Healthcare, Healthcare, Healthcare – UFT Executive Board Minutes, 10/3/2022

Open Mic:

Approval of Minutes: approved

Special Order of Business:

Election – complaints: new set of complaints, there will be a final third set. (One set was already voted on last year).  Typically election complaints are usually investigated by the Secretary and UFT Counsel, so UFT employed a private legal firm to handle the investigation. The 2022 election committee was represented by the two caucuses that ran full slates (Unity and UFC). Election took place, with results announced in May. Unity won most of these positions.

Leading up to the complaint, various complaints were submitted. Here are 11 additional complaints from the omnibus complaint. We recommend denial:

-while the election was free and fair, we recommend new policies to make it fairer:

-written election complaint process should be created with an official person to handle.

-Small caucuses should not be given as much ad space as large ones.

– UFC alleges that UC attendees used official UFT emails to do official caucus business. This probably didn’t affect the election, but this wasn’t caucusing. We’re talking about election business – that’s different, and is legal.

-There is no evidence of whistleblower retaliation against Christina Gavin. Ms. Gavin said that a group she used a Google Group that appears to be an official UFT group even though it wasn’t. Ms. Gavin was told to cease and desist but no retaliation was done against her.

– UFC reps allege they haven’t received an official report from the UFT, but there was no violation as there was no effect on the election. A new version has also been updated that ‘official UFT group’ is now ‘appearance of an official UFT group.’ UFC had access to executive board meetings among other things. So allegation is not substantiated.

– Many complaints aren’t election complaints but of general UFT process, such as violations of Roberts rules and the length of the president’s report. The president report has varied in length significantly over the years depending on what information needed to be reported out. During the pandemic, it tended to be longer. While delegates might be frustrated, this is unrelated to the president’s report.

-It is false that non-Unity members have not been allowed. November: (Bacon), Daniel Alicea (had on agenda), January (Strivers, ), various motions to amend also noted.

True that adoption of resolutions have slowed DAs, it’s not the intention. The suggestion that Mulgrew can even identify who is in what caucus out of thousands.

UFT did not inappropriately allocate space in the UFT election committee. Order of campaign advertisements is random and flipped by season.

*started to lose notetaking stamina somewhere around here.

None of the articles in NY teacher complimented members in a way that would affect the election. Nothing there is different from previous election years.

UFT is not required to constitute the election committee in any way.


Nick Bacon: Simply want to clarify that it’s unfair to say UFC was called on in resolutions. When I was called, I was a member of Unity. UFC did not clearly exist yet. When Daniel was called up his resolution had been put on the docket the previous school year, well before UFC existed. It had been on the docket so long that it was moot when he brought it up, hence him taking it off the agenda. All other members discussed did not bring up original resolutions. They simply called up amendments or other points of order, which they don’t need to be called on by Unity-elected officers in order to do.

The item passes without debate.

President’s report (Mulgrew): We had a negotiating meeting with members. We want all the members to wear blue on Oct. 13th, the actual first day of bargaining. Negotiating committee is driving the different actions. So do you announce events or want organic events. As a CL, I hated when the UFT told me to do something – I liked knowing the goal and working it out with my members. So we have officers working in the borough who will be point on this. We want our members going to CEC and all these other things. We want parents involved. Poll numbers went up when the governor signed the class size bill. When I was CL, J. Klein was chancellor. When he came, we all turned our backs and stood there the whole night. Union didn’t tell us to do that, we did it on our own. We do want to do this action though on contract.

The receivership list came out. We have some problems. If you’ve ever been on a school on some sort of list. There has been no plan of action for the last few years because during COVID none of that was happening. So now there are talks as to what that’s going to mean. There can be serious ramifications in receivership.

We have 365 UFT members in excess and we are still placing people.

