ask me about what happens when our petition campaign hits the required 19-20 thousand. My answer is Unity denies, denies, denies the legitimacy of every signature even in violation of the constitution. And their mob-like behavior continues with the latest news from Arthur NYC Educator


 This came in from the team running:

Due to Shelvy Abrams and Reggie Colvin retiring in September 2023, and after 17 years as 2nd Vice Chair, Hector Ruiz Jr has moved on to another position in the union, which left their positions open for election, a special election to fill these positions, and a few others, is now underway and ballots will be mailed out on April17th.  (It’s still a mystery to us why it took 8 months after those retirements were effective to hold this special election…or was it to let the interim people get their names out there for 8 months...aka let them campaign for 8 months)!!!

Marie Para was very interested in running for office and approached other paraprofessionals who felt the same way she did about speaking up for paras and had the desire to step up.  Once she met with several paras, from many boroughs and districts, we had a very strong and diverse team.  The first step was to get a full commitment from each who wished to run, and it was easy as each of us strongly felt paras need leaders who can make changes that need to be made.  

We needed to get on the ballot and to do so one needed to collect signatures on a nominating petition.  Each of the potential candidates provided all the personal information on their nominating petition and collected signatures for themself as well as for the other team members.  We were all feeling good about the solidarity and unity within our team.

Then it happened!  As the nominating petitions were being circulated, word was getting out who was on our team.  We had one para who was a member of the Unity Caucus, who has strong feelings that change needs to happen and did not want to support the current Unity candidates.  Well, that para was called into the district office and offered a union paid position, so he opted out of running with us.

Then it happened again! Another potential candidate we had, who was also “all in”, is a member of Unity and felt he needed to take a stand and run with us, and who we were proud to have him on our team,  just a few days before the deadline to hand in the nomination petitions, he told us he was asked to “stand down” and not run with us.  

Disappointed, yes, but also expected.  This leaves me asking if Unity is more interested in Unity than its membership.   These two Unity members are “insiders” and believe the paras need leaders that will speak up and not be part of the status quo.  Its heartwarming to know they, and other Unity caucus members have told us, privately, that they will not support the Unity candidates and will cast a vote for us.  At the end of the day, its just very simple, our team is all about improving and giving the paras a long overdue voice and respect in the union.


James has this on the ICE Blog:


This is from Marie Para showing Unity cheating at an official UFT event. The video is on Facebook.

Spotlight on Truth 

You can’t say you didn’t….cause ‘ya did!! Lets look at the video tape!

Let’s pay attention to the rules of the UFT.  Let’s be clear on a few things….the UFT is our union, Unity is a caucus within the union.  Just as there other caucus’, such as MORE, ICE and SOLIDARITY.  Unity has been the controlling caucus within the union.  Whenever there is a function that the UFT pays for, NO caucus can campaign at these events.  If they did allow this, all candidates should be given the same space, time, and expense of campaigning on the UFT’s dime…or should that be on YOUR UNION DUES.

Now let’s pay attention to the timeline.  January 26, 2023 the UFT held the BRONX SRP at 4PM at the Bronx Borough Office….(this was a UFT paid event), yet the Unity Candidates were there campaigning BEFORE THE OFFICIAL ELECTION PROCESS WAS ANNOUNCED. 

The nomination petitions weren’t even ready until February 16, 2023.  There was no official announcement of when this special election was going to be… why were the Unity Candidates already being introduced as candidates and what position they were running for? And how did only Unity know about the election ahead of the official announcement?  And again, no caucus is allowed to campaign at UFT paid events!!!

This is obviously and attempt to gain an unfair advantage over other candidates.  If Unity has no regard to adhere to the rules and regulations in this election process, which would ensure a fair and transparent election, what can you expect from them if elected?

Ultimately, you want leaders that know and respect the rules and regulations governing this election process.


 Petition spreading

The petition to get a UFT mandated member referendum on significant changes to our healthcare just passed 6,000 signatures, with a thousand signing over spring break.

Tuesday, we will be having a live Zoom on the campaign. I will be speaking. We are getting close to being a third of the way there. Pease sign and then spread to every UFTer you know.


Union-strong friend,

We hope the spring break has been restful and rejuvenating.

We're beyond excited to report that more than +6K UFT active and retiree members have signed the UFT Healthcare Referendum petition.  

What we're witnessing is the growing momentum of a people-powered movement demanding quality, premium-free, and affordable healthcare in NYC and around the nation.

This past week in a rally organized by the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees, hundreds of city retirees and union workers congregated to raise their voices around preserving traditional Medicare for eligible city retirees, while City Hall and elected leaders had to take notice. 

