Wednesday, December 15, 2021


 President's Report: 

President Michael Mulgrew began the meeting by wishing everyone a happy holiday. Says we have a lot of things going on. Transition, federal, state, healthcare.


Incoming city administration says it's broke but they're not. Money comes through the state. Hoping to get the social safety net package through. Working with both US Senators and House members. Housing is an issue. Many homeless students. 


Things are quite interesting. Governor's race changed dramatically last week. Meeting with Governor and her staff. Mulgrew and NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. We are in a recruitment and retention crisis that is upstate and coming to NYC. Many causes such as pandemic and vaccine mandate. Teaching shortage across the USA but now it is in NYC. State challenge is where to put all the money. Money must be spent wisely in things that are sustainable. More by January DA. We will have heard Governor's State of the State speech by then. State in the middle of redistricting process that happens every ten years. State Senate hasn't been in Democratic control for a redistricting in a long time. They redistrict federal and state districts. Primary in June. Can't set up voting sites until they know districts and precincts. This will be important as we move forward.

Class Size

We keep moving. City Council met yesterday. We are meeting with the incoming Council. Bill at state level. Many parents here. We are in a good place with that. Mayoral control sunsets June 2022. We've all had it. Facts and evidence matter. We all agree mayoral control needs to go away. It does not mean we are going back to school boards. We have to get educated to go to Albany to push that. Mayoral control gets done outside of the budget. That is part of our Albany strategy. We don't know how we will be lobbying. People want to sponsor in new Council. They are arguing over who will be the Speaker. 

New Comptroller cannot tell us what to do with our money. Trustees should be able to handle that.


Increase in COVID is following same pattern as last year but not as high a level. Pattern up and down a little but with Christmas and New Year, we are concerned. Test and trace and situation room are becoming shaky. They changed directors. Conversations with incoming and outgoing administrations. Test and trace need to go into schools and test. Last year it was happening after a few weeks. This year it is not working. Having much better conversations with the outgoing administration. 3-k and pre-k no access to vaccine nor testing. Want pre-k and 3-k teachers tested. 

Chancellor to be

David Banks has been in our school system for a long time. We have a working relationship. He wants schools to be public schools but he is making comments that were sounding like they are from nine years ago. Dan Weisberg hired from past. As a chapter leader, had 3 different principals. Job as chapter leader was to try to make it work to improve the school. Approach this the same way. With two principals, it worked but with another it didn't. We approach new administrations that way. At PS 143 at a celebration when chancellor to be said he wants Saturday school, longer day and summer school. Teachers said we all do it that way. He can do it but he can't mandate it. We have those things but they can't be mandated. Parents said they love their teachers but challenges are beyond what we've seen before. It's going to take a couple of years but we have to get through the pandemic. We fight for each other. We fight for our profession. If anyone threatens those, we fight. If new mayor and chancellor want to work with us, we will work with them. Screens for middle schools and high schools: Mulgrew position is some are appropriate. Other screens if they are used to deny opportunities should have never been in place. That is the DOE's job. Other part of the transition, we know the new deputy chancellor. Kaz Holloway is coming back. He put out an RFP that would have put 20% health premiums on all NYC workers. We took him to court and we won. We hope not to have those fights but we have to be prepared. We are getting through this year. We have to be ready to say that we are not having any of this. 

The judge in the Medicare Advantage made his decision. We are happy with the decision. Retiree health plan while it was going through, many were talking. Every benefit in old plan had to be in the new plan. We got involved and we wanted it in writing. We went through every part to put it in writing. There are all sorts of agendas around this. We knew that retiree health benefits would be a problem with the new administration. We got heavily involved but because so much misinformation was out there it ended in court. We said this could not be implemented properly because the timelines are too squished. We put together a plan that does everything we want that preserves and enhances benefits. A week and a half ago we did not support the plan and we were ready to write to the judge. We wanted to make sure no retiree would have extra costs. City said that in one voice. The judge said the plan is scheduled to begin on April 1. He set up a series of benchmarks that the city has to meet. The judge put in the decision that each retiree can't be harmed. We had to figure out how to get the retiree health plan out of harm's way of the next administration. We had to be smarter. Medicare has gone up 13%. The person who tried to destroy the program from the previous administration is back and we want to make sure we preserve what people have worked for.  Mulgrew himself will be in that plan when retired.

