Thursday, July 27, 2023

NO to Promised Healthcare is Not Enough – Retired Teachers Deserve Real Leadership


Retiree UFT/Unity Caucus driving retirees and working members off a healthcare cliff

When the Unity Caucus RTC chapter leadership came into office, instead of organizing the chapter’s rank and file to defend their hard-won healthcare benefits, they did nothing but push on retirees an inferior, privatized plan that denies care with countless preauthorizations, a plan whose company is under federal investigation. They disseminate misleading information and sow division within the chapter by accusing those who stand in their way of bad faith and playing politics while using their positions to pursue their own political agendas at the expense of 60,000 retired UFT members. 

For the past two years the RTC leadership has failed [and in many cases refused] to put in the necessary work and listen to the calls, and often pleas, of rank and file retirees to defend their enrollment in traditional Medicare.

Instead of using chapter meetings as a way to connect and organize, members sat through endless political rants, rehashing of personal grievances, and misleading promises.  With lives hanging in the balance with uncertainty, the final in-person meeting was made completely remote.

Members were misled into believing that their chapter’s leadership was up to the task of defending their healthcare  – instead they learned that there was nothing to back up their rhetoric.

Countless retirees have stated that they believe that their chapter’s leadership misrepresented the contents of the first one Medicare Advantage plan under Emblem which they pushed as the greatest health plan ever, followed by an equal propaganda campaign under the new even greater Aetna plan in order to push a NO opt-out vote.

After losing the initial court case, the chapter leadership sent emails encouraging people to contact the  members of City Council  to get then to change a law that has protected retirees for almost 50 years.  The final straw for rank and file retirees was the sight of 5 Unity Caucus retirees on the UFT dole and tied to the leadership begging the City Council to change the law so they could keep Senior Care and not be forced into Medicare Advantage. A short time later they were standing up and defending the Aetna plan that they so derided just weeks before.

The chapter and union leadership totally failed to get the politicians to support them. Unfortunately, Clicktivism ≠ Organizing.  

So it comes as no surprise that when retirees asked about a plan to move forward to preserve traditional Medicare and Seniorcare, they learned that their leadership had none, other than to continue to push their forced enrollment into a privatized Medicare Advantage plan.

And after once gain losing in court and  hundreds upon hundreds of members reached out to their chapter leader expressing deep concerns about next steps they were met with silence. 

Members of the retired teachers chapter deserve leadership that is responsive to their concerns even when those concerns don’t align with their own political agendas. 


NOTE: In the spring 2024 chapter elections, vote to replace the Unity Caucus chapter officials with Retiree Advocate. And if that actually happens, expect the Unity leadership to demand a revote.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Retiree Advoate Newsletter - UFC Statement of Support for OTs/PTs, Nurses, and Audiologists: UFT Must Return Back to the Negotiating Table


                                                       July 27, 2023

Join Retiree Advocate/UFT - Become a member: $20 annual fee
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Retiree Advocate is a member of  UNITED FOR CHANGE

Monday, July 24, 2023

Important Support needed for OTPT For A FAIR Contract

I am working on a detailed analysis of the outrageous calls for a re-vote by people who were too busy doing their hair to vote in the first place. How about the 75% of UFT members who didn't vote in last year's election? Let's give them another shot.

Here is a way to counter the Unity manipulations:






From: OTPT For A FAIR Contract <>
Monday, July 24, 2023


Greetings all,

We’re writing to keep lines of communication open during this important time. It is a tumultuous time for our chapter and we hear and understand that the chaos and uncertainty surrounding the contract vote is causing division and anxiety.  

Principles of democracy, transparency and grassroots organizing have been and continue to be cornerstones of our actions. The contract vote was conducted in a democratic way following established practices, and certified by the American Arbitration Association. 1619 members of the OT/PT chapter mailed in their ballots, voting 2 to 1 against the contract (1074 to 545). Department of Elections Certification of Results UFT 2023 contract

The concept of a re-vote on the SAME contract is unprecedented, and at its core, would threaten the legitimacy and value of the democratic voting process. Such a thing has never been done in our 60+ years as a union. In fact, we couldn't find an instance of this being done in any union. We’re also concerned that a re-vote could set a dangerous precedent for our union and others - that any contract vote that has been certified might be put to a revote when some parties ask for it.  We should demand that the UFT support our chapter, do everything in their power to get us back to the table and negotiate a better deal.             


While the OT/PT chapter may be small, our voices, when united, are powerful! We believe that negotiations do not only happen at the bargaining table and have always advocated for folks to take action to increase awareness and support for a fair contract. Now is an important time to take action:

  1. Email the Chancellor, UFT  and Panel for Educational Policy (see email addresses below) with a message such as:

Get back to the table and negotiate a fair contract for therapists, nurses, and audiologists. 

  1. Next, encourage community members, parents and fellow UFT members to also email on our behalf with a message such as:

Get back to the table and negotiate the fair contract our DOE therapists, nurses, and audiologists deserve. Our families and school communities stand in solidarity with these vital service providers who work tirelessly with all of our students, especially our students with disabilities.

  1. Then, find your city council member’s email address here: and send a message asking them to do the same

UFT emails:

Michael Mulgrew -; Richard Mantell -; Carl Cambria -; Beth Norton -; Cynthia Bennett -; Melissa Williams -; Susan Kavanagh -;Catherine Cirillo-;

Michael; Mike; Brad Alter-; MaryJo; Laura Tamburo; LeRoy

City emails:

Chancellor David C. Banks-

Mayor Eric Adams- via

Panel for Educational Policy Members:

Aaron Bogad-Staten Island Borough President's appointee-; Alan Ong-; Anita Garcia=; Anthony “Tony” Giordano, mayoral appointee-; Chantel Cabrera-; Dr Angela Green, Chairperson-; Ephraim Zakry-; Geneal Chacon-; Gladys Ward-; Gregory Faulkner, Vice Chairperson-; Jessamyn Lee-; Kaliris Salas-Ramirez-; Khari Edwards-; Lily Chan -; Maisha Sapp, Contracts Committee Chair-; Maria Kenley-; Marjorie Dienstag-; Michelle Joseph -; Naveed Hasan; Phoebe Sade-Arnold-; Sheree Gibson, Queens Representative-;Tazin Azad -; Thomas Sheppard, CEC Presidents Representative-

City Council Members: 

In solidarity,

OTs and PTs for a Fair Contract


Thursday, July 20, 2023

Unity History of Trying to Cheat a Vote, Mulgrew to OT/PTs: "Everyone loooooves democracy until I don't get my way?" - EONYC

How far will Mulgrew and Unity go out of their way to trample on our collective decisions by attempting to reverse this legal and valid contract ratification vote by using intimidation and coordinating a minority within the unit to get a revote with the results they desire?  Is there an orchestrated attempt by UFT leadership to reverse the OT/PT bargaining unit's ratification vote which turned down their proposed contract with the City? DUHHHHH! 

I've been following the attempt to discredit the non-Unity Chapter Leader of the OT/PT chapter, blaming her for the rejection of the contract, despite the fact they also rejected the 2018 contract with an even larger % vote despite the OT/PT chapter being under the total control of a Unity chapter leader and Exec Bd, all of whom recommended ratification. I've read some of the Unity backed communications that would make your eyes pop out but am not at liberty to share - yet. Some of the most outrageous are anonymous. So how do we know they are from Unity? Double DUHHHHHHHH!

When some of these communications from union officials and their minions are shared publicly -- well, the fun will begin. But first .....

I've been working on a few posts on the situation, but a lot of what I wanted to report is included in thie EONYC post to The Wire. In a recent post I went back to the 2018 contract which OT/PT rejected and ask people to compare how the leadership reacted when they didn't have a non-Unity CL to blame. 
I'm shocked there's gambling or Unity will try to negate results they don't like

But first I want to add the historical notes on how Unity has operated over the decades when faced with losses. They try to negate votes and/or change rules.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

The UFT and Charters - Toeism - Put the right toe in, take the right toe out, Others Call for their abolition, NPE Trashes CREDO Pro Charter report

At this point, any sane person has to at least wonder if we should continue having charter schools at all. Some folks want to try reform. Let’s fix the rules, they say, so that charter schools are more accountable and less prone to fraud and malfeasance. 