Mayor Adams and the Municipal Labor Committee's de-facto leaders, Mulgrew (UFT) and Garrido (DC37), must make good on the promises made to us all.

In addition, we are among the thousands in our union that are galvanizing around a petition organizing effort that gives us agency over our healthcare, while mobilizing others and educating them about our member rights and responsibilities regarding mandatory subjects of bargaining, like healthcare.

Less than 4 weeks ago, together we successfully launched our member-wide referendum petition campaign calling for a membership-wide vote for any significant changes to active and/or retired members’ healthcare. These include any significant changes of our healthcare carriers, limits to our choice of healthcare carriers, or institutions of or raises to premiums, deductibles or copayments, etc. 

We also demand that UFT members must be provided full disclosure of the wording for such proposed changes, prior to the membership wide vote.

We continue to drive toward our 10% threshold of written member requests that are needed to trigger the UFT constitutional mandate compelling the UFT executive board to bring a member-wide referendum vote to all members.

Lastly, take a moment to read a piece entitled, "Activism is Circulating the Petition", by Arthur Goldstein, longtime educator, union leader and activist. Share it with others who are going back to school on Monday, along with the petition.


In our next phase, we are asking chapter leaders, delegates or any UFT member seeking to organize their chapters around this cause, to print the petition and share it with as many members at your school as possible. 

Scores of school chapters have already mobilized and are submitting their petitions. Retirees are also getting multiple petition signatures from UFT friends and colleagues.

Find a PDF copy of the petition to download, print and share here.

Join us this Tuesday, April 18th at 7 pm for our first organizing call for all those who want to help in reaching our goal of +20K signatures. To RSVP for our first Zoom organizing call, click here. We will map out a winning strategy together


The Charter School Scams Continue: Phony Reasons to Raise Cap Despite Loss of 7500 Students: Where are those waiting lists?

chart enrollment declines

Success Academy Attrition Worse Than Ever - Gary Rubinstein

On April 5th The New York Post published their annual ‘100% of Success Academy students get accepted into four-year colleges’ editorial. The class of 2023 will be the sixth graduating class of the infamous charter chain and according to the first paragraph of the editorial, Success Academy has accomplished this feat six years in a row.

I’ve been fact checking claims like this for about 12 years now and if you follow me at all you know that of course the 100% four year college admission statistic is a lie, but you will want to know how much of a lie it is this time. Looking at the year to year attrition, the thing that always jumps out at me is how almost half the students who are in 9th grade will graduate on time four years later. For this years analysis I found one of the most bizarre examples of short term attrition I think I have ever seen.- Continue reading

Saturday, April 15, 2023

The mainstream media repeats the lie of long waiting lists for charter schools and the public believes it and the argument is used to expand charters. For many years I have been challenging charters like Success Academy to show us their lists. AQE has a list of its own showing the drops in enrollment of charters in NYC.

And Gary Rubinstein's latest exposes the lie about Success having 100% of its grads being accepted to 4 year colleges - after they made much of the cohort disappear. 

By the way, the UFT needs to do a better job of opposing charters than calling for more transparency. They should be taking out TV ads with the info from Gary and AQE.

Here is the AQE bulletin:


Please send a letter to the governor using this tool from AQE. No more money for charter schools in the NYS budget!

So why is Governor Hochul fighting for more charters to open at all — either by lifting the regional cap or reauthorizing “zombie” charters that failed and closed — when there aren’t enough students to fill the seats that already exist?

If data were driving public policy, we would not be talking about charter schools right now. It is only on Governor Hochul’s budget agenda because of the influence of her billionaire donors, who have their own interests and profits at stake in the charter fight.

Email Governor Hochul and your State Legislators now and tell them: Don’t raise the cap, and don’t reauthorize zombie charters in the final budget!

In solidarity,

Jasmine Gripper


72% of increase in state foundation aid to NYC public schools since 2017-18 diverted to charter schools

Shocking! Since 2017-18, NYS Foundation Aid to NYC public schools increased by $1.5B --meant to provide public school students w/ a sound basic education. But 72% of amount or $1.1B went to increased charter school payments (not even counting rent).

