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To the editor:
It was reported in last week’s Chief that Mayor Adams has asked the City Council to overturn decades of precedent by nullifying a law that prohibits charging civil servants for healthcare. The purpose is to force retirees into either a cheaper Part C plan (Medicare Advantage) or have them pay for the federal Medicare and supplement they currently get for free.
You might be surprised that the city’s labor unions support the idea, even though it could mean that active members might also pay in the future once the law is changed. Harry Nespoli, head of the Municipal Labor Council, said the law change is necessary due to rising healthcare costs that are depleting the Healthcare Insurance Stabilization Fund.
What Nespoli failed to mention is that HE depleted the HISF in 2014 when he agreed to raid the fund to pay for raises for active municipal employees going back to 2008 and promised to find that money in future healthcare savings. For five years, then-Mayor Mike Bloomberg refused to negotiate new labor contracts and withheld raises from teachers that other union members received in 2008 and 2009. The total unfunded liability Bloomberg left behind when he left in 2013 was estimated at $8 billion and that money came directly from the HISF over a period of years. The city began calling in that IOU last year, but the pesky law got in the way.
In 2021 then-candidate Eric Adams called the MLC/de Blasio plan to charge retirees a “bait and switch” saying “their healthcare is my healthcare,” being a retiree himself. However, now as mayor, Adams now sees the wisdom in taking away this hard-earned benefit. I guess the old saying is true “where you stand on an issue, depends upon where you sit.”
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