Wednesday, December 07, 2022


I got the call on time. 

At 4:03, Michael Mulgrew came on the line and said there are a lot of things we have to talk about. Will talk about contract, DOE issues as we learn more about their new system, the upcoming legislative session which we will do after the holidays, proposal for charter schools and healthcare for the City workers as well as retirees and member hub.

One large session and 27-28 sessions for different titles inside the union. Decades haven't had changes. We worked on that in last round of bargaining. The world is changing but digital learning not required in our contracts. We are okay with digital work as long as it is not redundant. COVID changed the world. Issues of technology have to be dealt with. We will meet for a governance meeting tomorrow. We don't know how they will respond to demands we put on the table. DOE will present demands and say most are economic issues. We will respond that these are not economic issues. They are technological issues. That will be a big challenge for us. UFT DC 37, Sanitation and PBA negotiating. PBA didn't settle last round of bargaining. Hoping that they will settled. Believes contract will be settled before ours. Thanks 500 member negotiating committee.

Superintendents in charge. Chancellor says they are in charge of achievement. Some are doing drill and kill. DOE wants to know where this is happening. Drill and kill doesn't work according to research. Superintendents in charge of special ed compliance. We have to see that children are getting services they need. Pushing at DOE on special ed. We will push with State Education Department if we have to.

Colocations-charter schools
Last mayor favored public schools. Now we are seeing charter school colocations with the new mayor. We met with parents. They want to coordinate on charter schools. Charter school issue is an issue in the City and in Albany. We have to reengage in a tougher way. Colocations are back. We have to engage Albany as NYC is treated differently than the rest of the state. We have to push back on colocations. Success Academies are moving in. 

Hospital Pricing
Pricing for hospital services is often set in Albany. None of it is transparent. One a City Council bill that has transparency. One facility charges much different prices than another. We want to see what is going on. When hospitals become centers for serving executive compensation packages, they are not serving. There is no balance anymore. It is not nurses and doctors making the money. City trying to do a transparency bill that we have had in Albany. This is part of the fight we have been part of for ten years. We want hosptials to thrive but not to fleece us.

In-service healthcare
Negotiated Request for Proposal has started for our in-service plan. We want high-quality premium free health plan. We are at the forefront of the fight. Changed some copays. Majority of members receive healthcare through urgent care centers. City MD is everywhere. Urgent care centers owned by many different entities. All kinds of charges during the pandemic. Many overcharging. $800 for a Covid test is insane. We will put big copays if we are getting fleeced by certain companies. Massive copays or lower prices. Most changed prices when we were ready to put on big copays. One didn't respond and now wants to talk. Country should be up in arms. Workers getting fleeced by these companies. Use RFP process to get us same service or better service for the right price. Our buying power is huge because we are one of the largest plans in the country. We have an in-service committee on this. Healthcare industry adapts and raises prices. We have to engage. This is part of the day-to-day work. Three different copays for bloodwork. Industry adapting to copays. 

Retiree healthcare
We are trying to do what is in the best interests of everybody. All unions are different. Welfare funds are different. UFT is proud of the fact that our welfare fund is the best in the country. A family in medical crisis should not be put in a financial crisis. Stop chasing the ugly. We don't wait for something to happen. Other people just say no. That doesn't sit well with us. People will yell and scream and do other things. We are protecting people from the harm that will come. Thanks people for helping in Georgia. Get base riled up. People in middle want to walk away. Easy road is to say no. We will take the road if we see it is the way to go. No more debate on this issue. I will tell you where we are at. We want to create the best retiree plan in the USA. We will not sign unless we believe the plan is better. Need a plan and a contract. Not comfortable going to court because it often takes too long. Want transparency. Want record of prior authorizations. Want to be able to go to an expert if there is a disagreement and someone is denied. Disrespect toward people giving information is unacceptable. People attacking chapter leaders and district reps not acceptble. We move forward when we have the best retiree health plan in the United States. Want quick resolution when there is a dispute. Only one option if we don't change Municipal Code. All will eventually get hurt. There will only be one plan. There will be in-service vs retiree. You will be completely informed about everything we are doing. 

