Wednesday, November 02, 2022


Just about everything the UFT sends to members on healthcare givebacks is easy to debunk. The only debate seems to be whether the UFT is sending out misinformation or disinformation (intentional bs).

The UFT wants you to lobby the City Council to change Administrative Code 12-126 (City law). Let's try to get down to the basics of what that means.

 The current Administrative Code 12-126 says that the City must pay the full cost of heathcare up to the HIP-HMO rate ($919 a month presently) for each municipal employee and retiree.

Proposed Change: Add language to Administrative Code 12-126 so the City can pay less than the HIP-HMO rate of $919 a month for employee and retiree healthcare. The City and Municipal Labor Committee (umbrella group of city worker unions) want to change the administrative code so they can offer all of us a cheaper health plan and force us to pay premiums if we don't want the new, cheaper plan.

Anybody who thinks a cheaper benchmark plan will pay for better healthcare is either on the UFT or another union in the MLC that supports the change payroll or City's Office of Labor Relations payroll or they are a big optimist.

The City-MLC plan seems obvious. Change 12-126 and then find a cut rate healthcare plan and offer it as the premium free healthcare option for active City employees and then make active employees pay for the premium-free healthcare they have today. 

Let's say the new cut rate plan costs the City $500 per month.

HIP-HMO is $919 per month. You will have to pay $419 per month for HIP.

GHI-CBP is around $950 per month. You will pay $450 per month to keep GHI.

You would pay substantially more to keep the other more expensive plans that cost more than the HIP-HMO rate.

The City will save a fortune. A portion of the savings will be given back to employees in salary increases.

For the cut rate premium free plan, the City and MLC will say it is just like HIP and GHI. Will it be? Can we get a better plan at a substantially lower price? I am skeptical, very skeptical. Shouldn't they develop the plan and then try it out as a pilot program first before trying to throw out our $918 a month healthcare guarantee?

The City-MLC tried this on retirees until a judge stopped them earlier this year because of 12-126. 

The choice would have been to go into Medicare Disadvantage (privatized Mulgrewcare) with its pre-approvals traditional public does not require or a retiree could pay $191 per month per person to stay in the GHI Senior Care they have now premium-free. The City-MLC want to change 12-126 to have a second go at imposing Mulgrewcare or premiums on retirees. This time, it will be administered by Aetna, a for profit company. Are their profits going to come by expanding care? Not likely. 

The only way to stop this is for every city worker and retiree to put aside whatever differences we may have, draw a line in the sand and then fight by saying, "Hands off our healthcare." We will have to battle like crazy to keep what we have today.

You can help by calling or emailing your local City Council member and urging them to vote NO on changing Administrative Code  12-126.

Find Council members here.

This piece was updated to show a $919 HIP-HMO rate. We originally had $925.


nerd said...

I don't understand how city employees went from essential workers who held city services together during all this pandemic stuff can not simply say "No" to the city. Use the "essential worker " card.

Where are the unions' spinal cords?

JP said...

I guess when James spoke about change all these years he meant us being without a contract and losing our medical coverage.

The opt outers are looking smarter and smarter. Ya know, you all keep questioning why and how...It happens because they know that nobody will do anything. Election and contract landslides every time. Never a threat of a strike. Forever dues payers Grade fraud up the wazoo.

You give the doe and uft everything, you get stepped on, then go continue to give the doe and uft everything.

And this is with dems everywhere in NY and in the federal government.

John Q. Teacher said...

Municipal unions are the BACKBONE of this city. We dealt with 9/11, Superstorm Sandy, hundreds of snowstorms, COVID, and tons of horrible recessions. Now the city wants to f*ck with our healthcare? You gotta be kidding. Mulgrew and the MLC need to be put out to pasture. A job action by the unions who are against the Medicare Advantage plan is the only way out of this mess.

JP said...

Do you find it ironic that Randi is now campaigning and saying the Republicans are going to take away social security and medicare...As we are losing our medical under all dem leadership?

Firm53 said...

