Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers in...

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers in New York City, addresses a news conference at UFT headquarters in New York on March 15. Credit: AP/Richard Drew

Daily Point

What’s next for public-employee health coverage?

United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew has let it be known that his New York City union no longer supports a Medicare Advantage plan for retirees that had been presented as saving the city hundreds of millions of dollars under terms of a 2014 agreement on wage hikes for active members.

Mulgrew thus publicly threw in the towel on the matter — after his allies lost control of the retirees’ chapter in an internal union election last week. The vote was a lopsided 63% to 37%, 17,226 votes to 10,114, for his detractors’ election slate. The union leader announced he was also withdrawing from “the current healthcare negotiations” for in-service and pre-Medicare retirees.

That phrasing suggests the city is seeking — in closed-door talks toward the next municipal labor contract — some type of health care concessions from current employees. Many city workers and retirees are Long Island residents who have watched as the insurance dispute unfolded.

In a letter to Municipal Labor Committee chairman Harry Nespoli, leader of the sanitation workers’ union, Mulgrew put the onus on City Hall. He stated: “For nine years, the Municipal Labor Committee has worked to maintain high-quality, premium-free health care coverage for city workers while at the same time working with the city to achieve billions of dollars in savings despite the increasingly difficult national landscape. It has become apparent that this administration is unwilling to continue this work in good faith.”

But the newly elected leader of the UFT retirees’ chapter, Bennett Fischer, pushed back in a statement of his own: “President Mulgrew should have acknowledged that he is changing his position because elections have consequences … Until now, Michael Mulgrew and Mayor [Eric] Adams have been on the same page.”

— Dan Janison dan.janison@newsday.com

Pencil Point

Call it off


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Quick Points

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— Michael Dobie michael.dobie@newsday.com

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