Joe Usatch comes up to explain new health plan. Jeff Sorkin is sick. He stresses the importance of premium-free healthcare. It is unheard of. He gave a healthcare presentation. Medicare Advantage Plus is free. It is a PPO. Drug benefit costs $125 a month. Welfare fund sends $65 a month to offset that. 

Prior authorizations, copayments and privatization are criticisms.

Prior authorizations are in in-service plan. It is a slight hurdle.

Copayments were slated to go into effect before the pandemic on Jan1, 2021 but MLC fought and delayed this. This was not because of the new plan.

Privatization: Emblem Health providing benefits for decades. We want to continue for them to proide healthcare for in-service and retirees.


$1470 out of pocket maximum

Less for drugs.

Worldwide travel coverage

Silver sneakers

24 hour nurse line

Members can stay in plan they currently have but there will be an ancillary charge. Retirees could lose that anxiety and could go in and out. Opt out and opt in will go through June 30. Welfare fund benefits not changing. 

Mulgrew returns

No cap on out-of-pocket expenses currently. Savings don't go back to city. It goes into the Healthcare Stablization Fund. Hundreds of millions of dollars a year. 


Crazy season but we need a clear, transparent process. We need a process NLRB certifies. We are the union with the biggest target on its back. Please try to think through things. Election Committee has formed and voted. Some have gotten requests for contact information. We get challenges to elections. We do them correctly. Have to change the process early. Some want electronic voting. Whatever we do, we make fight internally. Don't burn the house down. We will abide by Election Committee decisions.

Healthcare committee: Things different for people 25 years old and 55 years old. We are the buyer. CEO gets $8 million and that doesn't make Mulgrrw happy.

Negotiating Committee 

General demands but multiple bargaining units make different demands. Goal is to say we have largest negotiating committee ever. Proportional representation on committee. Decisions made by Committee. Some bargaining units are small. Divisional (school safety supervisors, administrative law judges) 23 functional chapters. Want representation from all of them. Most effective bargaining done with people who do the work at the table. Multiple training sessions. Do not negotiate in public. It's gotta be confidential. Big training and training for individual bargaining units. We set the pattern the last two rounds. Mulgrew does not believe we will be setting a pattern this time. Assuming another union will set the pattern. Precedent on pattern bargaining in NYC and NYS. Survey the entire membership. 

Someone asked that there are members on call, can we get power-point information to them? Debra Penny says to go to retiree healthcare page. Mulgrew asks for a power-point to go out to entire membership.

Spring break arbitration

It is ugly. We worked 7 days we were supposed to be on vacation. CAR day is not equivalent to a day that we worked. City is doing their routine. Can't go into the details. We want the full value of the 7 days we worked. City made us work during our vacation, it was not the Governor. Governor said he would remove funding from districts that didn't stay open. Governor didn't issue an executive order. City owes us the full value for 7 days we worked. 

Digital classroom

Guidance is out. We know what a closed classroom is and a partially closed classroom.  

Chapter Leader Stipends being sent. People do job because they are passionate, not for stipends. Contract up for NYU nurses and they are no longer heroes to the hospital like they said during height of pandemic but now they are a bottom-line cost. that's how $8 million bonus are paid to CEO.

December feels like April now. Chill during the break.

Staff Directors Report

Toy drive on. Petitions for UFT electionwill be out January 19. People need to update contact information. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.

Mulgrew comes back and says PayPal for toy drive.

Mulgrew introduces electronic voting for in-person DA. For yes press A- C press no and no need to clear it. He asks a question to test system.

Question Period

Question: Memo came out from DA: Do they have to update with new variant?

Mulgrew Answer: 2,400 affected by closure. We have closed a school every week. Test and Trace and situation room not where they should be. We bring it up constantly with transition team. Testing is early warning system. 2,400 sounds like a lot but it has to be put in context. Vaccines work but even with a breakthrough, probably  won't get ill unless immunocompromised. We are used to being in a pandemic but this is not a way to live.

Question: Last meeting very chaotic, members asking what happened in call? What can we do to have an orderly discussion to give every voice a chance?

Answer: During debate, will hold people to time and will say what we are voting on twice. On the Danielson rubric, Mulgrew got ineffective in last DA. We owe it to delegation to do it orderly. A large number of delegates contacted him. Sorry for last month.

Question: Payroll coding: School doesn't have coding for partial classroom closure or reimbursements for getting vaccines. How can I find out about that?

Answer: We now have the codes. We brought this to DOE. We will send codes out to the delegation.

Question: When do you anticipate contract negotiations to take place? Is negotiating committee paid?

