Wednesday, December 07, 2022


UFT members have the law and the Contract with them when it comes to healthcare.

 Administrative Code 12-126 protects healthcare for City workers and retirees up to the HIP-HMO rate ($918 per month). If the City Council amends the law, the City and Municipal Labor Committee (umbrella group of municipal unions) could make the amount the City has to pay as low as the City and MLC agree to.  The strong language that goes in our favor:

 (1)   The city will pay the entire cost of health insurance coverage for city employees, city retirees, and their dependents, not to exceed one hundred percent of the full cost of H.I.P.-H.M.O. on a category basis. 

This law does not need to be amended. Tell the City Council to preserve the Code.

We have even more protections as UFT members compared to other City workers and retirees on healthcare. Look at Article 3G1 our UFT Contract.

3G. Health Insurance and Welfare Fund Benefits

1. Choice of Health Plans 

The Board agrees to arrange for, and make available to each day school teacher, a choice of health and hospital insurance coverage from among designated plans and the Board agrees to pay the full cost of such coverage. 

Choice of plans with the Board paying the full cost of such coverage. That sounds pretty strong to me. The UFT also has appendix E in the back of the Contract (see below) that further outlines healthcare benefits.

Healthcare is a mandatory subject of bargaining that is protected by the Taylor Law as well as the 1992 City-MLC letter of agreement on healthcare. 

The contract is on our side as is a letter of agreement. That helps active people.

School district retirees are also protected in that the City's threat to take away all choice of plans for retirees as it would be a reduction in benefits. Certainly putting retirees on a Medicare Advantage Plan that requires pre-authorizations and limits choice would be a reduction in benefits. The City can't do that to school district retirees by law unless they do the same to active school district employees which they can't do because of the Taylor Law.

This is from NYSUT:

VOTE-COPE Victories

Permanent Health Care Moratorium The permanent health care moratorium ensures that health insurance benefits for K-12 retirees cannot be reduced unless locally negotiated benefits for in-service members are comparably reduced.

In summary:

  • Active UFTers are protected by the Taylor Law which has a part called the Triborough Amendment that says the provisions of the current contract stay in place until there is a new contract. Healthcare is a mandatory subject of bargaining. Whether we bargain on our own or with the umbrella group called the Municipal Labor Committee, we are protected by the status quo doctrine.
  • Administrative Code 12-126 protects city employees and retirees and gives us a solid benchmark rate for healthcare that can't be changed unless we change this law. Our contract even gives us even stronger language. 
  • UFT Retirees are protected by the health care moratorium which says that our health benefits cannot be reduced unless active people have their benefits reduced. 
Keeping all of that in mind, understanding that we have a giveback to pay back from the 2018 Agreement Michael Mulgrew and the rest of the Municipal Labor Committee made to give the City new annual savings forever. 

If I was a UFT leader, I would hold out and never agree to a dime of savings that would cost any of our members any new out-of-pocket expenses on healthcare or forces us to have any reduction of benefits. 

The simple questions for Mulgrew: 

Why are you agreeing to any possible healthcare givebacks limiting our choices or threatening premiums when the Status Quo Doctrine of the Taylor Law keeps everything in our expired contract in place until we have a new contract and Contractual Article 3G1 guarantees us a choice of free healthcare plans, the 1992 Agreement between the City and the MLC all protect the status quo for active UFTers, while the Moratorium clause in state law says a school district can't diminish retiree health benefits unless they reduce benefits for active people which is illegal? Why surrender? Why not fight?

I can pretty much guarantee nobody will ask Mulgrew this in the Town Hall later. I will listen.

No comments: