Delegate Assembly meetings usually leave me in a bit of a fog. I normally have a difficult time accepting much of what UFT President Michael Mulgrew says at face value. Wednesday's meeting was no exception as some of what he said on the number of New Yorkers who are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines in NY doesn't stand up to scrutiny but there is also really positive union news on educators being permitted to jump the line and get the COVID-19 vaccination.
From the ICEUFT blog account of the President's Report:
Vaccines: State adapting federal guidelines. 5.1 million in NYS goes to 16.4 million people eligible to receive the vaccine in NYS with 1B. Federal releasing reserves of vaccines. Vaccine should lead to herd immunity. Vaccines will be released in two weeks. Pool of people eligible expanded but we still have a limited supply of vaccines. NYS has 300,000 vaccines. Governor said for unions to set up their own apparatus. Thank God we did it. Biden will get it out faster than two weeks.
Arthur has the same 16.4 million number in his report so I didn't hear it wrong.
Did Mulgrew even think before he spouted out those numbers? Consider this: NYS has a population of about 19.45 million, and a little over 4 million are children who are not eligible for a vaccine because it has not been approved for kids. Therefore by Mulgrew's count, the entire 15+ million adult population of NY plus about another million people are eligible to get a vaccine. Unless they are counting commuters, Mulgrew's numbers don't come close to adding up. If they are counting commuters in who is eligible, then those folks would not show up on their own state's (New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania) eligibility lists. My guess is Mulgrew just heard 16.4 million somewhere and used it without checking so he could placate anybody who has to wait to get a shot because they can't figure out the crazy appointment system and they won't blame the UFT. As someone who is too young to get a vaccine currently (I never thought I would use the words too young and me again in my life), I really resent Mulgrew playing loose with statistics like that. He should be more careful.
That said, the anti-union folks here who write a nasty comment just about every posting saying that we get nothing for our union dues have been proven wrong again. Mulgrew, NYSUT President Andy Pallotta, and AFT President Randi Weingarten have scored a victory by allowing teachers to jump to the head of the line to get vaccinated before the general public. You think that happens without union advocacy?
In addition, the government is not distinguishing between pk-12 teachers working in buildings and those working remotely when it comes to getting vaccinated. Remote educators all over are being vaccinated. Some are remote because their students are remote or they are taking care of other people so they do not have any underlying medical condition that makes them more vulnerable to a terrible outcome from COVID-19. Again, I don't see all of these educators being eligible for vaccinations without a strong union push. College teachers are only permitted to receive a vaccine if they are working in person with students.
The UFT and NYSUT have nothing but a political strategy when it comes to supporting members but give them a little bit of credit when they are successful. As for Mulgrew, he still sees the need to make stuff up.