Answer: We do voluntary negotiations but negotiation committee address this. Another union is in arbitration for last round but could extend two years. The city has money. They are claiming poverty. We have to be ready.

Question: Question of Privilege: In the event a Delegate makes a personal insult, will it be stricken from the record?

Answer: Hoping that issue doesn't happen. There is a process where we could look to strike someone from participating but I think we are better than that. Mulgrew has been in unions where that took place where people were fighting with each other.

Question: Substitutes: Do we have available substitutes because people are being pulled daily for coverages?

Answer: DOE says there are 11,000 substitutes. Subs are getting an extra $50 bucks a day. Paras never processed in the past. UFT got paras hired. DOE HR needs to recruit. Why don't we have a teach NY program with CUNY? We are talking with transition team. Bloomberg contracted this out. They went to the midwest. They went to the Caribbean and Austria. They didn't understand that teachers could curse  at them. DOE says there are 11,000 subs. There are not.

Motion Period

 For this month on member engagement in contract fight-survey and more such as informational campaign.

659 vote yes, 123 no online (I could not hear live votes) but it had well over 2/3 yes votes so it was added to the agenda.

For this month:

Motion says that the UFT must push for regular COVID testing for staff in NYC pre k centers and sites.

762 yes and 58 no online. It carries.

Time ran out before more could be done. 

Wishes all a Happy Holiday. 



Anonymous said...

"We are happy with the healthcare decision". How in the hell does Mulgrew live with himself? Show me ONE retiree who is happy with the new healthcare change and it would be a miracle.

Anonymous said...

Some members were confused stating that Mulgrew screws with the voting system by calling dial “A for yes” and “ C for no”. Both “A” and “C” are the number 2 on the important questions, while the bs intro questions (in-laws) it was dial 1 for yes and 3 for no.

Anonymous said...

This Mulgrew is so full of it when it comes to retiree healthcare. He was selling this Med Adv Plus since day one with monthly Murphy RTC webcasts since March. Other unions- like the CUNY union went to court—as the UFT stayed on the sideline with Mulgrew continuing his propaganda that the new health plan is the greatest thing on earth—despite its flaws. All he had to say, ‘Retirees —you want to keep your current Medicare healthcare plans—ante up an extra $4800 per couple per year.’
Just wait till Mulgrew and his MLC cartel negotiates Healthcare coverage for in service in the spring. Be prepared for changes—meaning bigger costs or watered down healthcare plans.

Anonymous said...

Mulgrew threw the retirees under the bus. Mulgrew is full of shit.
Mulgrew has lost his mind , his morals and his credibility.

Anonymous said...

"Despite its flaws" what flaws? It is the same plan, same doctors, same co-pays. Need pre approval on some things just like GHI. Plus a bunch of sweeteners. Only a fool will pay $2300 a year only to get less. The only prob is that it's only a 5-year gig. In five years, the same fools attacking it will be defending it

Anonymous said...

Where's the UfC slate? They don't have anyone good. If they did,, we'd have heard already.. No matter. Mulgrew is very popular. The whiners on this blog are totally out of touch. I'm doubling down on my prediction...
Unity 79%
UfC 20%

Anonymous said...

Retirees are not going to vote UfC. Concerns over Medicare have been addressed. The new plan is a good one. The opposition is in their typical tri-ennial state of delusion if they think retirees will bet on Ufc. Look for a big Mulgrew win.

Anonymous said...

Where's the UFC slate? Breathin' down your neck mother f*****.

waitingforsupport said...

@834pm... Really? Well all of the retirees I know can't wait to vote. Guess what? We are ONLY voting for UFC. If he happens to win--it won't be with our votes.

waitingforsupport said...

If it's the same as traditional why do we need to change? Just say the real reason to change plans is to save money on the back of the working class. The truth is easier to swallow.

Anonymous said...

Breathing down my neck? You don't even exist. Talk about empty talk. When Unity wins with 90% of the vote, I won't pity you. But you will be pitiful. But you're too stupid for pity.

Anonymous said...

Why are people believing what Mulgrew said?
Father’s doctors will not be taking this plan. None of them.
They also limit visits to certain doctors (read their plan).
And, the pre approval list is ridiculously long.

If I was a retiree I would vote a hamster into office before Mulgrew.

Anonymous said...

