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UFT policies are decided by a vote. But not when Mulgrew’s losing?

December 7, 2022 pm31 11:44 pm

Mulgrew’s Unity Caucus controls the UFT. What they want, they vote yes on. What they don’t want, they vote no on. Or, as they are commonly doing these days, what they don’t want, they prevent from even being mentioned.

But why hasn’t Mulgrew gotten a rubber stamp vote on the leadership’s current healthcare scheme?

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 Unity are so deeply engaged in fighting against our retirees,
and so shocked not to be winning,
that they have forgotten to bother with a vote.

Sometimes UFT votes seem like shams. Unity Caucus holds all of the spots on the Administrative Committee, a 95-7 majority on the Executive Board, and a working majority in the Delegate Assembly. What the UFT leadership (run by Unity) wants, they put up for a vote, and it passes.

The fact that they have to put things up for a vote means there is some feedback. They may not usually listen, but it’s there. There’s a chance for opponents to point out big problems. There’s a chance for their supporters (occasionally) to point out weaknesses to be addressed. I’m not pretending it’s a good democratic process – it’s not. But there’s a chance to talk, to engage, before Mulgrew’s thought becomes policy. Unity is usually especially careful when organizational resources are going to be committed.

High Stakes

But it’s different this time. UFT leadership was stymied by the retirees when they tried to force them into Medicare Advantage. So they looked to amend Section 12-126 of the City Administrative Code (once that’s done Unity will resume pushing Medicare Advantage – but they’ll need to finish lining up a new company in the interim). Amending 12-126 is crucial to their plans. And they were in a rush.

Normally a Vote, Followed by a Campaign

If it were any other issue, any other year, with any other president, Unity would have brought the new policy to a vote. First the Exec Board. Then the Delegate Assembly. Once it passed the Exec and the DA, Unity would have run a full court press, using the Borough Reps and especially the District Reps to push the policy into the schools, and push chapter leaders to get members to make phone calls. That’s how they usually play things.

Nope. A Campaign. With No Vote

But no. Losing. Desperate. In a rush. Couldn’t be bothered.

October 28 (Friday) Renee Campion, NYC Commissioner of Labor Relations, wrote a threatening letter about what she would do if 12-126 was not amended, with first steps by an early deadline. (That deadline came and went. Nothing happened. We should think more about that letter). (Every bone in my body says Unity helped write that letter. I have no proof. Just years of instinct).

October 29 (Saturday) Michael Mulgrew started an email campaign to get members to support the amend 12-126 position. (It had very little impact).

And then, boom, it was more than an email. District Reps started pushing chapter leaders. Borough Reps held zoom meetings (using lots of staff time). The organization was all-in. That’s time. That’s money.

But no vote to set amending 12-126 as policy. And so they were allocating resources without a vote.

Aha! Gotcha? Nope.

This is slop. The vote would be Unity-controlled. They still might go back and retroactively “fix” this, if they notice. I did not write this post to get them in trouble for breaking their own very flimsy rules. (although they really should try to follow at least the minimal requirements of internal democracy that they are ok with).

Can’t or won’t follow their own norms, because they are in “a state”

I wrote this because they normally do follow this norm. And the fact that they messed up, or were too rushed to bother, that speaks to the state they are in. Concern. Worry. Panic. This is not normal. As of today, we are winning.

(This isn’t over. For now the fight is to STOP Mulgrew/Unity and the Municipal Labor Committee and New York City from amending 12-126. Reach out to your council member – even if you have already done so, do it again – and tell them NOT to amend 12-126)

The retirees and in-service members are up against Mulgrew and the MLC and NYC government. David is taking on Goliath. And it’s not over. But Goliath? Not winning.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. December 8, 2022 am31 4:59 am 4:59 am

    If they put it up for a vote now, won’t that be an open admission that they had no right to advocate for it before?

    • December 8, 2022 am31 8:19 am 8:19 am

      They might pretend they’ve already voted on it – claim that it was part of endorsing Adams? or part of some other vote?

  2. Barbara Becker permalink
    December 8, 2022 am31 8:26 am 8:26 am

    Hi, My ophthalmologist already told me, sorry Barbara no Medicare Advantage Plan, doesn’t matter which one. I am very upset, I have Glacoma and go every three months. Drs do not have to take any of these plans.

  3. Elayne Kessler permalink
    December 8, 2022 am31 10:22 am 10:22 am

    It’s sinful what Mulgrew is trying to do with our health insurance…..he’s suppose to be supportive of RETIREES, in service people, not the private companies and NYC…leave 12-126 alone……fight for us…..we were promised & contracted for continuing our current medical insurance…….leave it be!

    • December 8, 2022 am31 11:23 am 11:23 am

      Sadly our leadership’s primary interest is not always the welfare of our members and retirees – certainly not in this case.

      It falls on us to fight back. David vs Goliath. But we have no choice.

      • February 24, 2023 pm28 12:34 pm 12:34 pm

        How does Mulgrew keep winning votes? What is wrong with our membership that keeps him in power?


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