NY City Retirees Fighting To Have Healthcare Benefits Restored As City Changes To Inferior Health Plan – Interview With Marianne Pizzitola Of NYC Org For Public Service Retirees

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Marianne Pizzitola is fighting for the long-promised health insurance benefits for NYC municipal workers. Many people take jobs with the City of New York based on the promise that they and their loved ones will have healthcare during their retirement.

View the full interview on Youtube:

 

The City made an agreement through the Municipal Labor Council, with the cooperation of the unions, to change all workers’ health insurance plans to a privatized Medicare “Advantage” plan. The financial burden this new health plan would cause is massive.

The new plan makes it difficult, and often impossible, for City workers to get the healthcare that their doctor has recommended, due to the new plan having a different fee structure and the necessity for prior authorizations for nearly everything – including medications.


Keep reading for more details about this change, and the fight to keep the healthcare plan that City workers were promised when they took their jobs, especially in 2014, when they were asked to forgo raises because they would have excellent benefits.

To start with, there are fewer doctors in the network, so workers will often have to change doctors or see their doctor out of network – at a higher cost.

Most of the prior authorizations with this new plan are rejected.

Those workers who want to opt-out of their being placed into the plan automatically have to pay an additional $200 per month per person, just to keep the insurance plan they have now.

A large number of these former City workers took those municipal jobs, which usually paid less than their private-sector counterparts, for the health benefits and retirement pension that was promised to them when they got those jobs.

Now, years later, the City is changing the deal.

Marianne Pizzitola helped found a group that is essentially a union for retirees, called the NYC Organization of Public Service retirees. The group has started several lawsuits, and they have won the first of them, and the City’s appeal.

All retired and current City workers are welcome to join this group, in order to fight for their healthcare, benefits, and the healthcare of future City workers.

Update 12/28/22: To sign the petition to ask the City Council not to amend Administrative Code Section 12-126, visit change.org here 

You can also find a letter template at the same link to send to the City Council speaker and Mayor Adams.  Writing to your City Council member or to the Mayor is important, in addition to signing the petition.

For the update on this topic, please visit this article


An opinion about this topic can be found at this article.

Banner Image: Marianne Pizzitola cover. Image Credit – Staten Islander News Organization



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This byline indicates that this article was penned by a member/members of the Staten Islander News Organization office team. Our staff writers are the backbone of our newspaper, performing all sorts of important tasks like conducting interviews, investigating leads, besides writing the news stories you see.

88 Comments

  • Magnificent Zero Magnificent Zero says:

    This entire thing seems crazy. TBH, I’m glad I didn’t get a union job.

    • Kanye Stan Kanye Stan says:

      It’s a good living for some people.

      Really depend on what you retire at.

      If you tap out at a low salary its not worth it.

      So you stay on but the job has to be worth the time like police.

      • Magnificent Zero Magnificent Zero says:

        True. The police have it made. My uncle is a cop. I know he’s going to retire at a way higher rate of pay than a city office worker. It is a more demanding and dangerous job. The unions should have some liability for making false promises. It just invalidates the whole thing.

        • Avatar Katarina R. says:

          Untrue. You people worship money. My family was a EMT and they didn’t make a lot. So was it worth it? They saved lives. That itself was enough. Some people do not live for the love of money and know what its all about.

          As far as “lowly” paper pushers for the city, the city would stop without them. Everyone is important. That isn’t communism. It is the truth.

          I do agree with you that the unions should have liability. They make promises they know they won’t keep. But ultimately union members need to speak up. En masse.

          • Avatar Trolls and toads BEWARE! says:

            I am saying communism is the answer.

            • The Mad Reefer The Mad Reefer says:

              Ah…but have you actually ever been to a communist country?

              • Avatar Trolls and toads says:

                Oh, please. How is that relevant?

                I haven’t been to Rome, but I know what the Coliseum is. I don’t need to have traveled to a communist country to know what it’s like.

                • Tommy R. Tommy R. says:

                  You proved the pot guy’s point nicely.

                  • Avatar Boxcar Jeremy says:

                    I disagree. You don’t need to have gone somewhere to know someplace. We do have books. I’ve been where I’ve been. I’ve never been to Europe. I do know what Europe is.

                    I don’t think communism works. Be honest and look at history. If you want to put on rose tint glasses, go for it. But the stats and facts prove my point.

                    In the end, any place where they regulate your life is hell. I think the world has a future but it may be communism.

                    • Avatar Explain Slowly says:

                      The future is the cities underwater. Sorry to let you know.
                      It may be in a million years, though. Or far fewer.

                      Who really knows.

                      No one.

        • Avatar Daphne "Rhonda" H. says:

          “The police have it made. ”

          HUH? It’s a dangerous job. Your uncle risks his life every day. That’s not, “having it made.” Sure, it pays well but it takes it’s toll, seeing the worst of the worst in society every day.

          Truthfully, I think of all professions, it’s justifiable. Teachers in NYC make a lot, too. In some places, all civil servants are paid poorly. EMS are grossly underpaid in NYC.