Happy with election results last night. People around the country hate workers organizing and our profession. Offensive ads in Florida. Trying to get at unions. We are fighting for public education and workers. Republican Joe Bruno used to support public education. Colleagues being disrespected and abused around the country. City allowed what happened to the teachers from the Dominican Republic. We feel good because we don't back down. We have the most students who face the greatest challenges.

Wishes all a happy holiday. We continue to fight. Great to be a part of the greatest union in the country.

Question: Possibility of getting rid of 155 minutes extended time? 

Mulgrew answer: We were paid for additional work so it wasn't a raise. There were raises in those rounds but this was in addition. NYC couldn't attract teachers because 7 districts around us were paying more money but they worked longer hours. If we get rid of it, City will want the money back. It would then be up to the Negotiating Committee. Thinks it's more about how the time is used. Many high schools fold it in. It's how to use the time. Mediator put that in. Hear frustration. 500 person negotiating team discussing this.

Question:  Option to go with MAP or paying premium to keep current plan. Will that always be an option?

Answer: UFT forced a reopening to get that option. Judges ruling would not allow that unless we change 12-126. alternative is not to do anything. If City Council changes Code, that option will be there. If they don't change the Code, option will not be there. Arbitrator may give an opinion where you won't have the option. Two sets of information out there.

Question: Question from retiree in Arizona. If there is a change in healthcare, how will that effect us?

Answer: Size of network is a challenge. Thousands don't live in this country any longer. We need to know where everyone lives and what doctors they are using. We know that. How do we increase the size? Goal has to be to increase doctors in network. We know who Arizona doctors are. This does not exist. Insurance companies not used to nitty gritty stuff. There are always exceptions that nobody knows about. We are looking to grow availability. Must also look out for ex-patriots.

Question: Thanks Mulgrew, Charter school has taken space. What can we do?

Answer: Charter cap is going to be a big fight this legislative session. We have stopped cap from being raised for a decade. Lifting cap will hurt surrounding public schools in the area. We want transparency. SUNY Charter Institute says once they authorize a charter say K-3, they expand it to K-12. Charter schools dropped in enrollment during the pandemic. SUNY Charter Institute expanding existing schools. State Education Department doesn't do that. No new charters coming in now. It is expanding existing charters. This will be an issue. Expect to be in new charter fights soon.

Question: D16 CSI school with many visitors every day. Collecting exit tickets. Is being a CSI school a reason to violate the contract? Filed for paperwork complaint.

Answer: Told principal when CL that this stupidity won't get us off the list. We have to see what kids need. Prinicpal was a decent guy and we knew when the parade of morons were there. Feel for principal who is getting all kinds of phone calls. No reason to break the contract. We have to have a real conversation with the principal to show we don't need outsiders. Outsiders don't know your kids. Go from there. Let's see what we can do to help.

Question: Retiree asks about Medicare Advantage. Doctors weren't award of it and not one doctor knew about it. What is the union going to do to convince providers we are covered?

Answer: Many doctors were in the network and didn't know it. Company didn't inform doctors. That cannot happen again. We have lists of doctors we currently use. 95% are in the network if we get there with this company. On Medicare Advantage, non-network physicians, we were asking them to wait a month to get their money. trying to get 98-99% in the network and talk to the others. We are already over 95% in network.

Question: Thanks Mulgrew: What can the union do legally to stop increases in medications for seniors that are so out of control?

Answer: The inflation Reduction Act got us right to negotiate on drugs. Healthcare industry is just driving profits. We are already at war with them. We have pharmacists who work at UFT. Doctors abuse system by ordering procedures that aren't needed. We need a solution on drug thing before we move forward. It is horrible what is going on in this country. Who is protecting the healthcare industry's right to make more and more profits?

Question: How is contract negotiation going for a raise?

Answer: Four unions in negotiation. PBA, DC37 ahead of us. Almost every union in the city doesn't have a contract. Meeting with governance committee. Shortly, every school will have contract committee. We have to prepare if we have to make it hot and heavy with mayor. Mayor claiming City is broke. Can't say you are broke with $8.2 billion in reserve. We are getting to economic issues. Teach ins in every school hopefully to get members involved on why we need a raise. Living in NYC is very expensive 

Question: D75 teachers. No sub-paras or substitute teachers at satellite site. Union rep stopped answering me and we are burned out.