However, you can’t reform a system that is at its core inequitable. No matter what you do, charter schools will always play by one set of rules and authentic public schools by another. That is fundamentally unjust.

We need better than just reform – we need abolition

....Steven Singer, Gadfly on the Wall

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

The message in my recent blog on UFT and charters - Update on Charter Co-Locos Lawsuit - UFT attacked by Murdoch Press on charters - Where's the response? - may have gotten lost in the weeds.

I received this comment Leonie who was closely involved in the court case:

The UFT and their attorneys on retainer at Stroock took the lead in litigating this lawsuit and deserve much  credit for this. Moreover, contrary to what you suggest, there were people from the UFT in the courtroom including at least one of their own attorneys. I think it’s important to put the record straight...more than a quarter of charter schools close within 5 years of opening. By year 15, roughly 50% of charter schools close. That’s not a stable model of public education.

Ahhh, that's the rub. I agree with Leonie that charters are not a stable model but the UFT plays the game halfway to try to avoid being attacked as anti-charter. Now they may expect the attacks I pointed to from the right wing Murdoch press, but I think the UFT is playing to the liberal sympathizers with charters.

The UFT may have initiated this suit and sent a few staffers to the court house. But they didn't put any organizing skin in the game, as I pointed out in my article where I compared their placid responses to the work Marianne has done in getting people out. I term their policy toward charters as Toeism - put the right toe in, take the right toe out and do the hokey pokey.

Judges do notice when there is support in the streets. 

I agree with Singer and want charters gone, not modified. The UFT is in the "modify" camp. We need to be in the abolish camp.

Singer writes in  I am a Charter School Abolitionist, and You Should Be, Too.

Here are all the rules public schools have to follow in order to be funded by taxpayer dollars – they have to be run by elected school boards, have open records, accept all students from the community, etc. Now here are the tiny set of rules this one particular school has to abide by – it’s charter, if you will. So there’s one set of rules for authentic public schools and another for each individual charter school. Moreover, 1,779 charter schools (37 percent that receive federal grants) never opened in the first place or were quickly shut down.

Frankly, I don't think they want to put much more than a court case as skin in the game of fighting charters. I see Leonie as more invested in the issue than the union leadership.

I suspect that in watching the behavior on numerous issues over the decades. the UFT leadership are fundamentally corporatists. As one reader put it:

The "rational explanation" on the behavior of the UFT/AFT is a thorough understanding (by retirees) of what neoliberalism is.  I'm currently reading Thom Hartmann's book on the subject.  ... UFT retiree

Neo-liberalism as the philisophy driving the UFT works for me.

The NPE came out with a slashing report on the oft-cited positive CRUDO report on charters. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

OT/PT - What Happened in 2018 When they Rejected the contract? Leaders negotiated a new one but in 2023 calling for a Revote

From Dec. 19, 2018 Report Ed Notes:
The (Unity) OT/PT Ex Bd and the chapter leader recommended ratification. Yet 2/3 didn't listen to them. How do we end up with such a disconnect? UFT leadership always tries to maintain tight controls of functional chapters. Rank and file members of the chapter have formed a group called OT/PTs for a Fair Contract, with an active closed FB page. ... OP/PT Unity controlled chapter Ex board engaged in McCarthyism: OT/PT Ex Bd red baits Fair Contract group as being "infiltrated by outside forces" - socialists -- shades of southern segregationists blaming outside agitators for civil rights movement. Claims they are anti-union. Hint they are being "managed" by outside forces; Fair Contract group call them out at UFT Ex Bd.

Let's revote the 2022 UFT election because of the 25% low turnout -- Norm's joke of the day. 

Actually, I'd like to revote the 1970 contract because I think I mistakenly voted for Shanker.


