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.

1 comment:

ed notes online said...

I wish I had simple answers but to the first question I assume you mean the TDA which when you retire I think you have the choice to annualize and fold into your pension - which I did not do. At 72 you must start withdrawing. You can withdraw funding and pay the taxes before or take a loan. So far no problems but who knows in an economic collapse? The UFT notifies you when you turn 72 and holds a good info session which is worth attending. I learned a few things.