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NYC Municipal Unions Team Up with City in Attack on Retirees

Editor’s Note: Image credited to Retiree Advocates-UFT from a rally against the privatization efforts on March 9, 2023.

In backroom deals with the City of New York, the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC)—an amalgamation of unions representing municipal workers in New York City—are pushing to force all NYC municipal retirees into privatized Medicare Advantage plans run by Aetna insurance company.

Medicare Advantage plans are little more than a Ponzi scheme designed to look like health insurance. These health “plans” are notorious for fraud and include lengthy pre-authorization periods designed to deny claims and funnel Medicare funds to private profit.

The MLC voted March 9 in favor of the plan, which would completely replace traditional Medicare for municipal retirees. The United Federation of Teachers (UFT) and American Federations of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) District Council 37 (DC37) led the charge in the privatization scheme. The new plan is intended to “save” the city $600 million annually but will actually be syphoned over to cover budget gaps in the NYC Health Insurance Stabilization Fund. This fund has been raided several times by the city since 2000—with MLC approval—to balance the city budget. By pushing this plan, Business Unionist leadership is playing the bosses’ divide and conquer strategy for them, similar to how state level public unions have done in their “Fix Tier Six” campaigns over pension reform.

New York City Municipal retirees led by the groups NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees and Retiree Advocates-UFT are fighting against this plan. They are also joined by rank-and-file caucuses such as Educators of NYC and the MORE Caucus of the UFT. To add insult to injury the city has tried to implement the new plans while an appeal is still going through the courts. On July 7 a judge blocked them from proceeding until it’s settled in court. All rank-and-file workers must join the fight with their retired comrades to protect retiree healthcare.

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