Friday, February 24, 2023

MLC (including Michael Mulgrew) Works for Some of Us, Not The Sum of Us*

The Municipal Labor Committee made a very, very bad deal with the city in 2018, They agreed to health care savings that lasted forever, and in exchange they got a contract that lasted only a few years. What kind of deal is that?

For this, they got compensation increases at or near the inflation rate. Now, they're pursuing a contract that lags well behind inflation, an effective pay cut for all city workers. As it that isn't enough, they're stubbornly determined to sell out our retirees to Aetna.  Make no mistake, they're coming for us next. (Perish forbid they should sacrifice patronage jobs instead.)

Every person who had a hand in this decision is incompetent. If they had any self-respect, they'd resign and hand over leadership to people who'd work in member interests. It is most decidedly not in our interest to enrich Aetna at our expense.  Take a gander at all the lawsuits they face. Is it because they are swell folks who want to take care of us? 

Not likely.

Aetna, now owned by CVS, is notable for its roots in slavery insurance. If some unfortunate plantation owner lost their human chattel, they were in good hands with Aetna, And CVS Aetna is in good hands with MLC, especially UFT and DC37. Despite losing multiple lawsuits and being humiliated at City Council, they're moving full speed ahead to toss retirees under the bus. 

It behooves our union leaders to work in the interests of those of us who do the actual work. While Unity Caucus claims they do the work, I beg to differ. People like you and me do the work. We don't sit in offices at 52 Broadway. We don't make deals to privatize insurance. We are on the front lines in our classrooms, still dealing with 34 teenagers at a time, despite apocryphal promises to reduce class size, if possible, at some future juncture. 

WE do the work.

After many years of doing the work, our leadership wants us dumped into a Medicare Advantage plan. Despite the fact that privatized medicine is the scourge of our nation, despite the fact that is is rooted in classism and racism, and despite the fact that thousands of Americans die each year as a result of this system, Michael Mulgrew thinks it's just swell. In fact, he has complex ties to health privatization, and appears to personally profit via its advocacy. 

Rather than fight for all of us (The Sum of Us), Mulgrew sent his highly compensated BFFs out to plead for the right to PAY for the coverage retirees received free of charge for decades. He even had a cancer patient declare that the Advantage plan was not sufficient for her needs. If that's the case, it's not sufficient for any of our needs. Lowly teachers like you and me get cancer. We simply do not get triple salaries or double pensions, like the retired officers who demanded the right to pay for what we've always been promised for free. 

Michael Mulgrew told us the MLC deal was not going to raise copays. We all know that's not true. He told us it would not result in drastic changes to health care. We know that's not true either. He told us it would preserve premium-free health care. Do you believe him, even as he scours the cosmos for a cheaper plan to replace the GHI-Emblem plan we've used for decades?

Michael Mulgrew told us every doctor who accepted Medicare would accept the MLC Medicare Advantage plan. We now know that wasn't true. He told us there would be a rapid process for when our good pals at Medicare Advantage denied us procedures. He did not tell us whether or not that would result in procedures being approved.

If we really wanted better health care, we'd demand it for everyone. We'd bust our asses pushing for Medicare for All. However, given the current state of the Congress, we'd, at the very least, advocate for the New York Health Act. It's sponsors have offered to negotiate with unions to resolve differences. I've heard nothing but crickets about this from UFT leadership.

I don't know whether or not George Santos's hair is real. Here's what I do know--Michael Mulgrew acts like a George Santos with no hair. Now that's neither hair or there. What's important is this--I'm sure we'll see a side by side comparison of CVS/Aetna Medicare Advantage to real Medicare. But I've been lied to so much, I won't believe that either.

There's one more thing Michael Mulgrew has in common with George Santos. They both need to be replaced by truth tellers. And Mulgrew needs to be replaced by someone who represents rank and file, those of us who really do the work. 


*With apologies to Heather McGhee

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