Michael Mulgrew Wants to Play You
Look at this, not that.
Soon, Michael Mulgrew will get up in front of the UFT Delegate Assembly and demand you get angry. You SHOULD be angry. The mayor is cutting funding for everything, education included. The mayor is tossing the homeless out onto the streets after 60 days. Students? Them too, of course.
Of course, there are things you are NOT supposed to be mad at. You are NOT supposed to be mad that Michael Mulgrew and the other Unity bosses decided to SUPPORT Eric Adams, even knowing that he was bought and paid for by the charter school lobby.
This is reminiscent of our contract process. Mulgrew told us to go out to anti-union Starbucks stores and sit and work so people would see us, as though teachers grading papers in cafes were something novel and shocking. He told us to go to demonstrations and demand a contract, but NOT to demand a raise that beat inflation, or most importantly, sustained or improved health care. (Be angry about THIS, but not THAT.)
The health care thing is important for Mulgrew. Next week, he will have to tell working UFT members all about his scheme to get health care for 10% less than what GHI/ CBP costs. This is because Mulgrew, in his infinite wisdom, agreed to give Eric Adams billions of dollars, much or most of it directly from our health care funds.
Mulgrew first decided to do this on the backs of retirees. Mulgrew seems to think retirees are a bunch of feeble, doddering idiots who will go along with whatever. However, when he tried to take Medicare away from them and replace it with corporate crap, they rose up and kicked his royal ass in court, 12 times (so far). Retirees organized, and fought back. (Hey, isn’t that supposed to be a fundamental role of union?)
Mulgrew is in a tough position. He now has to face rank and file with a cheaper health plan and persuade them it’s just as good or better than the one he pissed away for no good reason. He had a pretty straightforward approach to retirees. He lied. He got up and said every doctor who takes Medicare would take his Advantage plan. He later clarified, explaining that not every doctor would do that.
Retired members already knew that, having gone to their doctors and asked. That proved inconvenient for Mulgrew.
As a working teacher, I used GHI for almost 40 years. In the last few years, I lost several doctors who would no longer accept their relatively low compensation. I lost doctors I liked. I paid hundreds of dollars to see others I felt I could not do without.
Mulgrew will have to persuade you that you’ll keep all your doctors, I guess. The fact that we’ve lost many already is neither here nor there. It kind of makes you wonder about the exploding copays over the last few years. Did Mulgrew put them in place anticipating they’d have to be this high (or higher) under the new inferior plan he will need to sell tomorrow?
Now here’s the thing. Whether or not that’s true, Mulgrew has to make everything look shiny and new tomorrow. What he tells you may or may not be true. He’ll make it look easy. See the red card? It’s right here. But when you actually put real money up, you always lose in three-card monte.
Mulgrew may have learned from his mistakes. When he tried to sell Advantage for a second time, he lowered the number of procedures that needed pre-approval. What he didn’t say was that the lowered number of pre-approvals was temporary. It’s just like copays. You pay two dollars, then five, ten, a hundred, and who really knows where it goes from there? And whatever he says you’ll pay tomorrow, it’s going up pretty soon. Mulgrew has consistently make things worse for us.
Now I’m one of those doddering old fogeys Mulgrew tried to dump into Medicare Advantage. Right now, I have standard Medicare. I went to one of those hundred dollar urgent care places last summer, and it cost me nothing. A few weeks ago, I saw the bill. The Urgent Care charged $116 for their services. That means you, as a GHI member pay a hundred bucks, and the insurance pays sixteen.
I don’t know about you, but it seems that Mulgrew really doesn’t want to kick in anything to help us out, even as we struggle to get by with sub-inflationary compensation increases. Michael Mulgrew doesn’t have to worry, because he makes three times what you do. He has two pensions, a full teacher pension, and a UFT pension, funded by us. He isn’t bothered by any stinking copays. (Or premiums.)
Here’s the thing, though—Michael Mulgrew’s job description is to make things better for us. Instead, he’s bending over backwards to give money to the city. He calls this money “savings.” I don’t know about you, but when I think of savings, I think of money that goes into my pocket, not Eric Adams’.
So tomorrow, Mulgrew will need to tell you how awful Eric Adams is. He’s right, of course. Eric Adams is terrible. But Mulgrew endorsed him and is eternally beholden to him. He owes Eric Adams 600 million dollars a year, forever, and that bought him a contract that was around cost of living back in 2018.
Mulgrew didn’t tell you, me, or anyone that the 2018 contract was bought so dear. After all, who would be stupid enough to buy a three year agreement that you’d have to pay for forever? Other unions in the country are making spectacular gains. Of course, they don’t have Michael Mulgrew out there making preposterous and inexplicable deals that benefit employers substantially more than members.
I don’t know how Mulgrew will rationalize the bait and switch he’s committing with rank and file health care. I only know that he’s lied before, and he’ll lie again. Don’t believe him. And don’t let him off the hook when he tells you we need to focus on Adams.
What we need, in fact, is a leader who represents us, and not Eric Adams.
Thanks to Daniel Alicea