This 2018 MLC/Mulgrew closed door agreement that was to suppose to commence in January 2021–but had a Covid delay— was done with a Democratic regime and its just plain ridiculous of hearing the argument that things would be worse with Republicans. How did Mulgrew think that the need to change this 12-126 healthcare—not be consequence of this MLC bargaining with the city? He has being trying to shove this Medicare Advantage down the throats of retirees for months in order to preserve healthcare for active members —and potential raises—which will be minimal—as usual.
As a retiree—I never thought I would say this—why give monthly dues and COPE payments to a union that is not working in the best interests of all its members.

James Eterno said...

Active UFTers will be next.

JP said...

Perhaps they do this because you all joked about the "3 opt out guys" for the past 5 years. They no there is no pushback of any kind. They know whatever shit contract they throw you're way you will take. they know Mulgrew/Unity get automatic victory very time. They know you won't walk out or strike or opt out, or embarrass schools over grade fraud. What lever are you puling to fix the enormously horrible situation we are in? Why are we again without a contract?

James Eterno said...


Moose here again: I say this as seriously as I can. I know you are a Pro Union person (as am I). What response do you have for people who want to pull their dues if this Healthcare decision gets passed? What do you think a good move for our Union is?

As always, thanks for the blog and updates. Moose Out!

James Eterno said...

Same solution as always: vote no on any subpar contract. Vote out Unity Caucus.

James Eterno said...

And spread the word. Organize, organize, organize!

LHR74 said...

AT some point when our votes, spreading of the word, and other actions fall of the deaf ears of the dumb and corrupt that will leave us with the additional action of taking away our dues. We their slush fund starts to run dry then maybe they'll listen, maybe.

John Q. Teacher said...

Another huge problem is that a big number of teachers think the healthcare givebacks are a part of contract negotiations for our expired contracts. I have had to inform dozens of teachers that this is NOT the case. They are two separate issues. Fact is that Mulgrew is trying unilaterally to get the MLC/City Council to end our decent coverage in favor of an inferior plan. He and DC37 leadership are the key players in this nightmare. Word needs to spread among every municipal union about what is going on and who is directly responsible for it. UFT and DC37 are going to be absolutely hated by all the other unions in NYC if this crap goes through.

Bronx ATR said...

The above will give you your local council person, just put in your ZIP Code or if you’re out of the city, put in your school or last schools ZIP Code. Write a quick email -it’s very important that all of us do this.

Dear Mr. Dinowitz,
As a lifelong teacher who has recently retired, I’m on a fixed income and have become aware that the Uft is looking to shaft retirees in order to get a raise for working teachers. It’s really an abysmal and highly unethical plan that Mr. Mulgrew and his cronies are attempting. Please do not fall for it - it is discriminatory and highly insulting to your intelligence and to the ethical obligations that Mr. Mulgrew should adhere to as the UFT president . Thank you.

ed notes online said...

Opting out will save you some money but will have little or no effect on your job. But a mass organized opt out with a decertification move to find another bargaining agent would have an impact.

JP said...

"Same solution as always: vote no on any subpar contract. Vote out Unity Caucus.

And spread the word. Organize, organize, organize!"

The above hasn't worked, and won't. I could pull the same quotes from you going back 10 years. You do realize an election just took place, right? And things have gotten worse since, right?

James Eterno said...

If you want to decertify the UFT and start a new union, we can talk. Just not having a union is a dead end as we have stated here and explained why many times. Having thousands of teachers with no representation will just make the UFT even weaker and Mulgrew will have an excuse to do even less.

I keep active in the UFT because some way some day, more than the high school teachers are going to wake up.

Unknown said...

The audacity of the Union to even consider this is disgusting and should not be tolerated. This should be shut down. We don't need a new Union. We need a new leader not named Mulgrew. These bums are going to sell us out for peanuts. This profession gets harder and harder every damn day.

The Moose

James Eterno said...

From the Moose:

The audacity of the Union to even consider this is disgusting and should not be tolerated. This should be shut down. We don't need a new Union. We need a new leader not named Mulgrew. These bums are going to sell us out for peanuts. This profession gets harder and harder every damn day.

The Moose

ed notes online said...

To me being anti-union is the goal of getting people to not pay dues but no interest in organizing an alternative. Along the lines of better dead than red fits this bill.

Anon2323 said...

Very nice to hear from the wise and sound Bronx ATR who I appreciated going back to Chaz blog. This blog has gone woke with lots of truths censored. James lost the covid/vaccine crap he spewed wickedly for years.