See for NYSUT testimony

Chart here:



Hospitals' profit motive drives costs - the solution is NOT MedAdv/MulgrewCare but reigning in costs with controls

There was a time when hospital and health insurance costs were controlled - public and non-profit but the neo-liberal deregulation craze since the late 70s has created a monster. Last week I attended a film and panel discussion exposing these issues and pointing out that the only way to control costs and deliver better healthcare is a single payer system where the government regulates prices, similar to what Medicare does today. On the panel was former NYSNA president Judy Sheridan Gonzalez, whose husband Angel was a close associate for a few years in organizing in the UFT - and one of the co-founders of the Grassroots Education Movement (GEM). Judy who still works in a hospital pointed out all the scams they are using to drive profit over health. Watch this sort video of a few of her comments: see her summary here.

Here is the email they sent out:


Three logo banner for Physicians for a National Health Program -

NY Metro, Center for Independence of the Disabled - NY, and New York

State Nurses Association.

Dear Norm,

On Tuesday night, Physicians for a National Health Program - NY Metro, Center for Independence of the Disabled - New York, and New York State Nurses Association hosted a screening of the new documentary American Hospitals, followed by a panel discussion.  Our panel of experts discussed how the issues raised in the film manifest in New York state, systemic solutions to the failings of our profit-centered current system, and modest improvements that would bring some immediate relief.  We had a full house with lots of great questions.  Due to technical difficulties, we are unfortunately unable to share a full recording of the panel. See below for a few highlights and ways to take action!

Photograph of panel of four people sitting in the front of a very

red movie theater screening room.

Speaker Judy Sharidan-Gonzalez succinctly captured how the current financing of healthcare negatively impacts patient care - see her summary here.

Screening attendees expressed the reasons they support single-payer healthcare: the NY Health Act and Medicare for All - guaranteed, universal, comprehensive healthcare that is paid for fairly, according to income, with no out of pocket costs, surprise bills or medical debt. Systemic inequities and injustices require systemic solutions!

A collage of folks standing in front of the movie poster, holding

signs expressing different reasons why they support the New York

Health Act.

Action Items & Resources:


Featured speakers:

Headshot of a smiling bespectacled Black man wearing a pink

button-up shirt with a stethoscope around his neck.

Donald Moore, MD, MPH appears in American Hospitals as a featured expert. He earned his degrees in 1981 from the Yale School of Medicine and the Yale School of Public Health Clinical Assistant Professor at Weill Medical College of Cornell University and SUNY-Downstate Medical School. He has been an Attending Physician at New York Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital since 1990 where he currently serves as Chair of the Medical Ethics and Professional Conduct Committee. Dr. Moore is the past President of the Provident Clinical Society, the Brooklyn affiliate of the National Medical Association (NMA) and he has served as the President of the Association of Yale Alumni in Medicine (AYAM) and President of the Medical Society of the County of Kings (MSCK). Dr Moore is chair of the Committee on Physician Health of the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY), Chair of the Health Information Technology (HIT) committee, and serves on the Board of Directors for the NY Metro Chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program. 

Image of a smiling woman with long curly hair standing at a

podium in a red t-shirt. The front of the podium reads New York State

Nurses Association and the backdrop of the image is a large banner

that says Medicare for All.

Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN has been a health care and social justice activist for most of her life and an ER nurse at Montefiore Hospital, in the Bronx for 40 years. Introducing Single Payer to the New York State Nurses Association 30 years ago, she was instrumental in engaging the legislature to generate such a bill.
After serving nearly a decade as NYSNA president, Judy was a key leader in the January 2023 NYC Nurses Strike of over 6,000 nurses.This historic strike won unprecedented victories around racial and social equity for patients, enforceable nurse patient ratios, accountability requirements for huge hospital systems and served to inspire labor actions across the spectrum to continue similar fights. 

Headshot of a smiling woman with short dark hair. She is wearing

a red button up shirt and gold earrings.

Barbara Caress has over 40 years of experience as a non-profit, union and public agency manager, consultant and administrator. She served as Director of Strategic Policy and Planning for the SEIU Local 32BJ Health, Pension, Legal and Training Funds, which provide benefits to 250,000 people living in seven states where she oversaw the substantial redesign effort dedicated to developing incentives for members to use, and providers to offer, patient centered medical homes and other certified quality providers. Most recently she has been assisting the Professional Staff Congress in their campaign opposing the privatization of City retiree Medicare benefits.
Ms Caress has spent many years as a healthcare consultant working for such clients as the New York City and State Health Departments, the Community Service Society, Local 1199, SEIU, NYSNA, the Freelancers Union, and the United Hospital Fund. She was a member of NCQA’s Standards Committee, NQF Hospital MAP, and the NYC Primary Care Improvement Project Advisory Board. Author of a wide range of health policy articles, reports and reviews, Ms Caress received her undergraduate and graduate education at the University of Chicago and is currently an adjunct faculty member in the Program in Health Administration at the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, CUNY.

