Campaign Statement

Campaign Statement from Bennett Fischer, RA Candidate for RTC Chapter Leader

For nearly three years Retiree Advocate/UFT, and our allies from other NYC municipal unions, 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 cannot allow the Medicare Advantage industry to make our healthcare decisions for us, with their computer algorithms and their shareholders’ profits in mind.  Our healthcare decisions must remain between us and our doctors.

But 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.

I am running for chapter leader of the Retired Teachers Chapter, but I'm not running alone. Retiree Advocate's slate of three-hundred delegates have thousands of collective years of UFT experience. Many are former chapter leaders, executive board members, and even UFT vice presidents. And, like most of us here today, we all spent our careers in NYC classrooms rather than in the UFT offices that you see behind me.

I intend to listen. I intend to allow real debate. I intend to involve members in making decisions. I'll put member interests first. There will be no more rubber stamp. No one will force Medicare Advantage down our throats. We will be a real union chapter.

Our current chapter leader, Tom Murphy, is fond of calling us "Michaels's Army." It always galls me when I hear that because we're not Michael's army; we're not any individual man's army. We're the UFT’s army. We fight for union values and union ideals, not for a man. Under Retiree Advocate leadership, our delegation will vote their conscience. The RTC will work with our union president, but not for our union president. We will be partners, not servants.

We will continue: To provide information to members about retirement and important union issues; to engage retirees in political activity; to provide Welfare Fund and SHIP benefits, to have a Member Assistance Program, and to run our beloved Si Beagle learning courses. But we will do so while protecting our health -- including, protecting our Medicare.

We can have an independent, healthcare-protecting RTC - if we vote for Retiree Advocate/UFT in the spring chapter elections.



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  • Ira Liebowitz
    Most of what I see here actually on both argument ides-is sloganeering. Essentially Mulgrew states -has stated in numerous, very long-winded, rambling speeches- that the his plan to switch to Medicare advantage under Aetna (or some other medi-finance company) will schrewdly get NYC control of 20% more funds from the Medicare Advantage federal budget. Otherwise teachers and other NYC employees will be forced to pay increased fees or cuts in medical benefits in the near future. I have never seen a serious, written analysis for members documenting this argument from the current UFT leadership. Nor have I seen a serious reply to this claim from you. Yet this seems to be the core of the issue. Your caucus needs to answer this, write a serious analysis disproving Mulgrew’s claims. I.E., is it financially possible to maintain current no-fee medical benefits for UFT and other municipal union members. ? If so, how? And no slogans, please, about making rich, evil people pay for teachers’ medical care.. Given the financial crisis Aetna and it’s owner CVS are currently undergoing, it seems that whatever deal was thought to have been worked out between NYC Muni unions and Aetna and/or some other large insurers, has already broken down. Long before the holding action in the courts has worn down. I need to see (as do all members) both a serious, written analysis backing both the proponents of a switch to Medicare Advantage for NYC union members, and a serious examination from your side of why and how you believe NYC can actually afford to finance and maintain unions members’ current benefits in todays extremely unstable financial economy.
    The mere sloganeering here and in your other election documents seems insufficient to allow UFT members to make a serious decision about muni-union healthcare costs and benefits.
    Yours truly,
    One Retired UFT member’s thoughts.
  • Bennett Fischer