Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Thursday, April 25, 2013

UFT: Not A Union - A Benefits Collective For Retired Teachers

Pissed Off Teacher in comments:

Many UFT retirees have no idea what is going on. I mentioned MORE at a meeting and told them not to vote for UNITY as Mulgrew was selling out rank and file. Some asked who Mulgrew was.  Retirees, including me, have no business voting.

Love it - someone at the retiree meeting, someone who got to vote in the election, asked who Mulgrew was.

Don't worry, I'm sure they told him/her, just put an X on the Unity box on the ballot and all will be well.  Are you enjoying the free buffet?

Another commenter wrote this:

If the UFT represents the needs of retired employees, then isn't the UFT a benefits cooperative?

It is if that's all the UFT does, and given how they have sold active members down the river on APPR, on Danielson, on ATR's and closures, on Teacher Data Reports and the whole education reform juggernaut, I think you can certainly argue that about all they are these days is a benefits collective for retired teachers.


  1. As a retiree and a supporter of Julie, I can understand your frustration. But also understand that for many retirees, once they are out of the classroom, they are OUT. Do not put down our benefits--EVER!! One day soon you will be receiving them. And, God Willing they won't be taken away as many states and municipalities are already doing. And we must keep our union strong on this issue. I do agree the only thing we should vote on is anything that pertains to our retirement.

    1. I'm not putting down your benefits. Not at all. PLEASE understand this. I WANT you to have them, I would like to have them around if I get to retire too, and I would like them for my younger colleagues as well.

      What I am putting down is a union that gives so much voting power to its retirees in an election that really affects active members so much more than retirees.

      It is one of the ways they have rigged these elections to ensure they remain in power in perpetuity.

      As one commenter on another Perdido Street School post wrote:

      "Here is what I do not understand: Are not the pensions and benefits of CURRENT retired teachers protected by NY State law? In other words, what "negotiations" does the UFT handle for retired teachers? My understanding is that once a NYC teacher retires, whatever benefits they had the day of the retirement starts is protected forever. If benefits/pensions are protected for currently retired teachers, then they should have no vote in any UFT election. I talked to a cop buddy of mine about this and he laughed his ass off about the fact that retired teachers can vote in union elections."


    2. Last summer another city asked pensioners to take a deep cut or lose all benefits. That just proves to me nothing is protected. And didn't Christie also threaten retired workers? Don't take anything for granted. The economy has been used as an excuse to downsize many companies that were doing well, and many municipalities too.

      We need to make sure that current and future benefits are protected. And the union needs to be 10 steps ahead on this issue. We are already seeing changes proposed to SS and Medicare that can effect me in a few years, and I am worried. I want to believe the UFT would fight this, but given their record on reforms, I am very worried.

    3. Was the city you mentioned in NY State? Chris Christie is in NJ. NY State retired teacher benefits are protected under law. Currently retired teachers have nothing to fear. (Even in this uncertain economy) New teachers across the US of course are being pushed into 401 programs but nothing will effect NYC teachers who are already retired. This fact bothers many rank and file teachers "in the know".

    4. It's true, Christie froze pension COLA's forever in NJ, with the help of "Democrat" Sweeney. Of course benefit cuts are always on the table for these guys if they can get away with it.

      That said, the pattern we have seen in the erosion in benefits in NY State has been done through the different tiers, not through cuts to already retired people's pensions or benefits.

      That there has been a Tier 5, Tier 6 and a rumored Tier 7 in less than 10 years is the best emblem I can give you for how benefits get cut in NY State - and all of those have happened to current (or future) employees, not retired ones.

  2. Can you PLEASE explain to me what exactly can NY State do to your benefits and pension? My understanding is that the pensions of currently retired NYC teachers are protected under NY State law. If NY changes their pension laws, it would only effect teachers that have not retired yet. I am not mistaken? If not, then please let me know otherwise.

    1. I think you're right, as I wrote to the other anon above. Changes in NY happen through new tiers, not to changes to existing pensioner's benefits. Of course we must be vigilant to make sure this doesn't happen here in NY State the way it did in Jersey, but we must also be vigilant against all the erosion of benefits for new and future hirees as well.



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