We learn from EdNotes that the Secretary of the Municipal Labor Committee, Ray Floyd (Teamsters Local 237), also sits as one of the Board of Directors for Emblem Health. Emblem Health just happens to be one of the finalists trying to get a lucrative contract for a Medicare Advantage plan (privatized Medicare) for 240,000 NYC municipal employee retirees.
From Norm Scott:
Holy shit! The Secretary of the MLC is on the board of Emblem Health. I've always been suspicious of the unions' slavish devotion to private insurance. Do we think the insurance companies don't lobby our union leaders? The explanation offered for why unions want to stick with privatized plans:
“For a lot of these MLC unions, the one tangible thing that they provide, in addition to wages, are health care benefits, and particularly the benefits that come out of their welfare funds,” said one New York City union representative, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “They want health care benefits associated with union leadership.”
The reasons go deeper than this. In the beginning, the city gave unions control over their health plans, with a bureaucracy and a patronage system. Thus, the UFT Health and Welfare fund, which is not paid by union dues but by the city, thus giving union leaders a windfall of sort to play around with. The calls for moving the entire process under public management threatens both the insurance companies adn their clients, the union leaderships.
I guess the MLC could have someone on the Board of Directors at Emblem since most city workers are covered by Emblem (GHI-HIP) but when the MLC is negotiating to move 240,000 retirees out of the federally run Medicare program into a private plan, it looks to me like a conflict of interest to sit on both sides.
If privatizing Medicare bothers you and it should, come on out to a rally and march at noon today. It will start at 1 Bowling Green, Whitehall Street/South Ferry. from the Museum of the American Indian and go past the UFT on the way to City Hall. My wife Camille is scheduled to be one of the speakers when the marchers get to UFT HQ at 52 Broadway.
Here is an email from the Retiree Chapter of the Professional Staff Congress (CUNY teachers) sent out earlier yesterday promoting the rally and march.
RETIREES SAY DON’T PRIVATIZE OUR MEDICARE! JOIN THEM AT A CROSS UNION RALLY AND MARCH, WEDNESDAY JUNE 30TH.
The Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) and the NYC Office of Labor Relations (OLR) are about to decide whether to move all city retirees, including CUNY retirees, from traditional Medicare with supplemental city insurance to administration by a for-profit, privatized Medicare Advantage plan. This may have huge implications for present and future retirees.
Retirees have asked for full disclosure of the proposed changes and an opportunity to discuss and debate the controversies around Medicare Advantage plans. As they age, healthcare becomes a life and death issue for our older members. Hence the PSC retiree chapter at its April 5th meeting called for a moratorium on the MLC/OLR negotiations.
At its April 15th meeting, by unanimous vote, the PSC Delegate Assembly supported the chapter’s call for a moratorium.
June 30 March and Rally. Now the PSC retirees are asking all unionists, present and future retirees, to join them and retirees from across the municipal workforce for a rally at Battery Park and march to City Hall on Wednesday, June 30, 12 noon organized by Cross Union Retirees. Meet at the steps of the Museum of the American Indian, 1 Bowling Green, Whitehall Street/South Ferry. Bring signs, banners, songs and your energy. Then march to City Hall with stops at key city and union offices in lower Manhattan. Retirees want to make this rally and march as big and robust as possible. Join them!
And sign the petition. PSC retirees have been working with the Council of Municipal Retiree Organizations (COMRO) on mobilizing municipal retirees in response to the proposed move to Medicare Advantage. COMRO has an online petition addressed to the mayor and the MLC entitled “Preserve Medicare Part B for NYC Retirees.” As of 6/25, it had over 21,000 signatures. The more signatures gathered, the stronger the impact. Actives ("retirees in training") as well as retirees need to endorse this petition. To view the petition and add your name, click here.
If you come out for the rally, bring lots of water as it is hot and you just may get to hear my wife Camille as one of the UFT speakers.