Answer:  Email information to Mulgrew. Can't hire full time but nothing to stop them from hiring part time. Shortage growing.

Question: Google classroom being used for messages.

Answer: Google classroom is for remote teaching. Should be one agreed upon rule for communicating with staff that has to be done during the workday.

Question: Retiree needs clarification on City hospitals. Was he talking about NYC municipal hospitals or all hosptitals in the City?

Answer: All hospitals in the City.

Question: Can we create an FAQ on the UFT website so we can dispel the misinformation on healthcare?

Answer: We've done a lot of that but we will redouble our efforts. Name calling will not stop us from doing what we need to do. In a couple of years, there might not be a HIP rate so the City can just do what it wants. We are dealing with all of the issues we have to deal with. We are not sending out lies as some are saying. 

Question: Wishes Happy Holidays. Has long-term COVID. Accommodation online to submit on SOLAS. Turned down for accommodation. 

Answer: Get in touch with Mike Sill. Sorry you are going through this. Doctors tell us flu is all over the place in schools. Please consider wearing a mask.

Question: Thanks Mulgrew. Question about having a curriculum with dealing with tolerance and more.

Answer: People twisting teaching about tolerance. We are telling City we have to teach people as whole humans. Teachers went into classroom to help kids. Teacher Center has a great deal of that curriculum.

Thanks everyone and wishes all a Happy Holiday and a Happy New Year. 


John Q. Teacher said...

RE EXTRA TIME: Who gives a shit if other districts had a longer day than us? (Is that even true?) We deserved a real raise in 2005 without extra time. Glad to hear that Mulgrew is upset that folks are pissed at him. They have good reason to be pissed.

Holden said...

2 Unions ahead of us! Yikes. I don't buy that "City is broke" line at all. The city continually wastes money. Why not consolidate small schools into one big school and get rid of half of the principals? Some buildings which at one time had only one principal now have 5 principals.

James Eterno said...

Its "The Moose":

As I sit here having my morning coffee, one must think about how many Charter Schools this Mulgrew will allow while "negotiating" a new contract? Every single contract and every time there is potential for a raise, we give something back that jeopardizes our jobs or hurts us in the future.

Two Unions being ahead of us is fantastic! Anyone knows how to negotiate better than this clown.

As 'Holden' said: "The City is not broke". Adams just cut $250 Million in Education Funding. Can't wait to see what these other Unions negotiate and receive before the contract we get.

Stay safe: The Flu, CoVid, everything is widespread and back.

James Eterno said...

The PBA is still on negotiating their last, already expired contract so what they settle will probably not affect the UFT.

DC37 is next. They have no track record of setting much better patterns for raises than the UFT. I would not be optimistic based on them being ahead of us.

Unknown said...

Same old nonsense, just a different day. Keep calling to oppose changing the Code.

Unknown said...

Same nonsense but a different day.

James Eterno said...

It's "The Moose" again:

What do we have to look forward to then? Can you tell me your thoughts on when/what type of contract we are looking at here?

James Eterno said...

NYC has money Moose but I don't see the UFT or DC 37 doing the mobilization it would tke for them to up their offer for city employees beyond a paltry raise that won't come near keeping up with inflation.

James Eterno said...

As for when, this healthcare stuff must be resolved first.

liberals=ccp2323 said...

So happy about the politics right???? Your brother must really want to smack you. Like I predicted again, the dems stole all the elections by such closeeeee margins. Laxalt, McMasters, Lake, Oz, Walker, and Hochul. Does not take your brother's cop mind to know that Dems cheat, plain and simple. There is no math tell me they win ALLLL of those elections; give me a break!

If we do not have free healthcare like normal, you better believe you will see an uprising like what is going on in another rigged election, Brazil.

No reason why the 500 which is absurd people fighting for us should not be able to get 65 an hour for per session.


Mul-rat's salary need to be reduced if the cost of living continues to rise and there is no contract. Especially if the contract isn't at the same percentage as inflation. HE MAKES ALMOST AS MUCH AS THE U.S. PRESIDENT.