Healthcare: we will have our inservice healthcare committee. Joe ? will be chairing it. Down in DC. What is going on in this country for healthcare is an absolute disgrace. We have the opportunity to work with the other unions to do a variety of things to solve the problem. We are fighting like no one else. But in DC, the new legislation has some improvements – we can negotiate drug prices in medicare, for instance. But so many good things were ripped out because of the insurance companies. Money doesn’t go to the people doing the work. So what is healthcare doing to salaries? It’s destroying it. So here in NYC, we’re saying we’re going to take this on. This is a national outrage, it doesn’t matter if you are public or private. At least we’re doing something – everyone else is just eating the cost. At least, we are fighting. But, while we are doing that we have to be clear – our healthcare costs have doubled, even with us pushing the costs down, which is why we’ve remained premium free. Most other countries have universal healthcare, which is why we pay more than everyone else. It’s all very complicated. Prostate exams should take place at a doctor not a hospital, because costs are much lower in medical offices. We looked at a state level and decided that if we did it as a state we would ‘destroy ourselves as a state.’ Something must be done at the national level or we’ll destroy ourselves. Medicare Advantage is only one piece of what has been going on, which is why we need an in-service committee. We go to the doctors more than any other employees of the City.

Never give your right to bargain away – like a judge did to us.

‘Medicare Advantage’ is still part of Medicare. We have the right to do this, so why not make our own? We want good quality premium free healthcare.

Class size – we had our official consultation with the chancellor. Having our first class-size reduction meeting. First students who get class size reduction are the ones who have the most challenges. But the law requires review every 10 years. First couple of years should be ok. We supplied the city with the data on poverty percentage as well as class sizes. Glad we’re finally moving on class sizes.


Mike Schirtzer: Can we publicize contract meetings and some our demands that serve our students and parents 

Response: We have to escalate and try some things.

Ibeth Mejia: According to Article 3G1, “ The Board agrees to arrange for, and make available to each day school teacher, a choice of health and hospital insurance coverage from among designated plans and the Board agrees to pay the full cost of such coverage.” Why are we discussing limiting FREE plans when a choice of free plans is in our contract?

Response: We are championing choice.

Ibeth: Don’t we already have two not premium free plans, GHI and HIP?

Sorkin: We are looking to preserve good ‘premium free options.’

Ibeth: Presses.

Sorkin: Notes rises costs. Would love to pass costs on to members. So we need to see what else is out there. We have dictates from decades of negotiations over healthcare.

Ilona: DC37 sent out a letter to members stating bluntly that if healthcare isn’t ‘fixed’, their raises won’t keep up with inflation. In other words, if they don’t agree to lower the quality of their healthcare, one can infer that they’ll see other parts of their quality of life be reduced – income, perhaps housing, etc. In the past year or so, we’ve heard similar threats from UFT. Does the UFT leadership agree with this assessment from DC37? How will pattern bargaining affect us? And what can retirees and in-service members expect will happen to the quality or access to healthcare in the future? Will we only receive raises if we cut our benefits? Or will we fight for both.

Sorkin: Familiar with letter – speaking of cost savings not reducing healthcare. Can’t speak to UFT’s role in not negotiating until healthcare. There’s no talk of reducing benefits – just the cost.

Ronnie Almonte: Screens being reintroduced into middle schools. UFT has argued against it, so how does the UFT feel about it? Can we have some discussion in the UFT about this?

Sill: Yes good idea.

Lydia Howrilka: Clarifying question regarding Ibeth’s question. Why has the UFT allowed the change in Administrative code 12-126.

Sorkin: Because we want to preserve choice and we want to make sure the MLC has a voice.

Alex Jallot: Mulgrew did support national healthcare. So are we only going to endorse federal candidates who support universal healthcare?

Sill: we don’t usually have litmus tests . But certainly members could raise that at a DA.

Nancy Armando: Op44 – has this become a problem, is it a problem for the district? Secretaries are going crazy.

Sill: Oh yes. You can email me, [email protected] This is a bureaucratic nightmare. Forming a committee.

Ed Calamia: The city received a great amount of COVID relief money. Do we have a detailed accounting of how they are using it?

Sill: No, but we’ve requested it. Where’s the money? This is the whole point of these fights we’ve been having – we need rules because we know the DOE won’t do the right thing with the money that they have.

Lydia: Sec 12 of the UFT constitution states that executive board meetings should be available to everyone. How are we publicizing?

Sill: Dates are published. Puts question back to Lydia – how are you publishing it? You’re a member of the executive board.

Reports from Districts:

October 25th – Middle school conference back in person. NYPD will do a presentation. Wheelchairs against gun violence will be there. Coatdrive, we’ve given away over 10,000 cases.

