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Halabi: Collusion and Bullying by OLR/UFT/MLC (Mulgrew et al)
Halabi makes the case of COLLUSION between Mulgew, Unity leadership, the MLC, the arbitrator, and the City on seeking to change admin code 12-126 that protects city worker & retiree healthcare
The following post is republished from Jonathan Halabli’s JD2718 blog.
Mulgrew is still working from the same playbook.
In October, he used a letter from the Office of Labor Relations (OLR) to the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) to scare United Federation of Teachers (UFT) members and retirees. He wants us to support amending Section 12-126 of the New York City Administrative Code.
Today, he used an “Opinion and Award” from the Tripartite Committee Chair (and arbitrator), Martin Scheinman, to do the same thing. Mulgrew linked to the UFT “Campaign Page” which campaigns to….? You guessed it. Amend Section 12-126 of the New York City Administrative Code.
Both in October and now the form was the same. Horrible things were about to happen to in-service members, or retirees – unless the City Council agrees to amend Section 12-126 of the New York City Administrative Code.
Mulgrew and his allies are consistent in their messaging.
I have made the case before: Mulgrew, Nespoli, Garrido, the whole MLC, Scheinman, Adams, and the City’s financial administration, starting with the OLR, plus the insurance companies – they are all working in concert. They are colluding. And they leave the evidence all over the place
In today’s Mulgrew letter we have some creative use of language. Take a look:
Notice it? “we expected” “we see an opportunity” “we will use the time” “we are committed.” Who’s the “we”? It’s not me. It’s not you.
In Scheinman’s “Opinion and Award” there is some language that, while not creative, is strangely familiar. Starting on page 3 where he discusses what happened, he writes “a small group of retirees” – which phrase we have seen before.
To be sure, if it were a small group, that’s what you’d expect it might be called. But with 18,000 facebook followers and 60,000 opt-outs (that’s 10% and a 33% of NYC Medicare retirees, hardly small groups) – one person calling it a “small group” would be a mistake. But when several people share language… Were you copying each other? Or did you work on your letters together?
And then, reading Scheinman’s “Opinion and Award” more closely, I noticed more language that I’d previously seen on UFT emails and pages, or heard during Mulgrew’s reports at DAs and Town Halls. I wasn’t certain that Mulgrew’s people and other MLC people participated with Renee Campion in the production of Ms. Campion’s October 28 scary letter; I am absolutely convinced that Scheinman worked with the City and the leadership of the MLC unions, including Mulgrew’s people, in creating his 12/15/22 “Opinion and Award.”
I would run the Scheinman document and a UFT Town Hall transcript through a plagiarism checker – but the UFT has not made the Town Hall transcript available. And Scheinman’s document, although plainly produced on a computer, was released as a print copy, and reproduced crooked on the page to make it hard to convert to a format that a word processor could recognize.
Some questions about this “decision”
First of all, it’s not a decision. It is an “Opinion and Award.” That’s odd. More at the end of this post.
So if there is an award, there should be an issue, and parties to that issue. The first page names the parties. But… There are no “positions of the parties” – that’s what we expect from an arbitration. What is the MLC asking for? What is the City asking for? Scheinman doesn’t mention this.
I wrote “Scheinman doesn’t mention this” not “Scheinman fails to mention this” because I don’t know if the City and MLC actually approached him trying to decide between different courses of action.
In fact, Scheinman’s decision-making power as the arbitrator for the Tripartite Health Insurance Policy Committee arises in the case of a dispute
Where is the dispute? Does Scheinman actually have any authority here? There are no positions for the parties, because the parties appear to be not in dispute. Everyone agrees about who needs to get screwed (me, and you).
It is normal for arbitrators to lay out in their decisions the source of their authority. It is curious that Scheinman does no such thing.
How do arbitrators normally write up awards? Look at how Scheinman does it (he knows how) in the Spring Break Arbitration.
Scheinman NOT designated arbitrator for Medicare Advantage issue
Oh, and oh no. Scheinman has been named to resolve disputes on items 1-4 in Appendix B. But the current issue, Medicare Advantage, comes from item 5. The agreement doesn’t cover point 5. Maybe that’s why Scheinman does not begin by establishing his authority? Point 5 only calls for recommendations.
