Saturday, June 17, 2023

Vote NO on the UFT Contract. Here is Why:

The best reason to vote no on this contract is this: UFT Unity lied to us in 2018. They misrepresented that contract. It was predicated on deals we were not fully informed about. It is leading to our health insurance being significantly downgraded. We simply cannot trust them, and if you aren't sure why, read on.

There are a few obvious reasons, but they aren't the main issue. We know, for example, the compensation increases do not even approach cost of living, pegged at 8.7% by Social Security. MLC, evidently, can organize to demean our health care, but NOT to protect our income.The bonuses are non-pensionable. There is no contractual language about class sizes, and as Mayor Swagger cuts budgets and fails to hire new teachers, it's likely he will evade new regulations. Many alleged improvements are relatively minor, e.g. those stuck in the crap that is after school teacher torture are more or less still there. 

Let's set all that aside. There is one good reason to vote no, and again--UFT Unity fooled us once. In 2018, there was something in Appendix B that enabled them to really do a number on our health care. Here's how Michael Mulgrew described it at the UFT Delegate Assembly on October 12, 2018

Health care negotiated with all unions. Done six months ago. MLC thought something bad could happen with health care because of DC. We wanted to lock in a deal. No additional copays, but made a change for all unions. We tried to get plan in better place. Was proactive approach. Has been out for six months. Was smart thing to lock down our health care with no significant cost ships to union membership. Others pay 3200 out of pocket.

First, he says, "no additional copays". I don't know about you, but I took that to mean copays would not increase. A Unity member told me it meant there were no new copays, but that's a ridiculous assertion. Everything we do with doctors, aside from certain vaccines, already carries a copay. Since Mulgrew said that, urgent care visits have jumped from 15, to 50, to 100 dollars a visit. Mulgrew told a more recent DA he's have like to make it 400.  (I'd argue passing this contract might finally give him the confidence to do so.)

You'll forgive my fast typing at the DA, I hope. Mulgrew next says, and I'm correcting my typing now, "Was smart thing to lock down our health care with no significant cost shifts to union membership." That's an outrageous whopper that needs unfolding. The increased copays are indeed a significant shift, and far fewer members would have voted up that contract if we'd known about them. 

If you read this blog at all, you know that the deal Mulgrew made was to return 600 million dollars a year forever to the city, and in return they got a 3-year contract at or near cost of living. Mulgrew and his peeps told us then there were no givebacks in that contract. That's not merely another outrageous lie--it's also one of the dumbest deals I've seen in my lifetime. 

You probably know that Mulgrew has worked to dump retirees out of traditional Medicare and into a Medicare Advantage plan administered by Aetna. This means that retirees will have less choice in doctors, and that Aetna, rather than their doctors, will decide whether or not certain procedures are necessary for our most vulnerable members. While there is a deal to have a shorter list of pre-approvals, it will sunset. Doubtless UFT Unity hopes by then we'll have forgotten yet another of their broken promises. 

In-service members are not sufficiently aware that they too will be moved from non-profit Emblem GHI into a program that is 10% cheaper. That will be a big change for working members, but UFT Unity doesn't dare make it happen before this contract is passed. Let's keep them on their best behavior by voting down this contract. Sure, Unity claims health care on the cheap will be as good or better, but we know they're serial liars. Let's not trust them, and make them work for those expense accounts and double pensions.

Now I grant it's possible that the new contract does not contain any new poison pills. It's also possible that UFT Unity has not made any further shady deals with Mayor Eric Adams in exchange for this essentially crappy contract. But we know they have their leader stand up at our Delegate Assembly and tell us outrageous lies. We know not a single member has publicly said a word to correct them.

We know they lied to us to get the last contract passed. We know, therefore, that they'd have no issue lying to pass this one either. It's time to tell them we've had enough deceit. It's time to send them back to the bargaining table to work for us instead of Mayor Eric Adams. It's time to tell them enough is enough. Our first step is to tell them exactly what they can do with this agreement. 

Vote NO because the people who present this contract have lied to us before. Vote NO because the people who present this contract work to save money for Eric Adams, as opposed to rank and file. Vote NO to let them know we will not be fooled again. Let's find out exactly what they plan for rank and file before we consider any more of their deals.

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