July 12, 2024


International Student Club UK

UFT Leadership–We Are Superheroes. You Are a Contrary Galoot.

UFT Leadership–We Are Superheroes. You Are a Contrary Galoot.

Not in those words, of course.  But they like to portray the UFT President as an infallible super hero, kind of like the one on the left. He’s facing down impossible odds while you and I are whining on the sidelines. I can’t sit through the Town Hall presentations any more, but James Eterno did, and kindly took notes:

We don’t wait for something to happen.

They certainly don’t. They made a deal, six months ahead of the 2018 contract, for enormous health savings (for the city, not us). That’s why they wanted to dump all city retirees into an Advantage plan. They basically agreed to fund our own raise, a counterintuitive, stupid precedent that will cost us dearly in contract negotiations.

Other people just say no. That doesn’t sit well with us. People will yell and scream and do other things. 

This is the stereotype they trot out any time any member dares disagree with them. You “just say no” for no particular reason. Actually, I’ve agreed with a lot of things leadership did. I loved parental leave. It’s still a great improvement over the nothing we had previously. I supported the 2018 contract (with no idea the health savings they agreed to were so reckless and hurtful). 

Here’s the difference between me and UFT leadership–when I make a mistake I tend to say, “Sorry, I made a mistake.” Back when we had an online grading system, students would come up to me and ask, “How come I got a 10 instead of a 100?” I would say, “I type too fast,” and fix it. Were I UFT leadership, I’d say to my students, “You are a whiner, always yelling and screaming and saying no.” Then I’d fail the kid for no reason. 

If I acted like that, I’d be unfit. 

In fact, as someone who may retire soon, I was also open to the change in retiree health care. But once they failed to even examine the city code, and lost the provider, I didn’t feel these people were capable of negotiating something worthwhile. Well, I was wrong to support the health care change, and I was wrong to support the 2018 contract. Color my eyes wide open, and call me a nattering nabob of negativity. I’ve been blogging since 2005, teaching since 1984, and I’ve heard way worse. 

We want to create the best retiree plan in the USA. We will not sign unless we believe the plan is better.

Leadership now distances itself from Medicare Advantage. Who can blame them, given their spectacular and very public failure? The fact is, though, there is no alternative for them that will pump millions of dollars into the city like Advantage will. The other is, NOT all doctors accept it. And however they do it, it’s likely to be picked up by local doctors, just as GHI/ Emblem is. If you’re planning to move anywhere but Florida, good luck. 

Want transparency. Want record of prior authorizations. Want to be able to go to an expert if there is a disagreement and someone is denied.

We want a lot of things. The fact is, though, that the only reason Advantage gets money from the feds is that it saves them money. And it does so by denying procedures. And the people who do so are always expert. Perhaps they’re expert in saving money for the company, but they’re expert nonetheless. 

Only one option if we don’t change Municipal Code.

And that’s because you are unwilling to fight for what’s right. Evidently, you’re unwilling even to negotiate. That’s what happens when you insist you’re right no matter what. That’s what happens when you give up and refuse to fight.

There will be in-service vs retiree.

You already told us that, in an email.  UFT President Michael Mulgrew wrote us saying that if we didn’t screw the retirees, we’d screw in-service teachers. That’s the classic zero-sum game, the same thing that’s kept America from universal health care and a continuing robust middle class. It’s among the very worst messages a union leader could broadcast. If you don’t help us screw them, we’re gonna screw you. This is a classic appeal to fear.

But it’s too late for that. You screwed us all when you agreed to that health care deal in 2018. Your job is to fix your mistake, not blame or threaten us.

Disrespect toward people giving information is unacceptable. People attacking chapter leaders and district reps not acceptble. 

In other words, sit down, shut up, and don’t dare disagree with us, ever. This is not how you build activism or union. We build activism and union via collective action, not by blindly agreeing with those who’ve failed us over and over, and certainly not by issuing them a blank check to do it again. 

UFT leadership sees themselves as Captain Marvel, but on this astral plane, they don’t even measure up to Captain Underpants.