So much to write about today.
The momentum against Mulgrewcare is starting to make me feel cautiously optimistic. The opposition to forcing retirees into a privatized Medicare Advantage plan (Mulgrewcare) is growing.
UFT President Michael Mulgrew claimed he had an arbitrator's ruling on his side last week. Mulgrew, other union leaders in the Municipal Labor Committee, and the City's Office of Labor Relations paid their favorite arbitrator, Martin Scheinman, to write a "ruling" that upon close scrutiny turned out wasn't a ruling at all but merely an opinion pushing Mulgrewcare.
Mulgrew said this in his last email:
As we expected, an independent arbitrator today ruled that the city and the Municipal Labor Committee should create a new Medicare Advantage plan for Medicare-eligible city retirees. The ruling stated that the unions have 25 days to negotiate with Aetna to make sure the plan is the best it can be.
Mulgrew thought he really pulled a fast one with this "ruling" he could blame on Scheinman. Mulgrew still doesn't understand that in the battle over retiree healthcare, it is not just United for Change, MORE, ICE-UFT, or some other UFT opposition group or independents. It is well-organized retirees. His mendacity often works on internal critics but Mulgrew is now up against the New York City Organization of Public Sector Retirees, whose leader Marianne Pizzitola, is a one-person rapid response army ready to immediately fact-check every piece of bullshit put out by union leaders, not just Mulgrew.
This video is a brief response to Scheinman's propaganda, where Marianne notes how Scheinman isn't neutral; he is paid by the Municipal Labor Committee and the City. His paid opinion could be used to "line your birdcage" for all that it is worth, according to Marianne.
The good news is that Marianne and others are gaining real momentum. Norm at EdNotes points out some of the most recent reactions to Scheinman from our side, the side that wants to preserve Administrative Code 12-126 which has protected City worker and retiree healthcare rights since 1967.
This is part of a piece from retiree Evie Rich in the Amsterdam News:
It’s time for us — Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) — to stop staying back and to stand up joining our white allies in opposing Mayor Adams and his administration’s efforts to transfer 260,000 municipal retirees (and our dependents) to a privately administered Medicare Advantage Plus program that have been in the works for more than two years now.
Further down, Ms. Rich declares we must oppose changing Administrative Code 12-126. She gives multiple reasons. One of them:
Too many of us accept rejection — in any form. We do not fight back when we’re told “No.” Higher income and higher pensioned retirees and current employees (mostly white) will opt out. We cannot afford to create or sustain such a system, and the times will not tolerate it.
Pensioners with low incomes are being defended by Marianne's retirees who sued to stop copays in Senior Care which is a supplemental Medigap plan that pays only 20% of doctor's office expenses. Mulgrew has defended the copays.
The City Council looks to be sticking with the retirees too. This is from Manhattan Councilmember Gale Brewer:
Meanwhile, in the UK, the workers are fighting back with a wave of strikes. The National Health Service is their government run universal healthcare system.
LONDON — Across the River Thames from Big Ben last Thursday morning, a couple hundred nurses formed a picket line in front of St. Thomas' Hospital. One waved a sign that read, "Can anyone find my friends? They all quit."
"Currently nursing my inadequate pay," read another.
As cars rode past, drivers honked their support.
"I think that nurses need to be given a pay rise that matches inflation because the cost of living [has] shot up so much," said nurse Rosie Woods, referring to the United Kingdom's inflation rate, which is near 11%, its highest level in four decades. "You've literally got nurses visiting food banks."
Woods and tens of thousands of other nurses staged a one-day walkout Thursday, the biggest nursing strike in the history of Britain's National Health Service.
And they're not the only ones walking out. Joining them this month are employees from other essential services including rail workers, mail carriers and airport immigration officers. It's the largest series of labor actions in the United Kingdom in more than a decade, and presents a major challenge to the new government of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
But does the public support nurses on strike you ask?
Three fifths (60%) of voters said they support nurses going on strike for two days in December, up three points on the last poll a fortnight ago. Some 29% were opposed, down one point.
Ambulance workers will be next to engage in industrial action.
Labor militancy is so needed in NYC.