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When allegedly progressive politicians and union leaders are the ones attacking, or refusing to blunt the attacks, on retirees' health benefits, we know we have problems.
Let's get one thing clear: This is an attack on workers. Retirees worked and paid union dues to get the full medical coverage that was promised. This goes for current municipal employees too: If the city’s Medicare Advantage scam goes through, they also will be stuck with the bogus plan when they retire.
If city workers were more enlightened, they would be organizing behind opposition candidates to remove from office every single union leader who supports this scam. Those "leaders" are to working people what Benedict Arnold, Robert E, Lee and Donald Trump were and are to
the United States.
Next are the so-called progressives that dominate the City Council. If they were what they claimed to be, the bill proposed by Councilman Charles Barron to preserve retirees' current health care would already have passed with a veto-proof margin.
One phony progressive, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, claims she doesn't want to intervene with collective bargaining. Why should retirees, who no longer have a vote in union elections, be subject to bargaining by leaders they have no say in choosing?
Also, this whole deal shows what is wrong with much of union leadership. By agreeing to let the city impose inferior medical coverage on retirees, they are agreeing to a giveback. It's not bad enough when workers lose ground due to wages not keeping up with inflation. It's not bad enough that many workers are paid inadequate and sometimes poverty wages to begin with. But union leadership often agrees to givebacks.
This is to save the city $600 million a year that supposedly can't be found in a budget of over $100 billion. Also, if the city is so short of money, especially with the migrant crisis, then how come Mayor Eric Adams thinks the city can afford the legal fees to appeal a judge's ruling striking down the Medicare Advantage scam?
Now District Council 37 has a long history of both corruption scandals and under-serving their many underpaid workers. Now their leader, Harry Garrido, is threatening council members who support Barron's bill with holding back union endorsements and campaign funds.
Isn't the definition of progressive supposed to include integrity and courage? If these Council members truly fit this definition, they would call out Garrido's threats for what they are — extortion. They would respond not only by passing Barron's bill, but by refusing support from all union leaders who are supporting the Medicare Advantage scam.
Union leaders claim Barron's bill is "fundamentally flawed" because it does not "provide a funding source for an indefinite obligation of unknown scope and cost." This argument would be a Republican Congress' dream come true. Imagine them dismantling Social Security, Medicare and the rest of the social safety net by claiming they can't guarantee adequate funding for it?
Retirees' health benefits are being threatened by those who claim to defend them — union leaders and Democrats. With them around, who needs Republicans?
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