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UFT Unity's Medicare Sellout Violates Union Policy
The Delegate Assembly has TWICE ruled on it.
If you speak to New York City retirees, including UFT retirees, the topic of Medicare is likely to come up. We’ve been promised, since we started working, that the city would provide us with Medigap coverage and cover our Medicare expenses. As per the NY State Supreme Court, Michael Mulgrew, UFT Unity, and the City of New York violated that promise by trying to dump us into a Medicare Advantage program.
We know, and courts have ruled, that Aetna would deny us procedures our doctors deemed medically necessary if they were to get control of our health care. After all, that’s how they make money. Sadly, Mulgrew and the Unity Caucus want them to profit at our expense, so as to save money for Eric Adams. In a union set up to benefit members, Adams would be our contractual adversary.
Michael Mulgrew likes to say his job is enforcing the will of the UFT Delegate Assembly, and reiterated it as recently as two weeks ago. However, Unity Caucus actions violate at least two Delegate Assembly resolutions.
Let’s take a look at a resolution passed by the UFT Delegate Assembly on January 20, 2010. This resolution is called the Resolution in Support of Real Health Care Reform. Here is an excerpt. You can read the whole thing via the link, if you wish.
WHEREAS the current configuration of American health care benefits special interests, such as oligopolistic pharmaceutical corporations and insurance carriers…
WHEREAS just as free public schools, supported by the taxpaying public, are the foundation of the American system of universal K-12 education, public health insurance is essential for the development of an American system of universal health insurance; and
WHEREAS contrary to the misleading and hysterical rhetoric of opponents of health care reform, the United States already supports successful, effective public health insurance programs for particular constituencies – preeminently Medicare for senior citizens – and these public health insurance programs ensure that quality health care is provided to those whom they cover; and
WHEREAS to address the current crisis in a real and meaningful way, health care reform must extend public health insurance so that all Americans have health insurance – in effect, creating a Medicare program for all Americans; and
WHEREAS it is essential that health care reform not diminish or reduce the services and the insurance currently available either under public health programs such as Medicare or negotiated through collective bargaining, but extend those services and insurance to the uninsured; be it therefore
RESOLVED that the United Federation of Teachers join with our national union, the American Federation of Teachers, and the entire American labor movement in supporting real health care reform with a full and robust public health insurance component in order to bring quality health care to all American citizens…
This resolution is being violated by UFT in multiple respects. One is UFT Unity bosses opposing the New York Health Act, which would insure our brothers and sisters across our state. The other is its active promotion of a private insurer Aetna, described in the resolution as “oligopolistic.” That would be a market dominated by only a few suppliers. If we give Aetna the city, we’ll be contributing to precisely the quality we’ve condemned.
Most importantly, we know for a fact that utilising Aetna for seniors would “diminish or reduce the services and the insurance currently available either under public health programs such as Medicare.” It’s been established in court.
Furthermore, it’s very hard to believe that replacing GHI/CBP with whatever the Municipal Labor Committee UFT lawyers are dumping upon rank and file will not diminish and reduce services. In fact, by raising co-pays sky-high, they’ve done that already.
On May 18, 2011, the UFT Delegate Assembly passed a Resolution to Preserve Medicare as We Know It. Take a look at the text:
WHEREAS, the Republican budget proposals provide for a massive $6 trillion cut in the federal budget over 10 years and thus create enormous economic hardship for millions of Americans; and
WHEREAS, Republican proposals for budget cuts include privatization of Medicare among other cuts that would impact negatively on the middle class; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that we strongly oppose the Republican budget proposals including the privatization of Medicare; and be it further
RESOLVED, that we inform our representatives in Congress to fight and to vote against the Republican proposals and to preserve Medicare as we know it.
We are, in fact, not only supporting the privatization of Medicare, but fighting in court to impose it upon our own brothers and sisters.
Michael Mulgrew has taken it upon himself to oppose our collective will. He seems to fancy himself an absolute dictator rather than a union President. It’s time to take back our union. The UFT Delegate Assembly is supposed to be our highest decision making body. UFT Unity has made it into a parody of itself.
It’s bad enough that recent health care decisions violate our written policies. It’s bad enough that Mulgrew and the Unity bosses couldn’t be bothered putting up these changes for a vote. Ultimately, we can’t afford to have a ruling caucus that gives itself cozy little gigs and does whatever it feels like, whenever it feels like it. This is particularly true when their actions are designed to save the city money, as opposed to benefitting rank and file.
This is our union. We need to lead, improve working conditions for ourselves and force non-union entities to keep up with us. Instead, we’re bending over backward to benefit Eric Adams.
There’s only one fair conclusion. Michael Mulgrew and all his Unity bosses need to go.
Thanks to Daniel Alicea