DC37 Contract, Aetna Medicare Advantage Plan, Charter Fight – 2-27-2023 – UFT Exec Board Minutes

Quick Summary/Analysis: The DC37 contract and healthcare conversations were a big part of the exec board meeting tonight. Nick Bacon pointed out that the pattern being set by DC37 is below inflation and asked what we were doing about that. Barr deflected, saying it wasn’t our place to do anything public about another union’s contract. Bacon remarked that this union’s contract would have the effect of committing our union to sub-inflation wages. Mulgrew also commented that there may be other (bad) costing things in the DC37 contract other than what we already see. However, when asked by Mike Schirtzer what healthcare ‘savings’ would also be a part of the contract, he claimed that none of that costing will have anything directly to do with healthcare (this bargaining round). On the other hand, a new Aetna Medicare Advantage plan is to be reviewed, and Mulgrew confirmed that while he won’t approve it unless it meets UFT’s preconditions, we won’t get to vote on it before it goes to the MLC. He was frankly hostile with new HS Exec Board member, Luli Rodriguez, when she pressed him on this. For more questions on the charter fight, district reports, and info on reso endorsements (all unanimously approved Unity resos this week), please see the informal minutes below.


Minutes approved.

LeRoy Barr: 500 member negotiating committee, tomorrow. March 2nd, fourth installment of Black History Film Series. Film will be Aftershock. Chapter Leader Training this weekend, sold out. Lunar New Year Banquet on March 10th. Lobby Day on March 13th. Thanks Janella Hinds for leading effort against Charter School expansion. Wednesday, March 13th next DA. March 16th, anniversary of the UFT.


Alex Jallot: Bronx H.S. currently has a charter middle school in the same building in D75. They are attempting to expand, which will be a detriment to the regular public school there.

LeRoy Barr: Main pushback in the last fight was parents. To build a campaign in the Bronx, maybe talk to Janella.

Ibeth Mejia: Need support on grievances on operational complaint. Some people telling us to do grievances, some operational complaints. James Eterno, I, and another attempted a grievance. We were told we should file an operational complaint RE curriculum maps. Member got a letter in the file, but CL said there wasn’t enough support from membership to enforce that part of the contract. Aviation’s grievance on coverage pay – they won but haven’t been paid yet. I was told to email Mulgrew and never got a response from anyone in the UFT. What do we have to do to get someone from the UFT to address grievances at Middle College and Aviation. Principal is taking advantage of situation; needs to be stopped.

LeRoy Barr: Many people here can speak to you on that.

Mark (director of Grievance): On payment from shortage area, we brought a grievance for a teacher and won a grievance. DOE challenged arbitrator’s award. This is rare, but caused delay. Shouldn’t have done this, but they did. The other case I’ll talk with you about, but can’t go too far into it here because it’s an individual case. We’ll look at that case.

Nick Bacon: DC37 contract – there’s a tentative agreement. I hope the members get the contract they deserve and am happy for them if they do. However, we already know that one aspect is not so good – and that aspect affects us and all other unions in the MLC. The wages are set to be way below inflation. Because of pattern bargaining, that means the DC37 agreement will essentially commit us to a pay cut. What is the UFT doing, whether publicly or privately, to prevent DC37 from setting sub-inflation pay cuts for all other unions?

LeRoy Barr: I’m sure conversations are happening, but we can’t make public statements about another union’s contract. Would you want another union to say something about our contract before we voted on it?

Nick Bacon: This aspect of their contract is effectively part of our contract too. It’s bad for our members. So if that pattern does go through, what are the next steps for our union?

LeRoy Barr: That’s really a question for tomorrow’s (closed) contract meeting.

Nick Bacon: Yes, with its NDAs.

District Reports

Janella Hinds: Lobbied legislators. Thanks many. Next Saturday, Herstory event – celebrate current/historic activists.

Rosemary Thompson: School counselors conference – glue that holds our schools together. March 11th, 9 AM to 3PM.

Social Workers CL: Thanks UFT officers for their support of the pre-k social workers. Next week is social worker appreciation. Share with your CLs and everyone so social workers, who are often isolated, get recognized in your schools.

