Friday, May 09, 2014

Health Care Benefits Under the New Contract Proposal: Betting on the Unknown

In his hour long spin at the DA in which he attempted to extol the virtues of our new contract proposal, Michael Mulgrew made certain that we were certain that there would be no changes to our health insurance plans under the new, friendly era of “everything will be fine” contract negotiations. In fact an FAQ on the UFT website states the following in a section labeled “Health Care”

Will I be able to keep my current insurance plan and will my network of doctors and hospitals remain the same?
Yes and yes.

No question about, we will save money (perhaps even get a bonus) and you will get to keep your doctor (a promise someone else couldn’t keep).

Health insurance for City workers has, for many years, been negotiated not only separately from contracts but with the Municipal Labor Coalition, a group of 152 municipal employee unions. The strategy weakened individual member union bargaining strength but the idea that providing health insurance for a much larger group benefited the smaller unions and to a lesser extent larger unions.

Mulgrew knew that in a climate of rising health costs (projected to be at 6.5% per year) and the attempts to rein in costs especially since ObamaCare (the City’s benefits could be penalized under the Cadillac provisions of the ACA, see there had to be some ingenious way to tie our raise and retro to health care benefits.

So what did he agree to? He agreed to a guarantee of nothing. We have learned through leaked memos and other sources that the projected savings (tied to a bonus nonetheless) will take care of any health care insurance inflation by combing through the rolls and deleting ineligible people (actually done last year) and using a special reserve fund (oh, I didn't think you could transfer money except in certain designated parts of the budget)

The bottom line is, like the proposed contract that wasn’t delivered to the Executive Board and the Delegate Assembly, we’re supposed to accept on faith that the savings will not cause a loss in benefits.

The FAQ even admits this in their second question and answer.

Why did the unions agree to $1.3 billion in health care savings? How can the city save on health care without decreasing my benefits?
We have been paying too much for health care. The last mayoral administration had no interest in addressing this, and the municipal unions had no motivation to work with them. Now the city and municipal unions will convene a joint citywide health care committee that will work collaboratively and transparently to identify ways to deliver health care more efficiently and streamline the administration of benefits.
We could not have made these changes with the previous administration because of the former mayor’s utter disrespect for city workers and their unions. We are confident that we will meet the savings targets set in this program. The way that you access certain benefits may change, but benefits should not decrease. (emphasis supplied)

How can you answer one question, “Yes and yes” and contradict yourself in your own spin document? Don’t approve an illusory contract. Make them go back and get contractual guarantees, not hopes.


Anonymous said...

NY POST-Believing he was among friends, UFT boss Mike Mulgrew showed what he’s really made of during a closed-door meeting with union activists — spewing hatred toward education “reformers,” charter schools and even admitting he sabotaged teacher evaluations.
“We are at war with the reformers,” Mulgrew said bluntly in an extraordinary admission during a gathering of 3,400 union delegates who voted for a new labor contract Wednesday night.
“Their ideas will absolutely destroy — forget about public education — they will destroy education in our country.”
The Wednesday-night meeting of union delegates was closed to the press — but Mulgrew’s comments were forwarded to the Web site
In another provocative admission, Mulgrew said he deliberately “gummed up” the implementation of teacher evaluations last year during negotiations with the prior Bloomberg administration.
He lobbied to have teachers rated in 22 different categories, presumably to make it easier for teachers to contest bad ratings. The new labor contract reduces the number of rating categories to eight.
“It was a strategy decision to gum up the works because we knew what their lawyers were trying to do,” Mulgrew said of city officials.
“That’s things I don’t get to say in public when I’m doing them, because we knew they had a plan to use the new evaluation system to go after people.”
Mulgrew launched his attack against education reformers while discussing his support for the creation of 200 experimental public schools to rival charter schools.
- Jenny Sedlis
The labor leader’s remarks were startling given that Mayor de Blasio has negotiated a fragile truce with the independently managed, publicly funded charter schools.
Unlike regular public schools, most charters are staffed by non-union teachers — and the United Federation of Teachers considers them a threat.
School-reform leaders were outraged by Mulgrew’s remarks.
“Mulgrew saw the teachers contract as an opportunity to settle scores rather than as a tool to improve schools for kids,” said Jenny Sedlis of StudentsFirstNY.
Parent activist Campbell Brown fumed, “He argues in favor of making life harder for educators by increasing the complexity of the evaluation system for purely political reasons.
“It is so cynical and proves that this is someone who does not care about kids,” she said.
UFT spokeswoman Alison Gendar said the union does not comment on closed meetings.
This isn’t the first time the union leader has spouted off to his rank-and-file.
Mulgrew once called former Schools Chancellor Joel Klein “Chancellor Numbnuts” at a delegate breakfast in Washington, DC.


ed notes online said...

