Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Mulgrew in Conversation

 Yesterday, I listened to a wonderful radio show on WBAI called, ‘What’s going on - Labor Tuesday’ with Bob Henley. Mr. Henley has an excellent grasp of labor issues and has a background with ‘The Chief’ ( the Uft should have all teachers subscribed and thus shutter their ‘New York Teacher’ rag). During the show Henley interviewed Michael Mulgrew and they directly (and also indirectly) discussed the recent and distant UFT events centered around healthcare. I listened to it carefully several times, and I came away with several takeaways. I suppose the most important being that Mulgrew still supports Medicare Advantage. I certainly would not be surprised if it popped up again. He wants to move away from it now and move on with healthcare negotiations - as retirees have won this fight in the courts and in the election booth . 

 The other takeaway I got was a question - Does Mulgrew know his role and who he is working for? Branching out from that, I would also ask, ‘why is Mulgrew permitted to make unilateral, EXTREMELY important decisions in a so-called democratic union?’ He seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding of his role. While I understand all roles have layers of responsibilities and goals, his (and Randi’s) have transcended many that could be held as reasonably acceptable. Many of the realms, that Mulgrew has ventured into, appear to be in order to curry favor with those who might help later on. It’s an abject plan. It’s like going up to an intimidating bunch of thugs on the street and giving them $10; thus hoping that it will keep them from robbery and assault. He obviously has some trauma left from his time with Bloomberg.  Upon seeing Bill de Blasio come in with a smile, he went from Silent Mike to Accommodating Mike - and gave freely to deBlasio in matters big and small. Mr. Henley referenced this in a non-confrontational manner (excellent interviewing). Here’s the link for the interview and a breakdown of it. The times are approximate (within a few seconds) and from the countdown clock’s time on the right side. I tried to be brief. The writing in brackets are secondary comments and thoughts. I urge you to listen to the program and make your own conclusions. This interview is important coming so close after Mulgrew’s letter. My statements and opinions here are filtered through my own lens as a retiree, human being and disaffected former ATR. There are underlying issues and inferences in almost all Mulgrew’s statements and in his omissions. My emphasis on them, or lack thereof, are what I found to be important and may be different to yours. Cheers.


Bob Henley 51:30 intro

50:30 Mulgrew - we were aggressive, always negotiating healthcare

49:50 Mulgrew - City has a big surplus ( !!!) and shortage of city workers including teachers ( both statements have huge implications!)

49:15 Mulgrew calls out city. We have to team up with the city to fight health care industry- not the workers (!!!)

49:05 Henley - Retirees get to vote?!

Mulgrew- (Doesn't explain why. Interesting because of his former history of catering to them and of them keeping him in office,)  Mulgrew is  astounded that we are unique! Double talk / changes convo towards strength of retirees 

46:00 interviewer remarks on the destructiveness of Michael Bloomberg and the appearance of deBlasio - Mulgrew agrees on the misery of Bloomy and miraculous advent of deBlasio. BDB wanted to change healthcare and asked Mulgrew to change it and there was no drama because benefits weren’t diminished and costs were saved. Interview asks for explanation. Mulgrew says costs were saved for the city(!) he rationalizes it, in that the money saved was money that would have to have been spent, but he doesn’t come out and say by who. (It’s the city, of course.) He mentions that the city uses zero sum accounting and that he saved the city money and DeBlasio saw that as well(!) OMB disliked and dislikes Mulgrew and his actions as they felt it was their job, not his. His rationalization was if they could’ve done it they should’ve done it, but he had to do it. (Why? this gets into his role; who he’s working for; is he a CPA or have UFT CPAs advising?)

41:57 - health stabilization fund $1 billion dollars? Mulgrew states it’s old and antiquated from the 80s. Several inferences. Hip and Ghi - one could get more expensive than the other. So what he wanted to do was get them to equalize so that the city wouldn’t have to pay more for one than the other. (Why? Isn’t that the city’s job?) He states deBlasio didn’t care as long as the city didn’t have to pay. After po- pooing the fund, he says the fund has to be protected to be kept safe(!).  Drug costs are the problem. 

39:32 - interviewer makes the remark that this has created the optics of two types of human beings - active members and retirees, which creates a problem in any labor movement. He basically states it seems to pit one group against the other in order to get premium free healthcare for one versus the other. 

39:21 Mulgrew doesn’t directly answer that comment, but talks about med advantage and the  UFTs version of Med Advantage- his is a better one than Joe Namath's. He says he can’t prove that he worked on this(!). But the city is the problem - “so now it’s time to move on from beating a dead horse on a road” (of course, I’m thinking the horse is the retiree and the road is the hospital ). 

37:20 Henley : Important presidential election - not seeing anything on healthcare, no discussion on fundamental problem of medicare advantage model which makes profit by denials and  is backed by the UFT (!)

Mulgrew states that he was involved in tailoring these Advantage plans to get the absolute best. More double and triple talk. Mulgrew still supports med advantage(!!! ) (WHY?!)

33:35 - Henley - so what’s the solution Mike?  a no cost healthcare that represents everyone? 

Mulgrew - Yes, working with AFT. Medicare is under attack and he and Randi are protecting it (!).

32:20 Henley : what about the nyc situation? 

Mulgrew- meetings are scheduled; we can do the work with a willing partner / UFT has pushed for hospital transparency (lol)


  1. I’ve never heard a bigger BS-er than MM. It’s a definite talent.

  2. He was like “half the country is on some sort of Medicare Advantage plan,” [but we can’t get our fucking retirees to go on it.”]

  3. This guy is lobbing softballs at Mulgrew and barely questioning his responses

  4. Mulgrew has killed his credibility with everyone. He’s a dead man walking, same as Joe Biden. It’s ironic because he pulls all the same shit as Trump, but gets Biden results.


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