Other oddities in Scheinman’s write-up
Here’s Scheinman talking about supporting the Stabilization Fund. It is fairly clear that Mulgrew’s negotiations have been all about protecting the health – not of our members and retirees – but of this fund (p.16):
To keep the fund safe, Mulgrew and Scheinman (and the other parts of this club) need to raise copays, limit doctors, require preauthorizations (to limit healthcare, etc. Look at that paragraphs again.
And in the whole of the document, Scheinman strangely claims knowledge of what the impacts of health care changes are on people who need health care. When he writes “I was persuaded that the Aetna program would meet the needs of the City retiree population” (p.24) he is appealing to an unqualified authority: himself.
The “award” is strange. Ordering the City to conclude negotiations with Aetna in 25 days – well – Aetna is looking to maximize profit. And if Scheinman’s “award” holds, then the City is negotiating with a for-profit company that knows it is required to reach a deal. Dumb, right?
Someone’s not been honest
At one point (p.25) Scheinman defends against a charge that he’s screwing retirees, by pointing out how hard he’s worked to screw in-service members over these last eight years. I like this part, not because I like the copays (I DO NOT), but because it gives the lie to Mulgrew claiming that the loans from the Stabilization Fund were paid back with no give backs. (It is, as Scheinman reveals, a lie. We paid. And the”we” means in-service and pre-Medicare retired members).
Not a Decision?
The whole thing is called an “Opinion and Award” right? That’s weird. But what’s weirder – take a look, page 31:
What does that look like to you? He writes that “this instrument” (means the document) “is my Recommendation.”
Is that what he always writes? Nope. Here’s the end of the Spring Break Arbitration:
All this noise and fuss. Is there a difference between a “recommendation” and an “award”? What do you think?
And of course, 12-126
From page 30. Of course Scheinman wants us to amend the Administrative Code – so it is easier to go after retirees.
Why is this happening?
The UFT’s Unity leadership is used to getting exactly what it wants. And it can control every vote, win every vote, WITHIN the UFT. It can even prevent votes it doesn’t want from being taken.
But this is beyond the UFT. And the Retirees (UFT and other municipal workers) are pushing back hard. They have out-mobilized the UFT leaders. They have out-lobbied the UFT, badly, at the City Council.
Even in the UFT, Unity is having trouble with an unhappy membership. There have been rumors, lots of them, about disquiet in the Unity ranks. And Tuesday, in an unprecedented turn, a UFT Retired Teachers Chapter meeting was shut down early because members insisted on discussing healthcare. (I will cover this event soon, and place a link here when I do).
But the bottom line is, while Unity still controls all the levers of power within the UFT, its credibility has never been lower. Their opponents are active. Their own supporters are whispering. And people who usually don’t care, some of them are starting to, and find Mulgrew’s people untrustworthy.
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.
The United Federation of Teachers, DC37, the Municipal Labor Committee – their leaderships have formed an unholy alliancewith New York City’s financial managers, the insurance companies, andthe “independent arbitrator” –and this evil alliance is pulling out all stops to defeat the members and retirees. Scheinman’s “Opinion and Award” is their latest.
Now Mulgrew is jammed up. He needs to amend 12-126 so he can force retirees into Medicare Advantage – while leaving them a Senior Care option. But retirees don’t want that to happen. No one wants the upcharge on their current insurance. So Mulgrew has pulled out every threat – including threats he has no intention of following through on.
By having Mulgrew and Nespoli, and Scheinman, and Campion, and Adams all working together, but making it look like they are working separately – each can blame the other for the outcome that each of them has privately agreed to. Don’t miss it – they are all on the same page. They are doing this to us, as a group, as conspirators, together – but in public they don’t say so. Mulgrew’s not to blame for what Scheinman recommends? Even if Mulgrew helped write the recommendation?
Pay attention. Every communication from Campion, from Scheinman, from Mulgrew – they all talk about amending 12-126. Every UFT webpage on healthcare either asks you to change your position on 12-126, or links you to a page that makes that ask. Every not from your District Rep – same. They want you scared – so they can flip you on 12-126. So…
One last thing – Keep making those calls
This is not over. For now the fight is to STOP Mulgrew/Unity and the Municipal Labor Committee and New York City from amending 12-126. Reach out to your council member – even if you have already done so, do it again – and tell them NOT to amend 12-126.
This is a today story. There has been some quick response. See also