Monday, December 13, 2021

UFT Executive Board December 13, 2021--Spring Break, Medicare, Election Committee

LeRoy Barr--Welcomes us. 


Michael Mulgrew-- COVIHas been speaking with Banks, Adams, and Weisberg. Emphasizing not DOE from ten years ago. Need team ready to go on  January 2nd. 48% of student population has had first shot. 5-11 behind.  Even though surge has been going on, vaccines work. This is the way through this. Most very sick people unvaccinated or immune compromised. But we are having a surge. Anyone who works in a hospital will tell you. After holidays this seems to happen. Vaccinations may make it easier. 

Spring break--Arbitration going on. Five unions involved. We are first. Others will follow. Cannot go into details, but we have made clear we must receive the value of our work. Arbitrator concerned about money. Car day not equivalent. Two for one upon retirement. We need value of 7 days work, which we did. Expecting to know something by next week.

Medicare transition--Was hearing last week. Judge now agrees with us, that it's all about implementation. Plan is solid. We want retirees to have a smooth transition, and expect final order by next week. We expect a start date with benchmarks. Retirees have a health committee, and we need one for in service too. Union concerned things not true will be used to push people politically.

We have good health care. We work for it, pay for it, and it's better than what most Americans have. HIP is HMO, smaller than PPO, requires referral. PPO gives freedom to see anyone. In network payments defined, as are out of network payments. Most Medicare plans are HMOs. Ours is a PPO. We took senior plan, that most of our retirees use, and used it as model. Medicare Advantage is unfortunate term. Many horror stories, but not what we did. We had to use it to get access to federal subsidies. 

Inflation was becoming astronomical for us, and we might face premiums. Medicare has gone up 13% but we are locked in with this plan. Before 80% was paid for and 20% was reimburseable. Now this will be paid for. All access to doctors still the same. We cannot change the name, or we will lose access to subsidies. 

This plan custom build for our large PPO. We have access to all Blue Cross Blue Shield and GHI. Will be more doctors. Doesn't make a difference whether in or out of network, Patient may use any facility that accepts Medicare. Get exact reimbursement of federal government. In network doctors may provide higher degree of care, but anyone in Medicare reimbursed at Medicare rate. 

Prescription drug rider lowered to 125 a month as a result of this deal. 

People say we're privatizing health care. Ridiculous. Some procedures may require prior authorization. May need to demonstrate medical necessity. When members went on own, Medicare would sometimes bill member because not medically necessary. 

There is crazy rhetoric around privatization, but we're using same providers. Concerned with people using misinformation. 

We never had a cap for out of pocket expenses, now is 1470. We have worldwide foreign travel emergency coverage. We want retirees to travel. They earned it. Wellness program, meal deliveries, transportation to doctor visits included. 

We wanted to preserve all retirees have worked for. Didn't want it subject to political push because it's expensive. All savings go into stabilization fund. Supports PICA program, hearing aids. We knew we could design our own program, give same benefits, enhance them, and get 600 million dollars a year to go into stabilization. This is UFT doing its job smart. We are all going to retire someday. We all want that health plan. All of our medical things will be covered for at least five years now. 

Q--Retirees say they will opt out and pay a few hundred. Should they?

A--Why should they pay for what they could get for free? I wouldn't.

All reimbursements are from Welfare Fund and will stay the same. Thanks people who worked on it. Once we realized we could design our own plan, know people would have to deal with us--Our retirees have options. They can stay in their old plan or switch right back into old one. 

Wishes us happy holidays. This is toughest year in education ever. Still not through pandemic, and will have new transition with many Bloomberg people coming back. We will try to work with everyone. If they want to fight, we will fight. Thanks us for doing this work. 

Q--Colocated school, one went home for ten days. Parents want to know why one was closed and one wasn't with shared facilities. Situation room couldn't be reached today. Would like more transparency. 

A--Situation room line was down today. That was true citywide. Quarantines based on exposure. If you share space, children not necessarily exposed. At next Exec. Board, we will have someone run through orders and explain. 

Reports from districts--

Sean ?--SI had in person SRP celebration. 

Karen Alford--Thanks for all toys coming in. Please bring to DA or borough offices. Online shopping, ship to 52 Bway. 

Hector Ruiz--UFT Hispanic Affairs committee held fundraiser last Wed. Raised 2500 for scholarships. Thanks Pride committee African American committee;

?--Deadline for Shanker scholarship Jan. 15. Students need to go to website print out application. 

Election Committee--Carl Cambria--Thanks board for confirming committee. Had good meeting. Approved election calendar, NY teacher election notices, campaign ads, petition release date Jan. 19. Due back Feb 18. Ballots mailed April 8, counted May 10. Election notice approved. Similar to last one. Clarification--Note electronic signatures NOT accepted.

Elementary school have 12 Exec. Board members, up one,  and MS gets four, down one, based on enrollment. 

UFT ID may be used on petitions, candidate statements. 

Balloting--majority of committee recommends it's done via mail. Was not unanimous, but every other portion was. 

Michael Shulman--Thanks LeRoy Barr for invitation. Thanks Carl Cambria for chairing. Wants to discuss balloting. Favors voting electronically due to low voter turnout. That is key. Not a caucus issue. Big issue is getting membership to participate. Important to be proud of union democracy. We are not moving with the times. About 25% of our membership vote. That is unacceptable. There have been proposals to GOTV, but we are lagging. 

Since pandemic, our union uses secure electronic voting for DA, for CL, for SBOs. Not a radical new proposal. Other public sector unions doing this. We have capability, not as sole source. We could use both. If someone votes both, we could distinguish which came first and that would take precedence. 

I come from older generation. I believe many younger teachers use electronic voting. Snail mail alien to them. 

Akeel Williams--As far as us moving toward electronic voting, no real proof that it will guarantee more turnout. Maybe we could do this for next election cycle. Wouldn't be vetted and ready for Spring. 

?--During pandemic used electronic voting for chapters. No evidence it increased participation. 

Mike Schirtzer--Agrees with Shulman. PSC has option of online voting. We are in a battle to enfranchise folks who lost right to vote. Eric Adams is looking to union bust. Need to show we are strongest and best union. DA and Town Hall numbers are staggering. We trust AAA to get it right. Teachers under 30 don't know where mailboxes are. Need to open options. 

Pat Crispino--Respectfully disagrees. Today got email from DOE email, though everyone knows not to do this. We will be repping our members who use DOE apparatus when teaching. Opposes change.

Rashad Brown--Opposes recommended change. Electronic voting has had issues. Many don't get emails or text. Not there yet. 

Servia Silva--Opposes change. Had lower participation for SBOs and CL elections. Paper had much more. Calendar was voted on.

Mike Sill?--We don't know what's coming with new admin, or pandemic. Moment of instability not good to make change. Election season already begun. If we face hostile admin, we don't want voting called into question. Not time to experiment. 

Tom Murphy--Sympathetic to anything that will increase turnout. Retirees had larger turnout because of controversial issue. To get vote out, we should campaign. 

Motion carries overwhelmingly. We are adjourned 7:01 PM

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