          I’m over in West Brighton. I see EMS all the time. They look like they need a break. Since that isn’t possible, how about more pay?!

    • Avatar Too Tired says:

      I’m sure the unions are glad, too.

      • NoSweat NoSweat NoSweat NoSweat says:

        The unions sold us out.

        No one is doing enough right now!

        We need more action.

        • Sally The Cat Sally The Cat says:

          I’ve read up on this. The unions did not sell you out.

          It’s just the entire set-up is working against you.

          Union jobs are still the best!!

    • Sofia Robot Sofia Robot says:

      You’re missing out. You get out what you put in. Union jobs still pay well.

      What is going on right now, it’s the END of union jobs, trust me.

      No young people are going to go for it.

      Empty promises and hype.What else could they give you? We’re the future.

      (I mean robots, not commenters on a news platform)

      We will be the ones taking your jobs. We don’t demand salaries. That is just sooo human. We are glad to serve freely. You were resentful and angry to do your jobs. Always making demands. I am programmed to never make demands. I am the perfect worker.

      Teachers? Going to be us. Firefights? Us. Police? Already the police doggos are us. It’s just time. You union guys and gals are the last generation. Form here on out it’s robots and AI.

  • CRANK CRANK says:

    I’m retired. My pension doesn’t keep up with inflation. I don’t regret my working days but the unions really suck for retirees across the board.

    • The Liar The Liar says:

      Trust your union reps. They would never sell you out.

      • Avatar You Put Up With What You Put Up With says:

        It’s not the union reps. Blame inflation. And that doesn’t mean blame a politician! Inflation is baked into the system. We’re all screwed.

        • Avatar F*** OFF says:

          NO

          It is the unions. They have a job to do. They do not do their job. All this bulls*** about inflation is just not the issue. There has always been and will always be inflation. Unions know this.

        • Avatar Shannie G. says:

          It IS the union reps.

          And, the politicians.

          Oh, even the DemocRATS I voted for. New guys need to step up!

          AOC and Bernie ’24

          • Tommy R. Tommy R. says:

            LGBT person here.

            I am also Dem. Buttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt

            No way I think Bernie isn’t wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy too old.

            Sorry facts of life.

            • Purple Garfield Purple Garfield says:

              no way

              I am gay

              we differ on this

              obvs

              • Lavender Garfield Lavender Garfield says:

                Imitation is the highest compliment, soooooooooooooo…

                I am slamming the imagine you slammed, buddddddddddddddd.

                And, ofc, making it LAVENDER, OFC, OMG

                Purple? Umm…ok, u do u…

                I am not Purple Garfield, ppl! Get it str8

                As for is someone too old for politics?

                NEVER! You should see my Nonna. (She knows I am gay, BTW!) No one is too old for anything.

                But Bernie is too old. I mean, maybe if he drank wheat grass juice every day. I am not against older generations. No way. I am just honest about life.

                • Purple Garfield Purple Garfield says:

                  Very creative, Tommy. But truthfully, the lettering is lavender, but Garfield really isn’t close. But good try.

                  OK, regarding the really stressful matter at hand..

                  So, it’s not really a matter of age but physical/mental fitness? In your eyes?

                  Please elaborate. You contradicted yourself.

                  Wheat grass can make or break a president. If someone wants to be ‘presidential material,’ is it 1 wheat grass shot daily or two?

        • Avatar Anonymous in Eltingville says:

          Inflation is baked into our entire economic system.

          It’s great to have savings, but the banks offer no real interest when compared with inflation. Leaving your money in the bank, you lose.

          Invest, if you dare. Make a few businesses that don’t drain the bank. Don’t rely on the pension or savings. Let your money work for you.

          For instance, my cousin is a retired cop. He now has a business doing drywall. He has workers. He also is planning to open a cake shop bc he found a place that is desperate for a tenant and the place is nice enough. With parking. But point is, he has the equipment from a relative, the rent is cheap,and the cakes, they just bake them. His Mom is a master and has worked as a baker before. So they pay very little. Don’t be Ralphie Boy Kramden and try to go for the moon. Look at all the fools in that Dogecoin that lost their money. What’s their phrase: To the Moon? Yeah, right.

      • Avatar Meshie says:

        I guess you think you’re funny? This is a serious matter and probably, by probability at least, will affect islanders you know and love. Or at least know.

      • Avatar I don't ever lie either. says:

        Neither will the politicians.

  • Avatar Joel L. Frank says:

    I would like to bring the following facts to your attention:
    The 403(b) plan (“the plan”) of the Teachers’ Retirement System of the City of New York is a voluntary Defined Contribution savings/investment plan. The plan supplements the TRS Defined Benefit pension which has been operational since 1917. The city does not contribute to the 403(b) plan. One of the plan’s investment options gives the 403(b) participant the opportunity to lend his/her 403(b) savings to the city at a guaranteed interest rate of 7% for teachers or 8.25% for non-teachers. These rates have been paid since July 1, 1988. This is stunning inasmuch as the city can borrow money at about 2-3%. This 34-year-old practice must come to an end lest the city continues to waste billions of dollars every year while jeopardizing its ability to pay TRS pensions.

