Who Is Denigrating the UFT?
By Arthur Goldstein - Repost from: http://nyceducator.com/
Posted with the permission of the author, Arthur Goldstein. Originally posted on Arthur’s blog: http://nyceducator.com/2023/03/who-is-denigrating-uft.html
You know, if you read this and other blogs, that various groups and/ or members have received cease and desist notices from a fancy law firm. This is because they used the logo of their own union, the one designed and paid for by our dues. Our dues also pay the salaries of every single person who works for UFT.
Some UFT employees have been posting the picture at left on social media sites, ridiculing rank and file members concerned about their health insurance. These employees are horrified. How dare UFT members criticize the people who sign their paychecks?
At a recent Executive Board meeting, members in opposition were told that this threat was only for people who "denigrate" the union. Now "denigrate" means to criticize unfairly, or disparage.
I learned a long time ago to differentiate between leadership and membership. When I say UFT, I mean you and me--the people who teach and care for New York City's children. Leadership, though, seems to think otherwise. They send their paid staff members to portray us as, well, hysterical chickens.
So who's really denigrating the UFT?
Now I'm certain that UFT leadership doesn't like criticism. Who does? However, we all know that leadership is in a balls to the wall campaign to remove retirees from Medicare and place them in an Advantage plan. We also know there is a request for proposals to replace GHI/ Emblem, the plan most of us have used our entire careers. Who actually believes a cheaper plan will be as good or better?
Do you think Michael Mulgrew really believes that?
I have heard all the arguments. Last time, Mulgrew claimed every doctor who accepted Medicare would take the Emblem plan, and that didn't work out. He failed to examine 12-126 or its implications. Thus, he lost a few embarrassing lawsuits. We'll see what happens in the next one, which is inevitable.
What has he missed this time? As time goes by, hasn't GHI cost us a
little lot more and been accepted a little less? Do you believe the city will keep paying to avoid the pre-approvals currently excluded? Do you believe it hasn't been misrepresented, as the previous plan was?
While this may be better than the last iteration of Advantage (which Mike Mulgrew said was the bestest thing ever), it's certainly not better than national Medicare. Mulgrew's caucus, Unity, is composed entirely of people who either work for the union or are bucking for a union job. They use this pic to ridicule you, me, and any other UFT members who question their plan.
So again, who is denigrating the UFT?
I've read a lot about union over the past few months. I highly recommend Beaten Down, Worked Up by Steven Greenhouse. It tells inspiring stories of union's successes, failures, and resourcefulness in bettering the lives of working Americans. UFT Unity, though, actively ridicules activists who fight for better working conditions. Make no mistake, it is the actual job of leadership to fight for better working conditions. Instead, they're looking to save money for the city and sticking us with a plan that their own former vice-presidents claim is inadequate. Meanwhile, Mike Mulgrew and Unity members loudly proclaim it's good enough for us.
Given that, who is denigrating the UFT?
Leadership is not doing their job. In fact, they are doing the opposite. They are working round the clock for Mayor Eric Adams, our adversary in negotiations. All of these changes are being done to achieve "savings." But said savings are for the city, not for us. Michael Mulgrew and the other geniuses at MLC made the dumbest deal ever, agreeing to 600 million a year in "savings," forever, in exchange for a now-expired three-year contract that hovered around the inflation rate.
If we point out just how stupid that deal was, are we denigrating the UFT? Or is truth still the best defense?
Now, Mike Mulgrew and the rest of us are staring at a multi-year contract that is around 3% a year. The Social Security cost of living adjustment for 2023 is 8.7%. That means our salary increase will leave us with, effectively, a 5.7% cut. Mike Mulgrew will tell us this is the best they can do, as always, and urge us to support an effective pay cut.
Is pointing out the obvious denigrating the UFT?
I don't think you need any more pointers to see who is denigrating the UFT. Obviously, Unity's plan is to gaslight us so we accept inferior health care and less buying power. We can do better. I understand that leadership has to make difficult decisions, but in terms of health care, Michael Mulgrew has misled and failed us at every juncture.
Michael Mulgrew is not fit to make decisions on our behalf. That's why I signed this petition urging any changes in health care be voted on by us, the rank and file. You should sign it too. Michael Mulgrew insults our intelligence when he claims these changes, which are not good enough for his BFFs, are good enough for us.
By gaslighting us, by selling us straw and pretending it's gold, and by having his paid minions issue us juvenile insults, Michael Mulgrew denigrates our union. Send him a message. Let him know that representing the UFT entails representing all of us, not only his patronage employees, and certainly not Mayor Eric Adams.
Make no mistake, WE are the UFT.
Arthur Goldstein is an ESL teacher at Francis Lewis High School, former chapter leader and a former UFT executive committee member. And plays a dang good fiddle.
Find him on Twitter @TeacherArthurG.