Read Nick's analysis - Mulgrew MIA as Unity Tries to Disorganize OT/PT Bargaining Unit into Revoting ‘Yes’

Tuesday, July 18, 2023

We've been hearing stories that the UFT/Unity leadership, unhappy with the OT/PT rejection of the contract, is maneuvering for a revote, instead of going back to the bargaining table to get another deal. These are the lazy days of summer, so why bother since when you lose a vote, just keep doing it over until you win. I will have the ugly details, as will the other chief bloggers and commentators as to the implications of this move for a chapter where 55% voted, which ironically is being termed "low turnout" by the very people who were so happy with 25% turnout in the UFT 2022 election. Let's give those poor people who didn't vote another bite of the apple.

To complicate things, the union has placed the OT/PT people in the same bargaining unit with others like nurses who were in favor of the contract but are bound by the majority vote of the chapter. The same thing is going on here.

So my fading memory remembered the similar situation in the 2018 contract when nurses came to an exec bd meeting with a leaflet detailing their horrible working conditions. You must read the leaflet (below) they handed out that were not solved by the contract but pleaded to be able to separate them from the OT/PT so they could get the contract that didn't solve their horrible working conditions at all. Go figure. 

Today the same nurses' unit is again raising the issue of why they are in the OT/PT bargaining unit, an issue which is in the hands of UFT leaders, not the nurses. In 2018 they asked to be separated and that wasn't done. The guess is that the UFT officials hoped that this more pro-Unity group would help dilute the more anti-Unity OT/PT people.

Below is my then blog on the issue, followed by Arthur's Ex Bd and DA Minutes.

I was wrong on a few predictions, but they seem to be coming true this time. I blame the force of gravity for disturbing the space-time continuum.

Note this from 5 years ago:

  • OT/PT for Fair Contract affirm they are pro-union at UFT Ex Bd

I'm going to suggest they consider trying to find another union to be their bargaining agent - a real union, like maybe the Teamsters? Frankly, if we have a union leadership that refuses to abide by votes of the membership, do we even have a legitimate union?

At that time the OT/PT CL was Unity. Now the CL is not Unity. Hmmmm.  



Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Solidarity for Never: UFT Leadership Out to Teach Membership a "Lesson" on OT/PT Rejection of Contract?

Our contract has not been ratified so this has left us vulnerable to outside forces.... OT/PT Ex Bd to chapter
The UFT leadership has always used scare tactics to suppress alternative voices. Now they are taking special advantage of the Janus decision to enforce loyalty oaths of sorts ---- Moi
There's a lot of meat packed into this post so let me start with the main Takeaways:
  • UFT leadership will punish OT/PT chapter for rejecting contract by delaying re-negotiations. While everyone gets their raises, they won't - maybe for a long time.
  • OT/PT chapter leader and OT/PT Chapter Ex Bd recommended ratification, at odds with rank and file which rejected contract by 66%. Seen as an instrument, as most functional chapters are, of UFT leadership.
  • OT/PTs for a Fair Contract:  Rank and File organizes to pressure leadership.
  • OP/PT chapter Ex board engaged in McCarthyism: OT/PT Ex Bd red baits Fair Contract group as being "infiltrated by outside forces" - socialists -- shades of southern segregationists blaming outside agitators for civil rights movement. Claims they are anti-union. Hint they are being "managed" by outside forces; Fair Contract group call them out at UFT Ex Bd.
  • Nurses in same bargaining unit ratified contract by 95% and then complained they weren't getting their raise despite lodging complaints about how awful their working conditions were; Asked to be separated from OT/PT;  Leadership supported separating nurses- thus further isolating OT/PTs.
  • Opposition caucuses and independents support OT/PTs in their struggle for a fair contract. Rally held outside Dec. DA. Reso raised.
  • OT/PT for Fair Contract affirm they are pro-union at UFT Ex Bd
On November 4, 2018, when contract vote outcomes were posted, I reported:
"The OT/PT, nurses unit rejected the contract. I think the leadership will try to punish them for rejecting the contract by letting a lot of time pass so they will be not get any raises. That'll learn em for saying NO."
Mulgrew sent out a letter to the chapter. A non OT/PT CL emailed me:

Monday, July 17, 2023

Update on Charter Co-Locos Lawsuit - UFT attacked by Murdoch Press on charters - Where's the response?

