ATRs, the unrepresented -- no elected representatives in the UFT

"The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected.
"To take away this right is to reduce a man to slavery, for slavery consists in being subject to the will of another."
Thomas Paine, First Principles of Government

Friday, December 1, 2023

Still rotating

Some are rotating still, albeit on a yearly basis. Are you one of these folks? How do you get excessed?

Sunday, May 14, 2023

NYC Retirees’ Struggle to Save Traditional Medicare is a National Fight

From Work-Bites, March 22, 2023:

Retirees that have tried Medicare Advantage are not happy with it, probably owing to the denials of service / coverage.
Studies show disenrollments from Medicare Advantage plans are, indeed, on the rise — up from 10 percent in 2017 to 17 percent in 2021. The Kaiser Family Foundation [KFF] also finds that over two million prior authorization requests were denied that same year — with only 11 percent appealed.

Read the entire post here on the betrayal of the New York City municipal retirees by their unions and elected officials of both parties. The article discusses how this attack on Medicare access is a national fight. The article focuses on struggles in New York, Vermont and Washington state. Many of the activists in the New York City area that you've heard of and experts that you may not have heard of.

NYC Retirees’ Struggle to Save Traditional Medicare is a National Fight

Among the organizations and their activists cited: Cross-Union Retirees Organizing Committee [CROC], New York City Organization of Public Service Retirees [NYCOPSR]; and then, several in the Seattle, Puget Sound, Washington area.

Another important set of quotes and information on how this disaster of federally sanctioned denial of medical care --all for corporate profit-- worsened:

At 90, Dr. Leonard Rodberg, professor emeritus of Urban Studies at Queens College in New York City is one of the fiercest opponents of Democratic Mayor Eric Adams’ relentless drive to Medicare Advantage. Nevertheless, the veteran academic says he’s willing to accept labor leaders supportive of the privatization scheme are “principled, honorable people” who simply believe “Medicare Advantage is good because Aetna tells them this is good as SeniorCare [Medicare].”

“It’s just a lie — and they bought it,” Dr. Rodberg says.

Johnson maintains bigwigs from both the Republican and Democratic parties have been pushing healthcare for a long time, and that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has become a “revolving door for the insurance industry.”

He’s critical of Dr. Elizabeth Fowler — deputy administrator and director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation and former executive vice-president of programs at the Commonwealth Fund and vice-president for Global Health Policy at Johnson & Johnson — for her role in crafting the Senate version of the Affordable Care Act [ACA] while acting as Chief Health Counsel to Senate Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus [D-MT].

“She is largely responsible for the fact that we don’t have the ability to negotiate over prescription drugs; why there was not a public option within the ACA; and she has been in the insurance industry,” Johnson says.

A “small, little paragraph” within the “humungous” ACA bill, Johnson points out, allows for “different forms of providing Medicare without Congressional approval.”

“That’s how ACO REACH or prior to that, Direct Contact under the Trump administration, came about,” Johnson says. “It was, ‘We’re gonna open up Medicare to Wall Street and Congress can’t take it away from us.’”

Friday, April 7, 2023

URGENT CALL TO ACTION! Rally For NYC Employees' Healthcare & Attend City Council Meeting Tuesday, 4/11 at 12 PM


Rally For Our Healthcare & Attend City Council Meeting, Tuesday, April 11th at 12 PM

*Retirees + Active City Workers*

Educators, let’s unite with retirees and city workers.

Learn more here about this City Hall rally here.


Please be sure to sign and circulate this petition to preserve our healthcare.

"Dear friend,

Our allies, NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees have put out this urgent call to action for a rally at City Hall this coming Tuesday, April 11, at 12 PM, to all city retirees and all active city workers:


"This is a call to rally for us to be heard! Time is of the essence!

Afterwards, we will be attending the City Council meeting & urging them to introduce our proposed bill!!

Bring your loved ones. This affects them too! This rally is for retirees and retirees in training (in-service/active workers).

This is your healthcare that the Municipal Labor Committee - dominated by the UFT and DC37, agreed to diminish. eliminating all our health plans and forcing us into Medicare Advantage. This is anti-labor and Un-American.

Medicare is a public health benefit! Be there with us!"


In light of the unilateral decisions to force retired civil servants and essential workers who dedicated their lives in service to New York City into a diminished healthcare network and the MLC's secret, undisclosed proposed changes to active worker healthcare, its time we galvanize together to tell the City, and those who represent us, that we stand UNITED FOR OUR PREMIUM-FREE, QUALITY HEALTHCARE.

Make plans to attend this coming Tuesday. We need everyone there."

Also, please sign this letter to the New York City Council.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

EMERGENCY MOBILIZATION: TODAY, 3/9, 11:30: 1 Bowling Green, NYC NO Medicare Dis-Advantage for New York City Municipal Retirees


NO Medicare Dis-Advantage for New York City Municipal Retirees

New York City Municipal retirees have been fighting for almost three years to prevent the City from switching our excellent traditional public Medicare with a supplement to an inferior, privatized Medicare Advantage Plan. After a successful lawsuit challenge, the City tried doing an "end run" by lobbying the City Council to change a law that has protected our healthcare for decades-- Administrative Code 12-126. This change would not only have affected retirees but could have also diminished current city workers' health benefits.

Retirees fought back and the City Council did not make this change.