809. False. Money just comes from Federal instead of State dollars. The working class should not be subsidizing Insurance companies. This is what Mulgrew supports. This is the garbage he is selling. And he is doing it all against the will of UFT members. That is not democracy. That is forcing us to bend to his commands. He should be supporting and fighting for the NY Health Act that the assembly voted for. This would save money and would remove health care from negotiations, giving the city less leverage and the union more room to focus on other issues.

Anonymous said...

Mulgrew and Unity will continue to support this scam that is Medicare Advantage. UFC has to put together packets/literature to combat this powerpoint nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Joe Ustach gave a wonderful interpretation of medicare advantage. I know him personally, and I know politics is not his game. He has helped many of our members to make sure they have answers to a multiude of questions. He has interceeded to make sure in service members and our retirees get the proper treatment they need. I trust him at his word!

Anonymous said...

Ustach lied when he said this isn't privatization. He is a paid spokesperson. Nothing more.

Anonymous said...

821 I'll put reality over your friend's word. Reality is privatization is bad for all of us. Do not put private insurers in charge of retiree healthcare. Vote for UFC.

Anonymous said...

Change is stressful, but not necessarily bad.
UFT in-service members and retirees until age 65 all have wonderful premium free health insurance provided by Emblem Health and Blue Shield.
The new plan for Medicare eligible retirees will continue wonderful premium free health insurance provided by Emblem Health and Blue Shield.
If Medicare eligible retirees are willing to pay a premium for their health insurance they can contiue in their current plan.
The MLC has seen to it that all retirees will continue to have excellent health insurance.

Anonymous said...

The MLC saw to it that Medicare eligible retirees have an inferior health plan with co-pays and gatekeepers.

Anonymous said...

11:16 we don't want to support privatization. we don't want middlemen. we don't want emblem health. we don't want blue cross. but we weren't asked. we are being force fed this scam. a union leader shouldn't fight for garbage union members never asked for. expand medicare, don't sell it off for profit.

Anonymous said...

Regular Medicare has same co-pays and no cap. Pre-authorization is standard practice on GHI. It's a great plan.

James Eterno said...

Pre-athorizations not on original Medicare. This is about what retirees on Medicare have that they will lose in Mulgrewcare, not what active members have. Most use medical system more as they age and shouldn't have to have a new pre-authorization placed before them.

Anonymous said...

Everyone who stubs a toe gets an mri. There should be some limits. It makes prudent sense. Costs are astronomical.

Anonymous said...

Once the plan rolls out retirees will find out if the plan is good or if it sucks (my bet is on sucks). If it sucks retirees will not vote for Mulgrew. When a retiree is denied care or if their doctors don’t take the new plan, all the claims of Unity go out the window. Retirees personal experiences and the experiences of their retired friends will carry more weight than anything that comes out of Mulgrew’s dumb mouth. Like Waiting for Support, Im a retiree and those I know also retired already feel screwed and will not vote for Mulgrew. We old people like our health plan as is. Mess it up and we will get our revenge with our ballots.

Anonymous said...

We do not ask for your pity and when our time comes we will make no excuses

Anonymous said...

Usatch said if Dr accepts Medicare, he has to accept this plan and he will be paid the same, and faster. This plan is not the same as plans in West Virginia. It is tailored for us. In five years, you'll be screaming to keep it. Ridiculous to vote for Communists or wackos because of this. Stick with prudent leadership.

waitingforsupport said...

@830am... You know it. I will take medicare in about years but i have the back of my compadres. We've planning on NOT voting for unity anyway. I'm all in for a union and all out for these union leaders. Time for change. V.O.T.E

Anonymous said...

Usatch is full of shit. He also said it wasn't privatization because active people aren't in government run health insurance. Medicare eligible retirees are in a public program now. They won't be in April. That is reality. Medicare is better than Medicare Advantage and doctors are not required to take this plan.Many will and some won't.

waitingforsupport said...

@5:53pm. I keep hearing how traditional medicare is the same. Wth. It can't be the same. There is a reason why we are switching to JJ Walker and Magnum PI's plan. That reason is to save $. Middle class folks always balance budgets on our backs. VOTE them out. Why the hell would you keep someone in office for 20 years? This is nuts.

waitingforsupport said...

@11:01 am... no leader should want to be or be in charge for more than 3 years. Power corrupts most people. Why must UNITY/Mulgrew be the leaders for life? Why? Why must members take an oath? What am i missing here?

Anonymous said...

Doctors are not required to take Medicare.
Many do and some don't.

Anonymous said...

Then they can't take Medicare.