UPDATE at July 14, 5 PM:  The Judge ruled that the Temporary Restraining Order would continue so that Success Academy is barred from renovating the spaces in Waterside and Sheepshead Bay until he rules on the application for preliminary injunctions in both lawsuits, which he intends to do as soon as possible.... The DOE immediately argued that these cases should be dismissed, based on their view that the issue should have gone to the Commissioner first instead of to Court, and if not, they should be granted another 45 days to research and argue the other claims made in the lawsuit.  

The Judge seemed surprised, but seemed to ignore that request, and immediately dove into the more substantive questions: namely, whether the Educational Impact Statements should have mentioned the potential impact of these proposals on class size, and more specifically, whether DOE should have analyzed how the loss of rooms at the existing schools might prevent them from lowering class size, especially considering the new class size law passed last spring by the Legislature and signed into law by the Governor this fall.

The city's defense seemed to be primarily based on two narrow issues: that the state law that requires EIS's does not explicitly mention class size, and again, that any legal challenge should have been filed with the Commissioner first, as matters such as class size are so complex that they require education expertise.  ....Leonie Haimson:

Retirees rally, July 6
There was no UFT presence in court other then a lawyer from Stroock, the UFT law firm. The other lawyer, Laura Barbieri from Advocates for Justice, has worked with Leonie for years. So clearly the UFT is involved but they are trying to stay low-key. No attempt to engage the members in showing resistance, like having people outside. UFT leaders fight a tepid battle against charters, other than a very few. Very, very, very few. Compare to the big crowd of mostly retirees rallying across the street from the courthouse on July 6 to greet the emerging Marianne Pizzitola and the team of lawyers the day before they won a temporary restraining order on the Medicare issue. The lawyers made the poing that showing up influences the court.  Mulgrew is no Marianne.

An astute observer stated to me recently about UFT lack of response to attacks from the right on their charter policy - 

Makes little sense since the NYP & WSJ will blast them anyway, so why not try to get more objective press there?
My response is - what actually makes sense about the UFT/Unity semi-brain trust nowadays? They try to slide instead of proudly owning an anti-charter policy. In essence, they leave the field open to right wing propaganda. But I imagine a response from them would be to show how they don't really oppose charters instead of SCREW 'EM.

Monday, July 17, 2023

I posted the press release Leonie sent out Friday morning: Block co-location of 2 Success Academy charter schools - July 14 - 2 lawsuits, challenging DOE co-location and re-location proposals - With our Favorite Judge

A teacher at the Sheepshead Bay HS Campus, which is deeply affected by the co-loco issue, asked me who was behind the court case opposing charter co-locos and, of course, Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters had a strong hand in it. Not much sign of UFT involvement - except for the clue that one of the lawyers was from Stroock, the law firm used by the UFT (and where Randi came from).

As a school building under threat from an Eva invasion, why weren't the teachers in the affected schools mobilized or even notified? Because the UFT tries to fight charter from under the covers for fear of being accused of being anti-charter by the right wing and even the liberal media. Duhhhhh! They'd attack the UFT even if they did nothing. I have links to the Rupert Murdoch press attacks below.

The UFT and charter schools has an ugly history, going back to the Al Shanker creation of the very idea of charters. I myself saw the charter option as attractive in the late 90s as a teacher empowerment tool to get out from under DOE bureaucracy and dictatorship supervisors - I even urged Randi to provide UFT support for members who wanted to start a charter school - naturally they would be a UFT school - and if she listened to me the landscape might not look the same. Teachers would choose the supervisors - a revolutionary concept but one that has been used in Europe and elsewhere.

What happens when teachers run the school

I've always maintained that a teaching staff should chose the principal, not the DOE.

