President’s Letter to Members

I hope everyone had a wonderful and mild winter!

Executive Director Alice Wong and I testified at the NYC Council Civil Service and Labor Committee Hearing held on January 9, 2023. The hearing was titled “Health Insurance Coverage for City Employees, City Retirees, and Their Dependents” and its primary purpose was to determine if City Council should vote on Intro 0874-2023 to amend Section 12-126 of the Administrative Code of New York City to permit the transfer of retirees from Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plan. Upon losing the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees’ lawsuit and appeal preventing the transfer of 250,000 City retirees and their dependents from Medicare to a Medicare Advantage Plus Program; the Administration and Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) proposed that the City Council amend the Administrative Code to accommodate the health insurance transfer. With skyrocketing cost of health insurance benefits, a potential savings of $600 million per year in retiree supplemental health insurance premiums was the incentive promoting the proposed health insurance transfer.

Our testimony presented MEA’s objection to the proposed amendment of Administrative Code, Section 12-126 enabling the City to impose Medicare Advantage as the only premium-free retiree health insurance plan. A consequence of approving Intro 0874, the current Medicare / Senior Care plan would cost retirees and their dependents at least $191 a month per person or possibly be eliminated. The amendment would allow the City and MLC to negotiate premium rates for everyone and place retirees and their dependents (insurees) into different economic classes based on financial ability to pay. Intro 0874, if approved, would permit coverage and benefits reductions, and eliminate protections and equal treatment that insurees have at this time. In addition, we stated that the quality of health care insurance and the performance of the insurer are of the utmost importance. Based on government investigations, Medicare Advantage is inferior to Medicare because of questionable business practices in claim submissions, and denials and delays in pre-approval of medical procedures.

The MEA recommended that a working committee representing all concerned parties, including retirees, be formed to develop appropriate and sustainable longterm solutions to address the high cost of health insurance. The exorbitant costs burden should not be resolved by diminishing codified insurance coverage, benefits and protections that City workers, City retirees and their dependents have had for more than 50 years. MEA requested that the City Council not vote in favor of Intro 0874. As a result of the enormous presence of City retirees objecting to Intro 0874 and City Council’s unwillingness to support the amendment, Intro 0874 never came to a City Council vote.

On February 17, 2023 a tentative Economic Agreement (Contract) was reached between the Administration and DC 37. Of the approximately 90,000 DC 37 members, 45,936 members cast ballots during the Contract ratification period. On April 1, 2023, DC 37 announced that the Contract was ratified with over 97% of the ballots cast being in favor of ratification. The Contract includes 16.2% in pay raises retroactive from May 26, 2021 through November 6, 2026. A special attraction of the Contract is the potential for flexible work schedules with options to work from home. As in the past, managerial
pay raises will most likely follow a pattern similar to the DC 37 Contract after other union contracts are
agreed upon. As of January 1, 2023, the administrator for the Management Fund Benefits Dental Program was changed from Healthplex to Administrative Services Only, Inc. (ASO, Inc.). Additionally, as of January 12, 2023, retiree co-payments were suspended by a temporary court injunction questioning the validity of co-payments imposed on City retirees by the City’s supplemental insurance companies. Litigation regarding copayments is scheduled for later this year.

The schedule for chapter elections has been updated by Executive Director Alice Wong. We encourage
members to participate in chapter elections and volunteer as candidates to fill chapter officer positions. It is extremely important for all agency chapters to be represented on the Executive Board. As chapter director, you are an ambassador for your agency and MEA — sharing managerial concerns and issues, and having a vote on the Executive Board. We also encourage members to invite non-MEA managers to the chapter meetings in an effort to recruit new members for your chapter as well as to increase MEA’s membership. Please remember, recruitment leading to membership growth is the MEA’s life blood — “There is strength in numbers”.

Because of limited ticket sales and COVID-19, the 2022 Annual MEA CDP Joel Fishelson Scholarship
Holiday Event, scheduled for December 6th at the Penn Club, was canceled. The Events and Fundraising Committee is planning an outdoor event for late spring or early summer. It is with regret that I must inform you that Adrienne Leaf has resigned as Chapter Director of the MEA’s Retirees Chapter in January because of personal reasons. Ms. Leaf’s invaluable service as Retirees Chapter leader is sincerely appreciated and will be sorely missed. The MEA Executive Board acknowledges and appreciates the hard work of our New York City Managerial Employees Association members and will continue representing NYC managers to the best of our abilities. We wish everyone a Safe, Healthy, Peaceful, and Happy Winter that is full of achievable hopes and dreams.

Read the Winter Newsletter, below.