Moderated by:

Image of a smiling bespectacled woman with long brown hair. She

is wearing a blue button up shirt.

Heidi Siegfried, MSW, JD is CIDNY’s Director of Health Policy. She monitors and analyzes trends and initiatives asthey affect people with disabilities in the city and state to help CIDNY develop its health policy agenda, testimony, bill memos, and action alerts. She represents people with disabilities in a variety of healthcare coalitions.
Prior to her position at CIDNY, Ms. Siegfried was a Supervising Attorney at The Partnership for the Homeless and was Executive Director at the Capital Region and Genesee Valley Chapters of the New York Civil Liberties Union. She has a Master of Social Work from the University of Nebraska and a Juris Doctorate from SUNY at Buffalo School of Law.

Thank you for being with us in struggle and for taking action today!

Morgan Moore
Physicians for a National Health Program – New York Metro

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 Amy Rowe commentary

Below my signature are notes taken during the American Hospitals documentary Tuesday night and the panel discussion afterward. Forgive the rough nature of my notes, for time reasons.

Here's a quick introduction and summary, including the documentary's relevance for those fighting a forced transfer to Medicare Advantage. 

Big takeaways from documentary:

- Private insurance companies pay much higher rates to hospitals than traditional Medicare. If you have a percentage copay, you're paying a percentage of a much higher price for a service or procedure. I assume private Medicare Advantage companies have no more protection for patients from this practice than do workplace group private health insurance policies.

- Private insurance companies' prices for hospital procedures and stays are negotiated behind closed doors and basically invisible to consumers - unpredictable, variable, and nontransparent - as well as being very high. Traditional Medicare rates are low, transparent, public, and standardized for each procedure. 

- The quality of hospital procedures is as high when traditional Medicare is billed as it is when expensive insurance is billed. Either the documentary or the panelists, or both, noted that for routine procedures like knee replacements, your community hospital's outcomes are as high-quality as academic-center hospitals (although for exotic procedures, you want the academic-center hospitals).

- Panelists noted after the documentary that the hospital medical error rate is just as high for fancy insurance as for traditional Medicare: "We [nurses and doctors] see what's going on." Fancy or high-priced workplace group insurance doesn't protect you, they said. Conversely, traditional Medicare's lower reimbursement rates to hospitals don't boost your medical risk.

- Rural hospitals are closing because they're small and less able to negotiate aggressively with insurance companies for better reimbursement rates for procedures. When they get less money than it costs to perform procedures, they can't go on and they close. This threatens both the health of people in the area and the health of the local economy, because businesses and people don't want to live where they can't get health care, where if you have a heart attack the nearest medical care is an hour away.

Despite their huge profits - which have different names due to the nominally nonprofit hospital structure - hospitals pay no taxes due to being nominally nonprofit. That loads up the community with higher taxes, such as on real estate, in addition to the burden of high insurance costs and high medical costs.

Thoughts from me - skip this section, friends, if you've heard this before, and scroll straight to the NOTES section below my signature - about how the documentary relates to the fight against a forced transfer to Medicare Advantage (the documentary focused more on group health insurance for employees than on Medicare):

- Medicare Advantage companies will not fail to learn and use every technique perfected by group insurance plans (often owned by the same companies) for employees, which shift more and more costs from the insurance company onto the insured sick person and their families. Many people in medical bankruptcy in the U.S. have medical insurance.

- The requirement for sick patients to fight private insurance companies, such as Medicare Advantage companies, to access necessary medical care is particularly dangerous and inappropriate for retirees, who are older and sicker and have NO human resources department or union to negotiate or fight for them.

- The injustice of a forced transfer to Medicare Advantage and a foreseeable, unwinnable war for essential medical care is magnified for those whose jobs made them sick, such as 9/11 first responders and civilian employees forced to continue to work near the toxic smoke, or whose jobs cause physical danger, wear and tear, high stress, and high fatigue, including police, firefighters, educators, medical professionals, and others whose jobs forced them into public contact during Covid.

- No self-respecting New York City taxpayer (who has a degree of good luck to have enough income to pay taxes) would wish suffering, including that caused medical neglect / denial of care / inferior, restricted, unpredictably accessible care, on any human being, least of all NYC retirees, to save money in a city and state with alternate ways to save and take in money. That is a morally depraved and unnecessary path to more money for the city or for some union leaders.

Amy Rowe
Brooklyn, NY

NOTES - American Hospitals documentary and panel discussion, Tuesday, April 11, 2023, 7:10 pm, Quad Cinema, New York City