The UFT has a 500-person negotiating committee but it really doesn't do much on issues like raises and healthcare. For a look inside the secret world of the Municipal Labor Committee (umbrella group of over 100 NYC public sector labor unions), the minutes of the December MLC meeting found their way to this blogger. Some of the material is dated as the City Council did not change Administrative Code 12-126 as the MLC and Mayor Eric Adams wanted and it was talked about at this meeting. However, some of these minutes are fascinating for sure.
One topic raised was member unions not paying their MLC dues. This is right from the minutes of the December 7 MLC meeting. Henry Garrido is the DC 37 Executive Director:
Henry Garrido stated that it has come to his attention that some of the unions participating in the MLC are not paying their dues or are only paying a portion of their dues. We should make an effort by informing those unions who are derelict of paying their fair share that all these other unions are paying for. If you have not paid your dues or are paying a portion of your dues in a way of protest or even in a way that you disagree with the way the MLC is going, when it comes down to a vote, that vote should be proportional to the dues and if you haven’t paid your dues and you are not a member in good standing of the MLC, you should not be allowed to vote. We need the resources and I think it is unfair that some unions are not paying their fair share. The Chair asked Ellen to draw up a paper of where the problems are.
Some of the unions in the MLC are apparently rebelling if they aren't paying their dues. I would gather it is the smaller unions that might just be upset about the MLC's weighted voting system where the two biggest unions, DC 37 and the UFT, control a majority of the votes.
On the issue of City workers getting new contracts, there are two points that were made in these minutes. First, we have Harry Nespoli who is head of the Sanitation union talking about his union's negotiations with City Labor Commissioner Renee Campion:
The Chair stated that he had his first bargaining session with Renee Campion, OLR Commissioner yesterday. The Commissioner made it perfectly clear that we can talk but until the healthcare is handled, there will not be any contracts settled.
Then DC 37's Garrido responds:
Henry Garrido stated that DC 37 is in bargaining now. We are serious about pushing this forward and we are looking for a contract. Discussion followed.
Mulgrew told the UFT Executive Board on Monday that the first contract setting a pattern could be settled in the next two weeks. He mentioned it again Wednesday at the Delegate Assembly.
UFT-MLC lawyer Alan Klinger said this in response to Garrido:
Alan Klinger stated that he wants to clarify something from Allen’s report. When Renee Campion is talking about guarantees for healthcare, what she is not saying is that unless we do Medicare Advantage there are no wage increases and she is not saying that we have to wait until the end of the RFP process, which would not be scheduled for the CBP plan to take effect until Jan. 1, 2024. I believe the City is saying that they need to feel comfortable that there is a program in place that will deliver the $1 billion+ in savings.
My translation of Klinger's words is that unions must give $1 billion+ in health savings or no contracts. By owing the city $1 billion+ before we start, I don't expect a pattern for salary increases that comes anywhere close to the inflation rate. Once DC 37 sets that wage pattern, the rest of the municipal unions, including the UFT, will be stuck with it. UFTers will get basically the same increase.
For those wondering about the future of our healthcare, there is plenty of information in the MLC minutes. Keep in mind as you read that an RFP is a Request for Proposal and CBP is the Comprehensive Benefits Plan that is currently GHICBP.
Alan Klinger stated that the RFP for the PPO is out in the form of a negotiated acquisition, which is for the CBP plan. There were seven (7) bidders that were deemed qualified to proceed and this was sent to the technical committee for review. The bidders are Aetna, Signa, Emblemhealth, Empire, Metro Plus, Northwell Direct and United Healthcare.
We were later advised by our source that Northwell and Empire are out of the running but that has not been confirmed.
As for the welfare funds generating savings, back to Klinger to show that they won't introduce a plan that combines welfare funds to generate savings:
Alan Klinger stated that the provision of this information in no way means that the welfare funds lose control over their drug program. Discussion followed.
More contract news from the MLC meeting than you got from Mulgrew Wednesday at the DA. Notice how Mulgrew only said DC37 is in serious negotiations, not the PBA too as he was saying earlier.
When there is a pattern, it will very likely be more than the 1.25% a year that the City set aside for salary increases but don't expect anything that comes close to the year-over-year 6.4% US inflation rate.
The UFT wants people to wear green and black to show solidarity with DC 37 on Thursday. Wear your green on Thursday and tell your DC37 friends not to settle for crumbs. The City has record surplus money.
I've been saying for years that the contract negotiation committee is a sham. These leaked messages prove my point. Mulgrew is conducting the real contract negotiations behind closed doors with his MLC goons. He did not mention anything to the DA regarding tying raises to healthcare. This also proves my prior point that the recent "Teach In" was a smoke and mirrors show. Sure, we all want a raise, but we do NOT want it paid for via healthcare concessions.
word on the radio program on wabc with sid rosenberg who is friends with adams is that adams has shifted his views on charter schools and now is supporting public schools..does anyone have anything different?
The tentative agreement includes:
Flexible Work Committee: The city and DC 37 will establish a committee to discuss options to provide greater flexibility to employees and to enhance employee morale, including remote work, compressed and flexible work schedules, and improved transit benefits. The parties’ goal is to begin a pilot program that includes remote work no later than June 1, 2023.
Child Care Trust Fund: DC 37 will establish a child care trust fund to provide support for its members with child care needs. As part of this agreement, the city will contribute $3 million per year to the fund.
Equity Fund: The parties have set aside $70 million to make salary adjustments to help fill hard-to-recruit positions, and will work collaboratively to address those issues. The fund will be administered by a committee including city and DC 37 representatives.
Pandemic Response Committee: The city and DC 37 will establish a joint committee to discuss issues related to pandemic response, to best prepare the city and its workers for the next pandemic.
Ratification Bonus: Upon contract ratification by DC 37 membership, eligible members will receive a one-time bonus of $3,000.
DC 37 members will receive the following compounded and retroactive wage increases, representing a 16.21 percent increase across the life of the contract:
We must take healthcare off the negotiating table. Passing the New York Health Act is the way to do this. It is sustainable and economically wise. If you make less than $400,000, you will pay less for your healthcare than you do now. If in a union, unions can collectively bargain to take the shared tax away from employees.
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