Who We Are

Retiree Advocate/UFT is a caucus of retired educators within the Retired Teachers Chapter (RTC) of the United Federation of Teachers (UFT). We are running in the spring 2024 UFT chapter elections to save the traditional Medicare benefits that all NYC municipal retirees were promised: Publicly administered, traditional Medicare-plus-supplemental (Medigap) insurance. Benefits that are premium-free, cost-free, network-free, and accepted in every corner of the country. Those are the benefits that we earned over the course of our public service careers in New York City. Those are the benefits we cannot afford to give away.

The Mayor's Office, the private insurance industry, and the current UFT leadership - including the Retired Teachers Chapter leadership - are threatening our Medicare. This needs to change. Our leadership needs to change.

For three years Retiree Advocate/UFT, and our allies from other NYC municipal unions, including the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees and the Cross-union Retirees Organizing Committee (CROC) have been fighting to preserve our traditional Medicare benefits. Those benefits have been put up for sale to private insurance corporations who would profit at the expense of our health, by limiting our care and denying us services.

We need new leadership in the RTC; leadership that fights for the health and wellbeing of UFT retirees; leadership that stands for union principles and stands up to union presidents; leadership that includes retirees in decision-making and supports the most vulnerable among us. We need a Retired Teachers Chapter that behaves like a real union chapter - not as a rubber stamp for bad Unity caucus policies. Retiree Advocate/UFT is here for retired members, not for UFT presidents or NYC mayors. 

The fight against forcing us into Aetna's Medicare Advantage Plan is ongoing, in the courts, in our union chapters, and in the NYC municipal retiree community. We know what a disaster a forced switch to Medicare Advantage would be for most of us. The NY State Supreme Court also knows how bad that would be. That's why it ruled that "irreparable harm would result" from the implementation of Aetna's plan. The UFT Retired Teachers Chapter should not acquiesce to such a plan.

This May we will have a chance to put our chapter back on course. We'll be able to vote for new RTC leadership that listens to its members, understands our interests, and fights to preserve our benefits - without diminishment.


This coming May, Vote  for Retiree Advocate/UFT 


The Retiree Advocate/UFT team of officer-delegates:

  • Bennett Fischer: For RTC Chapter Leader ● 29 years of service as teacher and UFT chapter leader at PS231K ● RTC Healthcare Committee ● UFT Department of Contract Empowerment 2019 - 2023.
  • Gloria Brandman: 45-year UFT member UFT, NYSUT, and AFT member organizer ● 8-year UFT chapter leader and delegate ● leader of Retiree Advocate's campaign against Medicare Advantage.
  • Gregory Di Stefano: 55-year UFT member 3 terms, UFT Executive Board ● UFT campaign activist.
  • Ellen Fox: 4 terms, UFT Executive Board veteran of many UFT political campaigns
  • Arthur Goldstein: 39 years teaching 12-year Chapter Leader, Francis Lewis HS ● champion of class size reduction and resources for ELL students ● 2 terms, UFT Executive Board ● frequent editorial writer in New York press outlets ● authored NYC Educator blog ● now writes Union Matters on Substack.
  • Bobby Greenberg: UFT member since 1966 National AFT labor campaign activist fifty years. ● UFT chapter leader, JHS22M delegate, Bronx Regional HS RTC Healthcare and RTC Election committees.
  • Jonathan Halabi: Math teacher, 20-year UFT chapter leader, HS of American Studies at Lehman College 11 years UFT Executive Board ● author of education blog, JD2718.
  • Michele Rayvid: District 15 ELL educator CUNY adjunct ● RTC Healthcare Committee ● Cross-union Retirees Organizing Committee
  • Michael Shulman: co-chair of the New Action Caucus of the UFT UFT Chapter Leader and delegate for 20 years at Bushwick HS and Fort Hamilton HS ● multiple term UFT Executive Board member ● UFT Vice-President of Academic High Schools, 1985-1988
  • Sheila Zukowsky: chapter leader, Harbor Heights Middle School UFT delegate at PS61M RTC Healthcare Committee.


Save our cost-free NYC healthcare subsidies. It's not a privilege - you earned it.