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Put retirees first


To the editor:

Those who attended or watched the Jan. 9 City Council via live stream testimony on health care saw how union bureaucracies put themselves first. The city presented the situation that they need to secure $600 million in retiree healthcare cost savings and soon seek to implement at least $1 billion in savings from active workers. 

Everyone agrees that savings can be made. NYC funds the union welfare funds with over $ 1.2 billion yearly while at the same time the January 2022 city comptroller's report identified wasteful administrative costs associated with the funds. The Municipal Labor Committee chooses to saddle retirees with the cost savings instead of combining welfare funds. Protecting administrative union jobs at the expense of its members speaks volumes of who comes first in the pecking order.

NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees has done more for union workers in the last two years than our well-compensated union presidents. This group secured multiple favorable court rulings while the MLC sat back. Recently a judge blocked the city from charging retirees $15 copays for doctors’ visits. The MLC negotiated the enactment of copays as a "giveback" until the retiree group filed a class action suit and won. Why did the MLC allow this to happen? 

At the hearing, Henry Garrido, DC 37’s executive director, mentioned that sometimes we must take actions that aren't popular. Consolidating welfare funds isn't popular to the union bureaucracy but it’s a necessity to save costs for retirees and the city. Gloria Middleton, CWA Local 1180’s president, stated the MLC has been working "non-stop" with the city since 2014 to seek cost savings. Why hasn't the MLC entertained "self insuring" our health care and thus save an estimated $1.2 billion in yearly risk charges enjoyed by insurers.

There are alternative means to make health savings and establishing a blue-ribbon committee involving retiree stakeholders is long overdue. Putting retirees first before union bureaucrats is a necessity. Transparency must begin to happen. It can be a win-win for all.

Joseph Campbell


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