Mulgrew against ed deform? What a joke. The contract is loaded with ed deform. Lots of PD. No class size issues addressed, teachers evaluated based on test scores, ATRs chopped -- show me where ed deform doesn't exist in this contract. Maybe Jenny is working for the UFT behind the scenes.

Michael Fiorillo said...

No, she doesn't work for the UFT; the Unity mis-leadership works with/ for the so-called reformers.

The true motivation behind Sedlis' "satanic" remark is a classic example of psychological projection: the head of NY StudentsFirst and former PR mouthpiece for Evil Moskowitz's charter empire is projecting the sinister nature of the so-called reformer's agenda on to the union.

Anonymous said...

As teachers we need to get back control of our job and career. We can do this by voting NO to this horendous contract. We have done more and more work every year without getting per session for the extra time. Mulgrew has shown no respect to the rank and file with this negotiated contract.

Anonymous said...

This posting makes the Memorandum of Agreement sound like it's an extremist publication. This contract proposal is no such thing.
Stop edging for a fight against something that contains no give-backs but offers up tangible benefits for all stake holders.
To vote anything but yes to this contract would be a monumental mistake.

Anonymous said...

This contact needs to be voted down. We deserve better than to wait years for the 4 and 4 along with the retro. It would be huge mistake to vote for this crummy contract.

Anonymous said...

Many of my good smart colleagues recognized that 22 components could work for teachers against an abusive administrator. "Gumming up the works" is a perfect strategy against abusers. And now that leverage is being bargained away. Thanks Mike---you used a good teacher's leverage as a bargaining chip and got us a shit contract anyway. And you have the nerve to sell the 8 components as a win. It's not! Roseanne McCosh, PS 8X

Anonymous said...

You cannot live a life of mistrust, so the health care or benefit deal involves an awful lot of other unions who have put their faith in a powerful positive outcome. Nothing will go wrong, and we might even make a few dollars. Thank you, Dr. John Marvul

Anonymous said...

A contract is a negotiation. You want things, they want things. In this contract we got almost everything we wanted without sacrificing anything: no givebacks, no extra time, full retro calculated from 2009; no change in health benefits and 18% compounded raises in the next 4 years. Yeah, we have to wait for the bulk of the money to come in, but it's better than bankrupting the city. You anti-UFT people should take a rest. This is a fair contract and certainly better than waiting to see what the next mayor offers us.

Anonymous said...

This guy Mulgrew has no integrity and can't be trusted. The good teachers of NYC deserve better. If he REALLY believes this is a good deal, then he is a naïve dolt. I suspect the opposite however, that he knows what a sham this is and that his membership are a bunch of naïve dolts who cant do math. Sort of like the last commenter, who sees this as 18% compounded over the next 4 years. LOL!

Anonymous said...

-Or, wait around for the next "Bloomberg" to become mayor. Eva? Maybe you'll be happier with the contract offerings then?

Anonymous said...


For those misguided souls that want to vote "yes" for a few bucks that will barely keep up with inflation, recognize that this contract specifically singles out ATRs for expedited 3020A processes. Mulgrew had the balls to tell the assembly that this is a good thing.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, Mulgrew assured the ATRs that this contract will protect their rights: from the moment you are charged with "unprofessional behavior" (never defined) to the unemployment line can now belong to any ATR in just a few days!

Schools will continue to be closed under any's a money grab!!! If you are not an ATR today, YOU WILL BE!!!


Anonymous said...

Can't wait to vote Unity and Mulgrew out. James Eterno looks like a good choice for the next UFT president.

Anonymous said...

I'm reading alot of people say you gave nothng back in this contract. Giving 200 schools the ability to vote to gut protections the Union fought for in the past is certainly a give back , a big one. An open ended agreement to cut 1.3 billion in costs without proof in writing that dues won't be raised and service won't be effected is a give back. Zeros in any year are a give back. Deffered percentage raises are a disgrace and a give back as is waiting two years after the contract is up to receive the money paid to everyone else years ago is a giveback.

Anonymous said...