Saturday, December 17, 2022

Who Spreads Misinformation to UFT?

UFT's Unity Caucus says dissidents are spreading misinformation. I guess I'm a dissident, now that I've decided retiree benefits should not be cut. Leadership's decision to encourage cuts by pitting in-service members against retirees goes against everything a union should stand for.

Leadership now cries anyone who doesn't follow the party line is a liar. This, of course, is their standard MO. And make no mistake, it's argumentum ad hominem, the practice of insulting your opponent rather than engaging in honest discourse. It's logical fallacy. That's what you go to when you do not, in fact, have an actual argument. 

Retirees have been thrust into the battle of their lives, trying to retain the health care they've earned and enjoyed for decades. Michael Mulgrew and the MLC want to replace it with a Medicare Advantage plan to save the city money. 

It's an odd position, because the city is supposed to be our adversary when we negotiate. Mulgrew sides with the city. He and his small army of UFT employees and would-be employees, the Unity Caucus, are now making us, the membership, his adversaries. They call us names. They ridicule us. They demand we stop fighting to preserve our rights. 

This is not what union is for. (If you're curious about what union is for, and what one can do, read this book.)

They claim they are fighting for choice. However, the choice they propose retirees face, as they get by on defined pensions, is the choice of paying 5K per couple, per year if they wish to retain the care the city has offered for decades. Otherwise, they will be saddled with inferior care that will cost them, at the very least, time receiving procedures that CVS/ Aetna doesn't feel like paying for. They will not have access to nearly the number of doctors that take standard Medicare, and if they live anywhere but NY or Florida, they will not be served well at all.

But let's talk about who really spreads misinformation. This comes from my notes on the UFT Delegate Assembly October 12, 2018:

Mulgrew—Health care negotiated with all unions. Done six months ago. MLC thought something bad could happen with health care because of DC. We wanted to lock in a deal. No additional copays, but made a change for all unions. We tried to get plan in better place. Was proactive approach. Has been out for six months. Was smart thing to lock down our health care with no significant cost ships to union membership. Others pay 3200 out of pocket. We are only workers who can get plans with no premiums attached. If UFT members get cancer they can go to Memorial Sloan Kettering—this is with HIP, also Hospital of Special Surgery. Go read it before you tie it to this contract. 

Let's examine that. UFT President Michael Mulgrew told us there were no additional copays. Shortly thereafter, it cost us $150 to go to an ER, up from 50. It cost us $50 to go to an Urgent Care. I don't recall what is was before, but that's a hike. We just learned that Pro Health Urgent Care will run $100. And if you want to go for an MRI anywhere but RadNet, it will cost you $100. 

Aren't those additional copays?

And pardon me, but isn't 5K a year to retain the health care you need in your most vulnerable years a significant cost? Isn't it particularly significant to members who retired with lower salaries, like UFT paraprofessionals and DC37 workers? 

Who is really spreading misinformation? Here's what Unity Caucus tweeted:


We know now that actual misinformation originated from Mulgrew, the number one Big Kahoona of the Unity Caucus. Let's look at their other accusation--spreading fear. The fact is UFT President Michael Mulgrew sent us an email stating that if we did not concede to the mayor's demand to demean health care for retirees, he would impose a premium on health care for in-service employees. Let's set aside the fact that the mayor does not have the right to do this unilaterally, and is bound to negotiate. Mulgrew's threat is a classic appeal to fear, more logical fallacy.

It appears Mulgrew's Unity Caucus, aside from indulging in various and sundry logical fallacies, wishes to project its own shortcomings on those of us who fight to protect member rights.

As for the "order," Jonathan has clear evidence, in Scheinman's own words, on why it is not, in fact, any such thing. 

It's absolutely disgraceful that the President of our Union fights tooth and nail to diminish our health care. And the fact is, by attempting to slap a 5K penalty on any retiree couple who wishes to retain standard Medicare, he is in fact imposing a very substantial premium. He's reducing our compensation, one way or another, via health care fees, just like Scott Walker and every other tinhorn anti-union politician did. 

The UFT needs leadership that will fight for us, not the mayor, not the NYC treasury, and certainly not CVS/Aetna.

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