MORE is publishing this article in solidarity with the UFTers of Retiree Advocate, a group within the UFT retiree chapter. See this article from The City or this analysis from labor activist Bob Nelson for more details about the pending change, which stems from the $1.1 billion of healthcare
savings concessions agreed to by the Municipal Labor Committee as part of the 2018 round of contract negotiation.
Retiree Advocate/UFT is sounding the alarm to all retirees and in-service members of a pending change to our health care. The City and MLC (Municipal Labor Committee) are in negotiations to give the administration of our health coverage over to a private insurance company. Two companies, Aetna and Emblem Health, are among the finalists. This would transfer the 250,000 municipal retires from our current traditional Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan (a privatized Medicare). NYC has called for more savings not for retirees but for itself.
The negotiations are taking place in virtual secret. This lack of transparency is happening with the full knowledge of the various union leaderships, including the UFT. Retirees of the Professional Staff Congress (PSC) , just this week, their Delegate Assembly passed a resolution calling for a moratorium on these negotiations and for ”voices of municipal retirees to be heard”.
What of our UFT? Retiree Advocate called on Tom Murphy to place the issue before the Retired Teachers Chapter meeting last month. He did but we received a superficial explanation. This week Retiree Advocate was fortunate to have Mike Schirtzer, a UFT Executive Board member, put a Retiree Advocate initiated resolution to the UFT Delegate Assembly. The resolution, one of many, was placed late in the agenda thus ensuring that President Mulgrew would likely not get to it, thereby delaying action on this vital issue.
Please read the resolution Retiree Advocate sponsored and let us know your opinion and thoughts.
Resolution for transparency in health care negotiations with New York City(submitted by Michael Schirtzer on behalf of Retiree Advocates/UFT)
WHEREAS, Retiree Advocates/UFT is an umbrella group of concerned activists within the UFT Retired Teachers Chapter; and
WHEREAS, the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) is an umbrella group comprised of representatives of New York City’s nearly 100 municipal labor unions, including the UFT; and
WHEREAS,the MLC negotiates health care benefits with New York City on behalf of its rank-and-file members; and
WHEREAS, the MLC is tasked with finding cost savings forthe city -to the tune of $1.1 billion during the current negotiation period (2018-2021) —including $600 Million in fiscal year 2021 alone; and
WHEREAS, the effects of those cost-savings affect the health and welfare of 70,000-plus UFT retirees as well as the UFT’s 130,000-plus in-service members; and
WHEREAS, the MLC is currently engaged in negotiations that may change the quality and amount of Medicare Part B reimbursements to UFT retirees (or eliminate them completely); and
WHEREAS, the MLC’s negotiations occur behind closed doors, without transparency to UFT membership; therefore, be it
RESOLVED, that UFT leadership will regularly report on MLC negotiations to its members (both in-service and retired) at DAs and RTC general meetings; and be it further
RESOLVED, that UFT leadership will keep its members apprised of proposed changes in Medicare Part B coverage, particularly changes that may diminish the quality, limit the quantity and increase the individual costs of health care coverage to its members; and be it further
RESOLVED, that the UFT leadership request that a moratorium be placed on the final decision regarding this proposed change to Medicare Part B until such time that the membership is informed of all the details involved with this change, a full discussion has occurred and the membership has been able to give input into the decision.