Now the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) and the Mayor are on the verge of forcing us into a life threatening for-profit Aetna/CVS Medicare Advantage plan with the vote by the MLC taking place on March 9th.

If this " nuclear option" is approved, retirees will no longer have the choices they have always had. They will be forced into the new Aetna Medicare Advantage plan and if they opt out they will lose all other NYC health benefits they and their dependents have always received: no Medigap coverage, no drug plan and no health coverage for family dependents.

When: Thursday, March 9th, 2023 at 11:30am

Where: Gather at 11:30am by the steps of the Smithsonian Museum across from Battery Park (next to the Bowling Green 4 and 5 subway stop)

What: After brief remarks, we will march past the offices of the UFT, PSC, OLR and DC37 and end up in front of City Hall. There will be short statements at each location from various union members. Arrive at City Hall by 1pm

A Facebook page for retirees to follow:

An article on this fight, in 'Labor Notes' magazine, March 8, 2023: 'New York City Retirees Fight Their Own Unions to Stop Catastrophic Health Care Cuts'

Sunday, April 3, 2022

DOE teachers: considering retirement?: It's not just the 20 years you want to pass; age an important consideration

Considering retirement? The dearly departed Chaz, generous, resourceful, humorous, long may his memory live and his lessons for us.

--Especially also his financial tips.
Let us recall his tips. Some things to consider: be sure to read again his posts on pensions, the tiers and retirement.

Everyone says be sure to pass your 20 years in the NYC DOE, to improve your pension.

BUT, be sure to consider also age. The older you get, the better your payout, according to these charts on Tier IV and Tier VI.

From back in 2014: "A Simple Chart To Determine Your Tier 4 Pension."
Lots of factors to consider, as the above article indicates.
For example:
"Age Correction Factor: No educator can receive a regular pension before the age of 55. Between 55 and 61 years of age, the pension is reduced by the age correction factor. However, if the educator is part of the 25/55 program or has completed 30 years of service, no age correction factor is used."

Source for these charts: Chaz School's Daze post, "Saturday, January 20, 2018 Two Simple Charts That Compare Tier IV and Tier VI Pension Plans."

Tier VI is an outrage. However, few ATRs are Tier VI.

And a few months, later, a Chaze post on the Tier VI pension: "The Tier VI Teacher Retirement Game Is A Sucker's Game."

Admirably, the New Action caucus started a petition (around 2019, assuming from when the following blogpost was) for helping the Tier VI employees. From late November 2019: "Comparing Tier VI To Tier IV Pension"

Here's the link to New Action's petition for Tier VI workers: "Pension Improvements for NYC Educators"

From March 5, 2019, Chaz School Daze: "Why Defined Pensions Are Great For Teachers."

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Another appreciation of the widely appreciated Eric Chasanoff

The passing of Eric Chasanoff (Chaz School Days) was a sobering event for myself and many NYC teachers. We relied on him for reporting accurate, timely, information about NYC education policy, incompetent and corrupt supervisors, and the Absent Teacher Reserve. He was one of a few bloggers that gave us a voice, when our union told us we "were lucky to have jobs". I remember meeting him the first time more than ten years ago, while being an ATR on regular rotations. Having been sent to a now defunct Queens HS, I was told to sit in the boiler room until I was called to cover a class. For a few days, I sat in glorious solitude beside the depression era boiler, until one morning I found an interloper had intruded my sanctuary....he event had the chutzpah to take my seat on the decrepit couch! He introduced himself only as Eric, an ATR earth science teacher. We began talking about our pariah status; he explained how "Fair Student Funding" was a major reason for the debacle, and how Bloomberg's "Leadership Academy" trained sapling pedagogues with no "institutional memory" to become cogs in the new business model. Our stories unfolded in similar fashion, as we were both science teachers from large community high schools in Queens. I asked him if he read "Chaz School Days", as I found it informative; he laughed and said ""Read it? I'm Chaz!...I write the damn thing. Thanks for reading my blog!" That was Eric, never grandstanding or grabbing headlines. In fact, I doubt most Principals even knew he was rotating through their school. Rest in peace Eric, you have guided many of us... WJP

Monday, May 11, 2020

Rest in peace, Eric Chasanoff

Baruch Dayan Emes ("G-d is the True Judge"). I am overwhelmed with grief at this terrible news. Eric was a caring and knowledgeable educator, whose talents were squandered by the irresponsible cretins at the DOE. Moreover, he was our Navigator, providing a steady hand and a guiding pathway through the dark waters of the criminal enterprise known as the DOE and its henchmen at the UFT. He comforted those newly accused of deeds they never did, statements they never made, and helped them formulate a survival plan. He had access to information from the DOE and UFT that others did not, and generously shared it with others in a clear and concise manner. Even after he retired, he continued to provide invaluable guidance about retirement and pensions. Eric's blog here was always my first stop in the morning, coffee in hand, learning the latest about how far the school system had fallen under the blundering aegis of first Bloomberg and then De Blasio and just shaking my head in disbelief and disgust. Eric, you took upon yourself a tremendous responsibility in laying bare the lies of the DOE and UFT and you carried it off brilliantly. Yours will be a hard act indeed to follow. I hope that your family will derive comfort on their tremendous loss and that you rest in peace eternal. Rest in peace, Eric Chasanoff, 1951-2020, teachers' advocate.