Seung Lee: UFT Uptown Loves You Event occurred. DRs there.

Mike Schirtzer: We did the DC37 event, good union solidarity event. My school all sat together and ate lunch. Beautiful moment.

Adam Shapiro: Beginning March Madness Tournament. Follow district 21 facebook page.

Lamar Hughes (D25): April 2, first family day. Nets vs. Jazz. Everyone welcome to attend.

Rashad Brown: Black history month events, if you missed, you missed out. Aftershock event to come, hybrid. Thursday at 4:00 PM. Scholarship applications coming out next week.

Joe Usatch: Shanker scholarship deadline is March 10. Thanks Rosemary Thompson and Nick Cruz for helping move over to new IS platform.

President’s Report:

Mulgrew: Europe has done 4 day work weeks. Jokes about putting that in the contract. Some schools in PROSE do have that (sort of – socioemotional instruction, etc; still work full minutes).

We now have a new pattern tentatively. Talk to Garrido all the time. Sure there is stuff in there about costing that has not put things out in the public. We will have a conversation once they do their thing.

Tomorrow, we have the contract event. We need to talk about workplace stuff – stop wasting our time.

See what actions we can commit to tomorrow.

In terms of City itself, talking about negotiations. PBA agreement should come in shortly – 2.5 year arbitration.

Charter school fight – thanks Janella and team fighting in Albany. NY Post front page all about how horrible we are – that we aren’t serving the people of the city. They forget that they don’t serve many kids, and we take them with pride. This kind of bad press from the Post shows we’re doing our job well. People behind the corporate charters are used to getting their own way. They want to chip away at the unions because we stand up to them. Even if we defeat this this year, it’s not going away. There are people in the City’s administration who I think want to see charters prosper.

Lobby day is 2 weeks from today.

Aetna is putting out its current proposal to the MLC. UFT has been at the table, because we won’t approve a MAP program unless it has everything we say it has to have. No agreement until the signatures are there. We didn’t meet the arbitrator timeline, so what – we keep going. We’ll get the info out as soon as we have it.

Context: stuff happening in the South, especially Florida, is off the charts. Like a communist takeover of a state with propaganda all over the place. Just teaching the facts becomes ‘CRT.’ Also destroying the middle class, removing rent and insurance regulations. Teachers are bearing the brunt of the culture war down there.

Mike Schirtzer: City saying healthcare first, then raises. What kind of changes are we looking at?

Mulgrew: Last couple of contracts, didn’t negotiate healthcare. We went to City Hall and said there won’t be any ‘healthcare savings’ in this round of bargaining. But we’ll look at the RFP. This is a straight round of bargaining. Still, understand – that healthcare is part of the compensation package, but not a part of this bargaining negotiation.

Luli Rodriguez: Emergency MLC meeting on MAP with Aetna. But not an MLC vote on Aetna. So will the exec board/ DA get to see the Aetna proposal and vote on it before we vote at the MLC?

Mulgrew: We have not done that in the past. But, I won’t vote on the plan unless it meets our criteria. But we are different than other union, because we have a much closer relationship with our retirees. We have this relationship because it makes us stronger to keep our retirees active and working in the union. That’s not the norm. So here, we actually have an extra check and balance on retiree decisions. Retirees here vote in elections.

Luli: So you’ll talk to the retirees on the criteria you want…

Mulgrew: Cuts off. I am not a dictator. We have an exec board, adcom. There are people in our union working with other unions to reduce/eliminate our vote in the MLC. Not fair.

Luli: Just want to make sure that retirees are taken care of.

Mulgrew: Healthcare costs a lot of money, but we’re putting ourselves at the table – not waiting for the employer.

Alex Jallot: Going back to charters. But we do represent some charter school members. What happens where a UFT-represented charter school wants to expand at the expense of the UFT-represented public school at the same campus.

Mulgrew: Last time that happened, we helped the charter school move. Working on that with a relevant charter school (the one Alex mentioned earlier). By the way, that charter school was one of the only ones founded by a group of teachers. But we want to find them a different space. You should talk to them – actually pretty cool people.