But Randi had a different idea -  have the UFT itself open charters - which they did and they did not do very well --- the UFT is just another bureaucracy, after all. My plan would have teachers, not the union or a corporate entity, running schools. Randi put me on a committee to plan a charter school with CCNY but that fell through. Then I realized -- the UFT leadership is as afraid of empowering teachers as the DOE and the corporate world is. Once I was clued in that teacher power was a dream, I turned against charters.

Now, the UFT does oppose charters in some ways but weakly. They support charters if they meet certain conditions. 

Support for charters is a fundamental contradiction to support for public schools.

The UFT does not focus an attack on the idea of charters as a drain on public funds and the creation of a dual system that ultimately harms all students. Or call for the conversion of charters back to public schools.

The UFT does openly fight lifting the cap on NYC charters, so some credit there. Note this headline from Jan. 2023: He took a position on NY State charter authorizing bodies.

NY teachers union wants changes to charter schools:

Yeah, I want changes. I want the ed scam of the century - think Bit-Coins - gone.

Saturday, July 15, 2023

NYC Retirees tell City Council " It's time to get off the fence" and joining the July 25 Save Medicare Rally in DC

I did make it to the City Hall Rally for City Council Bill on Thursday but a little late. Good to see working teachers Nick, Judi and Ibeth get there to show support. It was a hot day and it looked like about 150 retirees showed up. I heard the end of the Charles Barron speech and Marianne made a strong speech. The great think was how many unions were present.

UFT hacks have been trying to discredit Marianne by whispering to City Council people she lives in Georgia and must be a Trumpy. It's the same slime we always see coming out of Unity. When they can't beat you to go dirty. And by the way - if the oppo ever threatens their control watch the dirt fly by doing the opposite - red baiting the oppo. Or maybe they will say we are secret Trunpies. And if we dare raise questions about the vote we are automatically Trumpies. Oh the quandry for the hacks -- trying to decide whether to attack opponents as right or left?

Here is the Working Bites link and full article below: 

NYC Retirees Tell Council Members ‘It’s Time to Get Off the Fence’

Here are some pics:


The turnout from City Hall Park


I also signed up for the July 25 sojourn to Washington. Seeing the movement grow from our own narrow interests here in NYC and plug into the national Medicare issue is a great sign.

Thank you for your interest in joining the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees, Protect Traditional Public Medicare (PTPM) and Be A Hero in Washington DC on July 25th.

We are so excited to have you join us in DC as we fight together to Reclaim Medicare from Corporate Greed.  Our goal is to make sure our elected leaders in DC know that we support strengthening and improving Medicare and that no one should be forced onto these private insurance plans that delay and deny care. We are planning a press conference and speakout on capitol hill and some lobby visits with elected officials.  

By Joe Maniscalco

Friday, July 14, 2023

Block co-location of 2 Success Academy charter schools - July 14 - 2 lawsuits, challenging DOE co-location and re-location proposals - With our Favorite Judge

Today is Bastille Day -- storm the Eva Moskowitz barricades. Lyle Frank has riled the elite --- he needs a food taster.


For immediate release: July 13, 2023

Contact: Sarah Frank (, Laura Barbieri  (

Where: NY State Supreme Court, 80 Centre St, NY, NY

When: Friday, July 14, 2023, at 9:30am (arguments to be heard at 10:30 am)

What: Press conference outside of the courthouse  

New York, NY – Tomorrow at 10:30 AM, at the NY Supreme Court building at 80 Centre St., Judge Lyle Frank will hear arguments in the lawsuit to block the co-location of two Success Academy charter schools in the Waterside Academy middle school building in Queens and the Sheepshead Bay high school complex in Brooklyn.  At the same time, preliminary hearings will be held on a concurrent lawsuit to block the re-location and co-location of three transfer schools designed for under-credited and over-aged students: the forced move of the Edward A Reynolds West Side High School to a building across town to East Harlem, and the co-locations of Brownsville High School and Aspirations Diploma Plus High School in Brooklyn.

Last summer, Judge Lyle Frank ruled that the budget cuts to schools had been illegally imposed by the city, and more recently issued a preliminary injunction against the City's plan to change the healthcare of NYC retirees to a Medicaid Advantage plan. 

