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Blame it on Bad Rollout

November 29, 2022 pm30 2:49 pm

The UFT leadership (Mulgrew and crew, aka “Unity”) are locked in a desperate fight with the UFT members and the UFT retirees – Mulgrew and co are struggling to reduce how much health care we receive, in order to pay a debt they incurred years ago – we are battling to prevent them, to preserve our health care.
Because the politicians and the insurance companies and big business are on Mulgrew’s side, you might think he is a heavy favorite to defeat the members and the retirees.
But so far we have successfully held him off.

Mulgrew and the UFT leadership (Unity) are pursuing a win at all costs – including misleading the membership.
One particular piece of disinformation involves a “bad rollout” – read on:

There is a battle in New York City. A David vs Goliath battle. A battle with a retiree group allied with labor activists on one side, and Mayor Adams, the Municipal Labor Committee, and the United Federation of Teachers leadership under president Michael Mulgrew on the other.

We are currently sparring over Administrative Code 12-126. There’s been plenty written about that.

Instead, today, let’s look at how this blew up in the first place.

The UFT leadership’s version goes like this:

We tried to do something revolutionary that would protect and preserve robust premium free benefits.

Geofrey Sorkin – director of the UFT Welfare Fund

The New York City Medicare Advantage Plus Plan, negotiated by the MLC, was a totally new, unprecedented version of Medicare Advantage that was ONLY for New York City municipal retirees and their families.

UFT website –

But something happened. A bad rollout. Here’s how the UFT describes it:

Poor rollout of information causes delays. The city and the alliance of Empire BlueCross BlueShield and EmblemHealth did a poor job of communicating to both retirees and medical providers how the new NYC Medicare Advantage Plus plan would work. They did not make clear that it was not a typical HMO Medicare Advantage plan so many doctors mistakenly told members they would not accept it, even though all doctors would receive the full standard Medicare payments for their services under the new plan.

(I am providing image showing the url, and an image of the section I quoted. Because it turns out to be serious disinformation, I decline to provide a direct link)

What really happened?

The Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) and the United Federation of Teachers leadership (the UFT is one of the two controlling unions in the MLC) were negotiating with New York City over health care, in secret. Not only were the details of the negotiation kept from the members, but the fact that the UFT was even negotiating at all was a secret. Let me repeat that.

The UFT leadership kept secret from the membership and retirees that they were negotiating a Medicare Advantage “deal”. Mulgrew prefers to shake hands in dark alleys, to make deals in backrooms, to bargain reductions in our healthcare far from the prying eyes of the members and retirees whose healthcare he was trying to cut.

Bad Roll Out?


Not really.

Another union blew up his spot.

The Professional Staff Congress (CUNY union) shared with its members that this “deal” to switch retirees to medicare advantage, to add in prior authorizations, delay treatment, etc, was in the works. We talk to each other. Word reached UFT members and retirees.

Bad rollout? How about retirees finding out from another union that Unity had been messing with their healthcare, without even the decency of letting retirees or members know that this wheeling and dealing was happening.

Members were furious. Retirees were apoplectic.

Were they angry that “The city and the alliance of Empire BlueCross BlueShield and EmblemHealth did a poor job of communicating” to both retirees”? (which is what Mulgrew claims)

Nah. That’s disinformation.

Retirees were angry because someone pulled back the curtain. And we saw. We saw the UFT leadership had been selling our health care to the lowest bidder. In secret.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sean I. Ahern permalink
    November 30, 2022 am30 7:41 am 7:41 am

    I wrote this in 2012 in response to the State of the Union conference:
    “At some point who is left to sell out? This is the question that senior teachers, the traditional base of support for the UFT leadership must face. Their jobs and pensions are one of the few remaining cards left in the UFT’s hand to trade off on and therefore most in danger, yet they are also the most connected to the UFT leadership legacy of white supremacist opportunism. They therefore have a strong and compelling immediate self-interest to repudiate this legacy and the UFT’s historic antipathy to community control.”
    for the full article see Substance News:

    • December 4, 2022 am31 8:11 am 8:11 am

      Despite our current success in blocking Unity from forcing retirees into Medicare Advantage, there is a real danger that Unity may look at what happened and conclude that they are able to screw over retirees while losing some support, but not losing overwhelming support.

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