Joe: Director of Al Shanker scholarship. Online applications will be there Dec. 1st. NYC seniors should apply. It’s a direct check now in case a student is already on full scholarship.

Tom Murphy: Midterm elections are upon us. Starting to organize.

Karne A: More food pantries in schools and some seasonal stuff thanks to our efforts. Community school model is doing well.

Servia S: Oct 1st we couldn’t do our street fair so it will be this weekend. Brooklyn walk also coming up this weekend.

Mike Schirtzer: 2 events from team high schools – future in focus – exploring unionized careers on Thursday, October 20th from 10 Am – 1 PM.

Also Gama – Oct 11th there is an event by Janella at 4:30, a high school huddle. Has a meeting with the DOE after that.

Thanksgiving coatdrive – shoutout. Rich got us coats when we had students who were homeless. I assure you.

Leo Gordon: Great things in CTE – modern youth apprenticeship, 59 schools will offer paid apprenticeships. Many other programs also being put out. Put on your calendar, Nov. 3rd, World Summit done with two organizations, including Apple, and attendees will get certified. Open to teachers and students. Everyone pays for this except UFT members and their students.

S. Ramos: East 72nd join uft for an Alzheimers walk. With questions call S. Perez.

Melody Anastasiou: missed.

Patricia: HIV has not gone away. World AIDS day is on Sep. 1st. UFT is partnering a poster contest, grades 9-12.

Amy Arundell: In Queens we’re trying to be proactive to set a tone to come back from Covid. We had a reception with Queens UFT staff and all superintendents.

Sally A: Had MOSL meeting and had 550 members. We know that high schools did not get to partake, so we’ll have another session on Thursday – email will come out today or tomorrow.

George Geist: shoutout for awesome sabbatical workshop.

Medicare Advantage

Bacon: Endorses resolution in opposition to the privatization of Medicare. (Click hyperlink to left for full text). It was said earlier by Mulgrew that UFT supports a national single payer public option. Indeed we as a union have passed resolutions to this effect. It stands to reason that Medicare, the only current public option, which such a system would be modeled after, must be preserved. Therefore, we must resist privatization of Medicare. Medicare Advantage will get cost savings through privatization that limits access to care for our retirees (and future retirees) who dedicated their careers in service to our City and students. It will add to administrative costs and add barriers to care like prior authorizations. Medicare Advantage is much like charter schools, which we as a union also resist. Charter Schools offer to do the same as public schools but ‘better’ and often ‘cheaper’ through privatization. They erode public education by doing this. Medicare Advantage does the same to Medicare. Given our own obvious analogy in education,  our own precarious situation relative to privatization, we must argue for salvaging our public Medicare. And we owe it to the workers who have retired and one day will retire.

Sworkin: Stand in opposition. States things thee says things that are false and is misguided. ‘Sometimes we need to make tough decisions.’

Ilona Nanay: I stand in favor of the resolution. A year ago my mother died of breast cancer and she was on a medicare advantage plan. It was virtually impossible for her to obtain care. I think it is one of the reasons that she passed. It is still extremely frustrating – every time I hear him talk about the program. I would love a breakdown of why the NY Health Act hurts us as members of the union. We support the NY healthcare.

Vincent Gaglione: Medicare Advantage is still Medicare. Part C of Medicare. Also you have to look at what you’re getting. Not all Medicare Advantages are created equal.

Joe: Stands firmly against. My wife works for an insurance company that provides the product. If we were on her plan we’d pay 700 a month, which is reasonable in today’s world. We can negotiate better benefits.

Alex Jallot: Firmly in support of this resolution. Every time we play ball with these insurance companies. If we supported single payer, we could put more time and energy into better pay. The minute we give an inch, they want to take a mile. Healthcare is part of the boss’s ploy to keep us down. We have to have a single payer healthcare system or otherwise this will be the same story every years. We have to say no sometimes and let them know that we aren’t accepting any more inches being taken from us. For the sake of our retirees and workers everywhere we should accept.

Ibeth Mejia: Responds to Vincent. The private companies in Part C are for profit. We need Medicare for all. No free choice – MAP +, if they wanted to keep regular Medicare, they would have to pay over 400 a month.

*Question called. (Ed Calamia is only person standing).

Only the 7 vote and Mike Schirtzer in favor of the resolution. Unity votes down resolution.

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