Before the hearing, a press conference will be held at 9:30 AM in front of the courthouse, with students, parents, teachers at the affected schools, as well as attorneys representing the plaintiffs.  The lawsuits argue that these proposed changes in school utilization should be blocked, primarily because the Educational Impact Statements prepared by DOE were profoundly deficient and omitted much critical information about how these changes would affect students.  For example, there was no discussion of the educational impact of the loss of a science lab on the Waterside Leadership middle school students, or the loss of the Lyfe Center in the case of West Side High School students, which takes care of their young children while they are enrolled in school.  

In addition, none of the Educational Impact Statements mentioned the new class size law and no assessment was made whether there will remain sufficient space in the schools to lower class size to mandated levels if the proposed changes of school utilization are adopted.  Instead, the EIS’s wrongly assumed that class sizes at the existing schools would continue into the indefinite future, even though their current class sizes are above the level mandated by the new law.

Thursday, July 13, 2023

City Hall Rally for City Council Bill, today 12:30, OT/PT Turns down contract - story in Chalkbeat, Plus 2018 contract voting data

About 40% of the 3,000 members of the Occupational and Physical Therapists UFT Chapter voted no, according to Melissa Williams, the chapter’s leader. 

Pay disparities anger occupational and physical therapists

Williams and her colleagues feel that they’re being paid less over time than teachers despite their roles requiring similar education. At the top of the pay scale, she and her colleagues make considerably less than comparably educated teachers, she said. For example, by January a therapist with 10 years of experience and a master’s degree would earn $86,131, according to UFT documents, while a teacher with the same years and degree would earn $103,594. 

According to a survey completed by Williams’ chapter, nearly three-quarters of therapists work second or third jobs after school.

“To look around the table and see that those of us doing similar work are getting paid differently isn’t fair,” she said. “I’m concerned not only for my financial future and my son’s financial future. I’m also concerned for the financial viability for people joining this career.” 

Another sticking point for the therapists was a last-minute addition during contract negotiations of a ninth session to their working day, Williams said. Therapists see two to three students per session. “We barely have time to do eight sessions,” Williams said.....
......Chalkbeat article.

 Thursday, July 13, 2023

Lots to cover today. I had lunch with chapter leader Melissa Williams yesterday to try to understand the details of why the chapter turned down the contract, as they did in 2018. Unity is not happy that she's the chapter leader and I'd bet they will try to return the chapter to Unity hands in next year's election. One way is to attack her and her supporters and blame them, not a lousy contract, for the NO vote, which was pretty substantial - see my recent article - OT/PT, nurses, audiologists vote NO. More info with full Chalkbeat article below. 

The news for retirees - show up at city hall today -- numbers count


WHAT: Rally/Press Conference at City Hall, NYC

WHEN: Thursday, July 13, 2023

TIME: 12:30 PM

WHY: Rally against Mayor Eric Adams’ forcing NYC senior citizen retirees into an unwanted and substandard “Medicare Advantage Program.”

911 Parents & Families of Firefighters and WTC Victims announces our categorical opposition to Mayor Eric Adams’ efforts to remove traditional Medicare,  plus the NYC supplemental coverage, from 250,000 retired NYC public servants-against their wishes! This includes NYPD, FDNY, EMS, and numerous other official NYC Agencies and Departments.

Many of these uniformed and civilian retirees have devoted their entire working lives to The City of New York! Many of these retirees lost their own uniformed and civilian children and loved ones on 911! Why are our rights being robbed from us upon retirement?

This Mayor cannot be permitted to unilaterally revoke a 57-year precedent that was guaranteed to all New York City’s  Medicare eligible employees upon retirement!

We fully endorse the leader- ship of Ms. Marianne Pizzitola, President of the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees. Her organization is championing The fight to restore the rights of  New York City senior citizen employees to retain traditional Medicare and NYC supplementary coverage.  Stop this discrimination against NYC senior citizen retirees!

A rally led by Ms. Pizzitola will be held by The New York City Organization of Public Service Retirees on Thursday, July 13, 12:30PM, at City Hall, NYC. All concerned citizens are urged to attend and speak out for the rights of senior citizens in this City!

