Sunday, March 05, 2023

Mulgrew Is Doing It Again

Michael Mulgrew doesn't always bother to even feign patience with those who disagree with him. It's the attitude we often see at the DA. Sometimes, Mulgrew announces those people don't believe in democracy. But when Mulgrew himself is about to lose a democratic vote, he rails against it, pulls out all the stops, and manipulates the outcome.

Did he do that to benefit us? Absolutely not. He did it to save money for Eric Adams. His 2018 deal leaves him beholden to our swaggery mayor. Adams is supposed to be our adversary in negotiations, but the President of our union is out there aggressively representing his interests instead of ours.

At a recent meeting with retirees, Mulgrew claimed the push to repeal 12-126 was not about removing the minimum the city was required to spend on health care. But if you examine what it says, and the proposed change, that is precisely what it was about. Mulgrew claimed it was all about giving us choice--the choice to pay for the care we have expected, cost-free, for all our careers.  

Mulgrew then blamed the activists who blocked this for making things worse. You'll be hearing a lot of that. Activists, in fact, were doing what union is supposed to do, what Mulgrew is paid to do--working to improve the lot of working people.

We would not be facing this issue at all had Mulgrew (and the other geniuses on MLC) not sold us out. In 2018, they agreed to grant the city savings in perpetuity so that we could get a raise near cost of living for three years. Call me naive, but cost of living is something we should expect without givebacks. In fact, when there are givebacks, we do not get cost of living, but rather an effective pay cut.

When Mulgrew presented the 2018 health care deal to the Delegate Assembly, he said it was a smart deal to avoid premiums for in-service members. How smart is it to give something forever and get something for three years?

Mulgrew failed to point out that, to achieve this, we'd need to throw retirees under the bus. He said there would be no additional copays, but we all know copays have risen by as much as 100%, and in the case of urgent care, 200% to almost 700%.  Mulgrew told us there would be no extreme changes, but dumping Medicare for every retiree is pretty extreme.

What does he plan for in-service members? My bet is we don't hear about it until after the next contract.

Michael Mulgrew will tell anyone who will listen that this is a fabulous deal, but he said the same thing last year about the previous deal. He said, in fact, that every doctor who took Medicare would accept the last plan he tried to shove down our throats. He then clarified, saying not every doctor who took Medicare would take it. 

Mulgrew now says they've fixed the issues with the previous deal. Given that he's misrepresented this deal at every turn, how can we believe him? And, as Jonathan points out, these issues were not really the problem. The problem was that nobody wanted this deal to begin with

Personally, I remain horrified that our union will not stand and support the NY Health Act, which would resolve this issue not only for us, but also for everyone else in our state. It's the job of a union to set an example, and raise standards for working people.  Instead, our union essentially says we have ours and the rest of you can go to hell.

If Mulgrew believed in democracy, he'd let the retirees vote on it. This notwithstanding, this plan is not the same as Medicare. Aside from the remaining preapprovals, aside from the newly-imposed copays, and aside from the diminished choices of doctors, the fact is Mulgrew's elite and privileged colleagues don't believe it is good enough for them.

At the City Council hearing, retired UFT officials testified that this program was not good enough for them. They needed the option of traditional Medicare. These folks were sent by UFT to testify, in a extreme minority, that we needed to amend 12-126 to allow the city to pay less by charging us for services. Mulgrew's wealthy, entitled BFFs need something better.

Here's something UFT aristocracy seems not to understand--we lowly teachers are just as human as they are, even if we don't receive inflated salaries and double pensions. We get sick just like they do. We need good doctors just like they do. A few weeks ago, this plan wasn't good enough for retired officials, or a cancer patient they sent to testify.

All of us can get cancer, and all of us can get just as sick as UFT employees, present, past or future. If it's not good enough for them, it's not good enough for any of us. So here's the thing--were these people lying then when they said Advantage wasn't good enough? Or is Mulgrew lying now when he says it is?

Are you ready to support Mulgrew, roll the dice and hope he isn't lying this time? If not, consider donating to NYC Retirees, who are ready and willing to take this back to court. I did so yesterday.

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