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Groveling gets you nowhere

October 16, 2021 pm31 11:03 pm

On Wednesday the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) endorsed Eric Adams for mayor, after vigorously opposing him in the primary. Of course our union was going to need to work with him, but the leadership’s insistence on an endorsement was a mistake.

Unity stage-managed the process, making certain that Marv Reiskin gave the clinching argument. Marv thundered, or as close to thundering as his voice could get, but the content was lacking. “Adams took a civil service exam!” he kind of roared. I took a civil service exam, too, and so did most of my neighbors. But good for Marv, for trying. It didn’t really matter, as Unity only allowed one voice in opposition.

But to what end? An endorsement wasn’t going to make Adams like the UFT. He doesn’t need it to win. He won’t need our phone banks. And if we offer him cash – did you know he is already turning down matching funds? Any cash the UFT leadership hands him will be surplus, that he will pocket, and could fund his reelection campaign, when, you know, we might not be supporting him. I’d say “pathetic” except it’s my money too. I’m not happy about this.

And since we can’t deliver any votes that Eric Adams needs, and the cash is for next time, this looks like nothing less than a feeble attempt to curry favor, even to bribe the man.

I warned:

A bribe is insulting. A tiny bribe is insulting. Thinking it will buy anything but contempt is naïve. Instead of treating us as formidable partners in education, Adams will likely regard us as weak, detestable mutts.

And then the UFT leadership got him endorsed anyhow, and he treated them like weak, detestable mutts. Here’s the story:

The UFT leadership has negotiated, as part of the Municipal Labor Coalition, a move from Medicare to a private plan for our retirees. It is an unpopular move. Retirees are upset. They are angry at Mulgrew in particular, because he seems to have kept the fact of negotiations secret. Mulgrew and Unity have spent months and months in damage control mode.

Me? I think privatizing health care is, big picture, wrong. I am against privatizing schools too. I am against privatizing social security, and the post office. I think the UFT leadership has badly lost its way on this one.

(I am not writing about what individual retirees should do. You have to make the decision that is best for you and your family, even if you don’t like the choices being forced on you – unless there is a way to change those choices – which I do not think there is at this point.)

Adams? He’s not against privatization. Ideologically he’s probably fine with what Mulgrew and his mob are doing to retirees. But Wednesday Mulgrew had us endorse him, even though we don’t like him. Mulgrew groveled. And Adams treated the UFT as if it were weak and detestable. He went after Mulgrew’s Medicare Advantage scheme, and kicked Mulgrew in the teeth:

“When you start talking about cuts in health care, they’re my cuts,” said Adams at a campaign event in the Bronx. “I know what people are going through, and so we’re going to take a close examination of this because it’s going to traumatize our retirees. Some of the stories I’m hearing about increases in payments, you’re on a fixed income — this is devastating.”

By staying in Advantage Plus, retirees wouldn’t have to pay a fee, but they’re concerned that under the new plan, they’d lose their doctors and be forced to get time-consuming pre-approvals for costly tests and procedures that might be needed on a tight time frame.

Union leaders like UFT President Michael Mulgrew and DC 37 honcho Henry Garrido have both assured retirees that they wouldn’t lose their current doctors under Advantage Plus, but when Oliveri asked his doctors about it, he said “they never heard of it.”

“You don’t become a civil servant to become a billionaire. You become a civil servant to have stable health care, a stable pension and a stable life, and we cannot destabilize it after they retire,” Adams said. “Right now, after serving your city, we should not do any type of bait and switch. When you retire, you retire with an understanding, and we need to make sure we live up to that agreement.”

Eric Adams calls Mayor de Blasio’s NYC retiree health care shift a ‘bait and switch’

Most of Adams fire, to be fair, was aimed, by name, at lame duck de Blasio – but the content was a slap at Mulgrew.

Does that mean Adams will undo the deal? Unlikely. He likes private stuff. The article closes:

But he admitted that, if he’s elected, he’s unsure how much power he’ll have to undo de Blasio’s proposal.

“We need to, at a minimum, extend the deadline so people can have a better chance and opportunity to understand the real impact of this,” he said of the Advantage Plus shift. “I have to really look at it and see what are my powers.”

Nope. Eric Adams took a cheap shot at Michael Mulgrew, undermining him, making him look bad, not to stop Medicare Advantage, not to help those who oppose privatizing healthcare, but as payment for Mulgrew’s groveling endorsement.

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