911 Parents and Families of Firefighters and WTC Victims asks every member of the City Council to stand up and be counted and sign on to the bill that will support our efforts for justice! You are either with us or against us!

We ask Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand as well as every member of Congress who is supposed to represent the senior citizens of New York, to stand with us in this effort for equal treatment for NYC retirees!

Marianne Pizzitola


NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees


FDNY EMS Retirees Association

We still need to see a city council bill passed to protect us and there is a rally today for that purpose.We can expect a few working UFT members to be there in support.

We added a City Council rep - Eric Bottcher who was at Leonie's Skinny Award for Jamaal Bowman, along with Keith Powers, my city council rep in the city who has not signed on -- I called his office for a meeting and still waiting for a return call.

It is not just the city Medicare for retirees at risk -- but all of Medicare which is under assault from both parties -- remember, the UFT/Unity is aligned with the corp Dems who want to privatize. Thus, I also signed up for a July 25th Medicare rally in Washington at the White House.

If you are committed to going to Washington DC for the day, Tuesday, July 25th, please sign up to Amtrack there with us. NO CANCELLING! You must sign up by WEDNESDAY JULY 12th! Close of business.
We meet at Penn Station at 645 am and return at 10 pm that night.
We are also looking for a few people with Medicare Advantage horror stories to join us, if that is you, please send us an email.

Deadline to sign up has passed. But hear this:

"Hospitals and insurance companies have also bought out many independent physicians’ practices. Optum, an arm of the publicly traded UnitedHealth Group, which also owns one of the nation’s largest insurers, employs roughly 70,000 physicians. Studies have shown that these types of concentrated ownership of doctors in a given market are also associated with higher prices."
The trend is for total corp control of our healthcare and how pissed do we need to be that our own union is a handmaiden?

I will be at the rally at City Hall today. But if we fall into thinking that this is the definition of activism we are making a mistake. The motto of Ed Notes for 25 years has been Educate, Organize, Mobilize -- in that order. In order to do each step, the preceding step is important. 

Thus calling your city council on our issue is helped by infusing the kind of info below. Costs are rising and we are not at fault. Yet our own union falls into that propaganda mode. Yesterday I saw what seemed like a Unity hack on FB defending the non-pension aspect of the new contract because the city won't be able to pay because we live longer, etc etc. I surmised that the plan to move us to MedAdv may be their solution to cutting pensions -- death panels. 

We all need to equip ourselves with the ammunition even to convince our own colleagues. My liberal friends often say we can't afford a single payer system because they have been propagandized. The high costs are no accident. And I have seen a whole batch of physicians retire this year. One said I love my patients and hate my job.

We need to share info that points to the real threat to everyone's healthcare. Profit making companies only see the short time view --- increase profits. They see Medicare and the healthcare system as a bottomless pit.

We need laws to counter the ability of private equity and hospitals to create monopolies - we ultimately pay. And how sad that we have to start with our union leadership and the members who only get their take. 

On contract news -- 

Details have been short. Look at the charts below and the current math needs work. There are about 60K teachers and over 90k voted - the difference is the functionals. So if 75% voted yes that would be 45K yes and 15K NO? Check my math and I'd bet a lot of people who voted YES did so because they didn't believe in the NO option. For giggles, say another 5K might have voted NO if they had full info on the contract. My guess is that in schools where there were strong voices opposed, the school as a whole went NO. Where Unity had someone to sell the contract they probably won that school. 

There's a lot of stuff we don't know yet. Did every school vote? I asked for that info at the count and didn't get an answer - I should have.
Here is some data from the 2018 election. When (if) we get it from the UFT we can do some comparisons. You'll not a drop in YES votes -- and my math may be bad on the NO votes since only


OT/PT, nurses, audiologists vote NO - in the meantime, the OT/PT chapter voted the contract down by a significant margin. I published the insulting letter UFT Middle School VP Rich Mantel sent to the chapter whose leader is Melissa Williams. 

the Chalkbeat article