Motion Period:

Dave Kazanzky: Motion endorsing Tom Brown to keep post on TRS. Victoria Lee endorses as well.

Motion carries unanimously.

LeRoy Barr: endorses reso on anniversary of UFT founding. You have to talk about things, but you forget. Grateful to have the opportunity to talk about all we had an opportunity to gain over the next few years. I want to push each other up. It’s important to push up. The two groups that were there and came together, it was that same pushing against each other – it almost didn’t form. But they had more in common than differences.

Motion carries unanimously.

Janella Hinds: endorses resolution on Women’s history month. Important to think about the local history of our union. Let’s pull out a bit and think about the historical impact women have had on our union and our country. Important to think of the impact of those who came before us.

Motion carries unanimously.


  • Avatar
    [email protected]

    As usual, Mulgrew is full of BS.He says he won’t sign on to any Aetna plan unless it meets with his and his team’ s approval. All Advantage plans are by their definition Managed Care plans. As far as I know that is the only Advantage plans Aetna sells. That’s how insurance companies make money; ripping off the Federal Gvt by making the insureds sicker than they actually are to increase federal dollars , and loading the policies with pre authorizations and restrictions.  So tell Mulgrew to stick these Joe Namath Advantage plans up his keister.                  Howie Siegel

    Sent from AOL on Android

    • baconuft

      We kind of got the ‘elections have consequences’ line on this. Implicit to Mulgrew’s justification of potentially approving MAP is that retirees have a vote (and voted him in). Hence, even though retirees won’t get to vote DIRECTLY on whether or not they’re forced onto MAP, they already got a vote – because they voted for Mulgrew. It’s faulty logic, especially because it’s dubious that retirees had this understanding when they voted in the UFT election. But hey, that’s where we are.

  • Avatar
    Mike D.

    I think one of the “good things” to come out of this contract debacle is that there are discussions about remote time and or higher pay for those who can’t do remote work. I strongly urge the 500 Member Contract Committee to push to allow for REMOTE TIME FOR EXTENDED DAY/OR ELIMINATION OF THE EXTENDED DAY TIME. Furthermore, I would like to see a resolution presented at the next DA to release the results of our contract survey after our contract is settled. We 100% deserve to see if the UFT leadership actually fought for the priorities that members demanded. If Mulgrew hides this, it further erodes the trust in our union.

    • baconuft

      I agree on elimination of extended days. Getting rid of them would probably cost us (unless we really fought), but making them functional preps or making them remote shouldn’t. If you have a reso written, feel free to email it. We tried a reso like this in the form of an amendment and narrowly lost at a DA last year, but I think there was some confusion over whether we meant releasing the survey data during or after the negotiations. We narrowly lost. If we explicitly said after, we might have more luck.

      • Avatar
        Mike D.

        Make the extended time/pd time remote. I can watch PD on the train going home or on the weekend. We can also very easily do parent engagement remotely from home.

        • baconuft

          Yep. Parent engagement in particular is arguably easier to do from home as sometimes in schools we have to share ‘office space.’ Making a call to a parent while the teacher next to you is also making a call to a parent is incredibly disruptive, inefficient, and probably a potential privacy violation. That should be a no brainer. PDs would need buy in from CSA most likely. A lot of principals I know always choose to have PD in person when they are given the option.

  • Avatar
    Mike D.

    Screw the CSA. PD should be remote and mostly done by teachers researching topics related to their subject matter. This can be done remotely. If admin memos need to be read, we can do that at home as well. What’s the point in taking a 3% “raise” if we get nothing in return? We are in fact taking a pay cut. Make PD/Parent engagement time remote. If not, I sure as hell am not voting for this shitty contract.

    • baconuft

      I fully agree on PD. Honestly I think we should also be pushing to reduce or eliminate CTLE requirements, which are effectively a pay cut and an extension of working hours.

  • Avatar
    Mike D.

    CTLE is a state issue I believe.

    • baconuft

      It is, but we can and must push back on state issues. There are even contractual precedents of the City agreeing with the UFT to lobby for state issues. Examples of state issues we still work on, often alongside NYSUT, include pension, tenure, and certification.

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