@Ed this union and Mulgrew in particular has turned us in anti union. He has pushed us to have to consider pulling 1,600 dues because we cannot afford an extra 400 a month out of pocket which we shouldn't have to be shelling anything. We will get no raises and we should focus on getting 65 an hour for per session not $54.

Thank god the red wave us coming and Lee Zeldin can take out the satanic witch Hochul.

waitingforsupport said...

@845 am: You've written ad nauseum about how you believe the "red" will save us all. Is it that difficult to: 1. Stay away 2. Start your own Red blog. 3. Understand that if your opinion isn't posted, you should just move on. Get woke. Lmho

James Eterno said...

Hey Anon 2323, I am no big Hochul fan and I will vote for her as lesser of the evils. She is pro-charter school and for mayoral control. She did, however sign the lower class size bill for NYC into law. To call her satanic witch is a bit much.

James Eterno said...

We post Anon2323 often. I have invited him to email so can verify his sources. He won't so I get to do the fact checking.

JP said...

The dems control everything right now, locally and federally. Somehow this because red vs blue again. Everything is in shambles.

"To me being anti-union is the goal of getting people to not pay dues but no interest in organizing an alternative."

Now, please tell me your alternative. If not, you suggest paying into the neverending failure. That isn't something I will do. Perhaps that's why we keep getting neverending failure, nobody is willing to opt out collectively. The voting against Mulgrew hasn't and wont work. It is proven. Again without a contract. they are about to take about the most important benefit, medical coverage. What more do you need?

But Hochul is better, as we are getting treated like garbage and crime rages, including a 15 year old nycdoe student getting arrested dozens of times, now up on a murder charge.

James Eterno said...

Not better, less bad.

Shelley said...

Why is it the priority of this union or any union in the MLC to bargain on health care now?
It's not the priority of Union, at least it shouldn't be.
Why has the City control of what gets done here?
Why are the Unions, many with expired contracts, talking health care cuts and not raises?

The Unions need to stop bargaining (concession bargaining or give-back bargaining) on health care and focus on raises. While a total wage negotiation (wages plus benefits--pensions and healthcare) may be advantageous when there is little or no inflation, given the current state of the economy the unions need to focus on wages and, once a real wage (wage increase above the inflation rate) is secured, then, and only then, deal with healthcare and pensions.

But the City has got control of these negotiations because our Unions are weak, corrupt, and incompetent.

Thank you James for all your work on this. Members, in-service and retired, need to be educated about what the Unions are actually trying to do and why. But I fear that we are focused on the wrong part of total wages here and we need to shift over to wages, salaries.

If Mulgrew and Adams were smart they would simply give everyone a raise, say 3% and make a deal on healthcare and put it in a new contract. The workers will vote it up as they always do. But Mayor Swagger is determined to save the City from the expensive union healthcare monster and Mulgrew too is determined to be part of the solution to save us all from the national and local healthcare monster. Why?

Adams is ambitious and he likes fighting monsters like crime and healthcare and other big stuff.

Mulgrew is just corrupt and incompetent.

Most workers are getting raises as inflation runs at a 40 year high. Not so the union workers as the unions were busted, mostly by the unions themselves, in the last inflation bubble back in the late 70s. Back then inflation fell after the Fed under Paul Volker raised interest rates to put the economy into a deep recession. The Fed is raising rates now, but things are different. First, the unions are weak, busted in the 70s and 80s they have no power to drive up wages. Unions have been concession bargaining for decades. Second, we are reversing the deflationary forces of globalization that drove inflation, including domestic wages down so that the problem was not inflation but the more insidious and dangerous deflation, we got so low we resorted to negative interest rates to keep the economy alive.

So now we have weak busted unions who can't fight for wages and are in the habit of giving back with every contract, usually on healthcare and pensions.

How do we stop and reverse this?

How do we stop negotiating and start fighting?

Focus on wages. Stop talking healthcare. Take a stand. No changes to healthcare. Give us a raise above inflation.

Holden said...

Lower class size means nothing to the teachers that are retiring a few years. Also, there will be ways for principals to get around the class size. Remember it's a state thing, not a union thing.