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Was 2018 the Worst Bad Deal Ever?

December 14, 2022 am31 5:47 am

No one should be putting health care cuts into contracts. This is bad negotiating by the United Federation of Teachers (UFT) leadership (Unity Caucus). Nick calls it a bad deal. He’s right. But there was something much worse about the 2018 contract than most people realize. Read on.

The UFT leadership (Mulgrew and crew, aka “Unity”) are locked in a desperate fight with the UFT members and the UFT retirees – Mulgrew and company 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.

This fight has its roots in previous Unity schemes and deals – some of which were hidden from UFT members and retirees. Perhaps the worst, most dangerous lines were hidden in “Appendix B” – permanent, annual cuts in health care – with no end to the cutting.

The 2018 contract ratified an earlier agreement that was not shared with the UFT membership. The memorandum of agreement has a health care heading, but it just says to see Appendix B.

Here’s the link to the MOA:

Appendix B, as you might guess, is not attached.

In fact, when Unity was hard-selling this deal, in an unexplained rush, they clearly said there were no health care give backs. And then they did not provide Appendix B. James found it. But because the leadership hid it, and most members rely on the leadership for their information, there is no way of knowing how many of those who voted yes on the contract knew there were givebacks. Probably very few, in light of Unity’s brazen lies. Arthur provides a good summary of the Unity rush to get the 2018 contract passed without revealing the health care give backs.

Appendix B is a letter. Here’s a link to the whole of Appendix B (4 pages). And here’s the first page:

So, we already know, agreeing to cutting health care is a bad deal. But worst deal ever? Let’s look at 1.a, and focus on 1.a.iv

First, a reminder: “savings” are savings for the City of New York and the Stabilization Fund. “Savings” for you and me mean less health care, harder to access health care, or more costly health care.

Mulgrew Savings = Member/Retiree Cuts and Higher Costs

So Appendix B is about health care cuts.

Let’s focus on line iv. $600 million per yer – on a recurring basis. That means, even though that contract is over, the health care cuts need to continue forward. And worse. Any fool knows, health care costs are going up. So whatever cuts were good enough to amount to $600 mil a year ago, they are not enough today. Unity has put us on the hook for never ending cuts in health care. That’s what makes this perhaps the worst negotiated deal, ever.

Our contract is expired. But the health care cuts continue.

The health care cuts are permanent.

And Appendix B promises more cuts every year that health care costs rise.

Our job right now

Stop the OLR/MLC/UFT / Adams / Mulgrew / Nespoli plan in its tracks.

Do Not Amend 12-126 (keep calling / writing / texting your city council member)

Do Not accept Medicare Advantage.

Demand our unions to negotiate ON OUR BEHALF – instead of on behalf of the stabilization fund that they seem more anxious to represent than their own members.

Seek alternate funding sources (read down for resolution on stock transfer tax and billionaires tax).

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Joe D. permalink
    December 14, 2022 am31 7:54 am 7:54 am

    2005 contract was the worst contract in my opinion. 2018 was a secret deal that we did not get to vote on. We got f*cked in 2005 with the extra time added to the day and the elimination of seniority based transfers as well as loosing the right to grieve letters to file.

    • December 14, 2022 am31 9:51 am 9:51 am

      It’s a close call. 2005 had an immense range of givebacks. And it purposelessly extended the school day. But 2018 incorporated health care cuts – and made future cuts mandatory – beyond the life of the contract. In fact, it looks like the cuts continue forever.

  2. Elayne Kessler permalink
    December 14, 2022 am31 9:02 am 9:02 am

    I understand this to be a contract from more recent years…..I’m retired 15 years And didn’t work under such a ridiculous, hidden contract appendix B…..why and how would this effect my medical insurance,!
    Please explain
    Thank you….

    • December 14, 2022 am31 10:10 am 10:10 am

      The unions – through the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC), including the UFT – are bargaining against their own members.

      In spring 2018 the MLC agreed to unspecified cuts to health care (what I’ve linked). These included potential “efficiencies” and reducing overcharges, but mostly potential cuts for in-service and cuts for retirees. The MLC was protecting the stabilization fund at the expense of current and retired members.

      Question 1: why is the MLC making deals about retiree health care? Who should be deciding what’s covered, what’s not, what programs are available, what costs aren’t covered, etc?

      Half a year later Mulgrew incorporated the letter (Appendix B) in a new contract, and lied when asked if there were healthcare givebacks. But you are right – why should I have voted on retiree healthcare?

      I presume the other municipal unions included the letter in the next contract they negotiated.

      Something is very wrong:
      a) with the system and
      b) with thinking that reducing, cutting, limiting, or charging more for people’s healthcare is ok.

      Today we need to get retirees and in-service in the same side – saying NO to the Mulgrew MLC Medicare advantage scheme.
      And we need to take a firm stand against cutting anyone’s health care.

      • Elayne Kessler permalink
        December 14, 2022 pm31 12:45 pm 12:45 pm

        Contracts of 2018 shouldn’t apply to me or retirees from 15+ years ago!!!!!

        • December 14, 2022 pm31 12:53 pm 12:53 pm

          So the deal was made outside of the contract (half a year before the contract).

          But there is a problem with the entire process. Secret deals. And bargaining for people who are not represented.

        • Elayne Kessler permalink
          December 14, 2022 pm31 1:51 pm 1:51 pm

          I understand that but our contract was our promised contracts…just like our promised pay for CAR days, like NYC giving us back Medicare monies, we were promised to keep current medical insurance….let them change it in a contract going forward so employees will know beforehand what they’re NOT going to get in benefits!

  3. December 15, 2022 pm31 4:38 pm 4:38 pm

    My take on latest outrages –

  4. Anonymous permalink
    December 15, 2022 pm31 9:52 pm 9:52 pm

    Would you please do a deep dive into the loan the UFT took from the Health Stabilization Fun to pay for the teachers’ raises? This whole crisis stems from a debt that is coming due. Just as you say the membership did not know about the healthcare give back when voting on the contract, the way the raises were funded was not made clear to membership either. I wonder if the teachers would have wanted the raises if they knew how much these raises actually cost. Thank you.

  5. Beth Haft permalink
    December 16, 2022 am31 10:54 am 10:54 am

    Sheinman pointed out many things that are draining the stabilization fund. Yet, notice how he failed to mention that in the 2014 UFT contract Mulgrew agreed to transfer $1Billion from the stabilization fund to the city to pay for the raises/retro money agreed to in that same contract? An inadvertent omission? I think not.

    • December 16, 2022 am31 11:43 am 11:43 am

      I had to go back and check. You are correct. He lumps it in with other stuff in the middle of page 9 in a way that no one would recognize.

      Not inadvertent. No way.

      Thank you.

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