Archive for April, 2023

New Action/UFT Message on Contract/Healthcare

New Action is concerned about the current state of contract negotiations. We have repeated many times that by allowing DC-37 to negotiate their contract first, they have set the “pattern” for all subsequent contracts to follow. The UFT, the strongest city union, should have negotiated first. The 3% a year agreement is wholly inadequate, especially in light of contract settlements we’ve seen around the country. The UFT has not been talking tough and certainly not acting tough toward the City which tells us some deal is in the making- and one that will not keep up with inflation.

We are extremely concerned that in-service members not get hurt by The MLC and the City renegotiating our health care plans. The key is that the UFT in 2014 and 2018 agreed to find savings of $600 million a year for the City in perpetuity – yes, every single year going forward, in exchange for salary increases. In the last round of negotiations, the UFT agreed to put new hires in an HMO for their first year of employment. Is it inconceivable that this will be put in place for all members. In 2018 the UFT leadership NEVER showed the healthcare agreement to chapter leaders and delegates before they voted on the contract. Start asking questions now…you do not want to be blindsided.

Our retirees are now aware of the new Medicare Advantage Plan put out by the City. This plan was worked out in SECRET by the Municipal Labor Council and NYC. The 250,000 retirees within the city had NO INPUT into this plan. Retirees had hoped that their health plans would only change for the better. But the MLC and the City had other plans in mind. Now union leaders are calling for the privatization of our healthcare. Have they forgotten that privatization means producing profits for these companies? And profits for Aetna or whoever else will result in delaying and cutting services. After all they are not in business to increase and expand services. Perhaps President Mulgrew will call on the membership to embrace privatization of our public schools because it will improve education? With other municipal workers, New Action has been fighting to reverse this plan.

That is why our partners in the United for Chance coalition have started a union-wide referendum to allow every UFT member to vote on whether they approve or not of the healthcare changes being made for us. This vote will be possible because the UFT Constitution allows for such a vote if we obtain signatures from 10% of the UFT membership. Our goal to reach this number and beyond is to get 20,000 signatures. In the 3 weeks we have started collecting, we have already raised over 7,000. This important issue is now in your hands. We ask you to do several things: 1) add your name to the petition calling for a referendum, 2) circulate the petition at your school (we believe members will readily agree to sign), 3) contact friends at other worksites to enlist them, 4) make calls to as many people you know. The petition can be signed electronically! Hard copies can be downloaded. For complete information go to:

Once again, New Action is inviting all IN-SERVICE teachers and RETIREES to join our movement. 

In solidarity

Nick Bacon       860 922-5833

Greg Di Stefano    718 757-4552

Michael Shulman 718 238-8030


UFT Loses Big on Budget

This week, UFT educators lost big on budget. We lost particularly big in the City, but we lost big in the State as well.

In New York City, Mayor Adams doubled down on cutting school budgets. He framed his arguments around ‘enrollment declines,’ but then directed cuts in places that had nothing to do with enrollment. Per Chalkbeat, “Adams vowed that this specific cost-saving measure ‘will not take a dime from classrooms.’ Instead, that reduction — totaling $325 million — will largely come from recalculations on how much the city spends in fringe benefits, such as health insurance for teachers.” In other words, our Mayor told city residents ‘don’t worry, we aren’t defunding the schools, we’re defunding the teachers.’ Yes, the City has kept up with the line that there somehow won’t be a loss of benefits/services. But we know what they’ve meant by that in the past – Medicare Advantage instead of traditional Medicare, higher copays for GHI, and the threat of being switched off our current in-service health plan for something else – something worse. We also know that our Unity-led union leadership has been complicit with the forced reductions to our healthcare, has tried to deny us the right to vote, and has rammed through endorsements for council members willing to defund our schools.

At the State-level, we lost on ‘Zombie Charters.’ It’s not as bad as it could have been – we almost saw even bigger charter expansion, but it’s bad. Consider for a moment: we have a democratic governor—who we endorsed without a vote, by the way. Governor Hochul was then able to convince a democratic legislature, a legislature we’ve been lobbying for some time now, to revive Zombie charters in New York City as a condition to finalizing the State budget. Meanwhile, most of the positives of the State budget for UFT members are neutralized by the City misdirecting state funds and using them as an excuse to underfund its own share of education costs. Will the renewed energy devoted to charter schools lead to excessing (or worse) in affected districts? In the context of reduced City funding for schools, we can only assume the answer is yes, at least to some extent.

Make no mistake, hidden in the ‘wonk’ world of budget discussions, this was a terrible week for educators. In part, that’s because people the UFT endorsed without a vote, or with under-debated votes, are now positioned to do us harm – precisely because we helped put them in those positions of power. One thing is for sure: big reforms are needed for the UFT endorsement/lobbying process.

New Action Meeting Tonight (4/27/23) at 5:30 PM

A reminder that New Action Caucus of the UFT (NAC) will have our monthly meeting tonight, 4/27/23, at 5:30 PM. We look forward to seeing members, friends, and supporters. Zoom links have been sent out, so if you did not yet receive one, make sure to contact Nick Bacon or Michael Shulman.

Tonight’s meeting will primarily focus on:

We will also leave plenty of time for questions and strategizing.

Note: If you are not yet a member of New Action and would like to have voting power in time for tonight’s meeting, you can fill out our membership application form here.

Content Policy

Content of signed articles and comments represents the opinions of their authors. The views expressed in signed articles are not necessarily the views of New Action/UFT.
April 2023