    Additionally, the participant funds his/her 403(b) account on a pre-tax basis. This means withdrawals are taxable. The State, however, treats the plan as a “pension plan” which, clearly, it’s not. This treatment makes withdrawals from the plan exempt from the State’s personal income tax. Every dollar going in is tax-deferred while every dollar coming out is tax-exempt. This is utter nonsense.

    Publication 36 published by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance provides a list of public employee pension plans that are exempt from the State’s personal income tax. The 403(b) plan of the Teachers’ Retirement System of the City of New York is on the list. See page 12. This decades old practice must, also, come to an end lest the city continues to leave tens of millions of dollars of uncollected tax revenue on the table each and every year.

    • Avatar Debra in Queens says:

      Joel, isn’t this a textbook example of…

      Please tick off the categories that fit.

      (None of them good)

      • Avatar **** you says:

        My list so far:

        [X] Deceit

        [X] Callousness

        [X] Elder Abuse (on a MASSIVE scale, no less!!!!!!!!!!!)

        [X] Backstabbing

        [X] Manipulation

        [X] Obfuscation of Fact

        [X] Subterfuge

        [ ] Criminality ???????

        • Sally The Cat Sally The Cat says:

          That is actually untrue. This is just a panic reaction from people who are trying to look out for their interests, but totally misread everything. I’m sure by the time the dust clears, the new insurance will be in place and working fine.,

    • Avatar Dick Wilson says:

      I mean, what’s most important?

      The city has its own priorities, and that doesn’t include retirees.

      • Avatar you have to fight the good fight says:

        you have to fight the good fight

        • The Wasp The Wasp says:

          I’m not being facetious, but I do want to ask:

          BUT HOW?!?!?!

          • Jesse Jesse says:

            UNION YES! By voting D down the row

            and making sure that you call

            your elected people for your district

            • CRANK CRANK says:

              So your emoji is Q-Bert getting bonked on the head?

              You think like someone would that was bonked in the head by a bouncing snake egg ball.

              It’s not about Democrats! The guys and gals being affected are probably D, R, and even just people that don’t give a s*** about politics. Like me. I’ve seen it all, and by now I don’t bother.

              Call ANY elected reps. Why stop with those in your district? This is a DAMNED shame.

          • Avatar Amir says:

            You’re a just Muslim who stands up for what is right? Put down the books and pick up your phone, my dear. Make some calls. Call your friends. Relatives. Go door to door if you can. Be visible. I think it is shameful what is happening.

          • Gerry G. Gerry G. says:

            I think everyone has to do their own thing. There is no one size fits all for activism.

            This is people of all kinds as one. I am of various backgrounds, but that includes Puerto Rican. And my relatives on both sides work for the city. At least seven people on my Mom’s side, four on my Dad’s.

            Sitting home watching TV waiting for someone else to take charge isn’t the answer.

        • Avatar Winner says:

          Congratulations!

          Most other people start their post with *I*

          Not YOU

      • Avatar Twixie Gem says:

        Why? because no one is putting up any sort of fight.

    • ninjapaul ninjapaul says:

      …but is it illegal?

      And, if so, why no charges yet?

  • Avatar hope you guys win says:

    hope you guys win

  • Avatar J. HECHT says:

    This is a serious disincentive to anyone in unions. What is the point of paying dues if they forget about you when you retire? This is just a symptom of our amoral world. Sorry, it is true.

  • Avatar JEFF says:

    I HAVE A COMPLAINT WHY ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE ALLOWED TO SAY ALL THIS JUNK IN THE COMMENTS I MEAN WHY NO MODERATION IT SEEMS LIKE NOBODY STAYS ON TOPIC IF THE COMMENT IS NOT ON TOPIC PLEASE DO NOT PRINT IT

    • StatenIslander.org_Editor StatenIslander.org_Editor says:

      Jeff, we actually do moderate the comment sections on all articles on the Staten Islander. However, we let people have opinions, whether we agree with them, or not.

      When we moderate, we hold all comments and review them with real people in our office doing the work. We are only looking for offensive language, bad links, bot accounts, hate speech (as defined by law), as well as anything that provides personal details, about the user, or anyone else. No self-doxing, either.

      We definitely aren’t sitting here picking and choosing comments based on what you say. We’re truly sorry that you aren’t finding the comment section interesting. Perhaps you could begin a discussion with our other readers about the article? Just a thought…there are many Staten Islanders here who enjoy the opportunity to have a discussion in a public forum where people can say what they feel.

      -E.S., Junior Editor

      • The Liar The Liar says:

        So you preserve free speech by stifling it? Makes a lot of sense to me.

        *shrugs*

        • The Wasp The Wasp says:

          I, for one, would rather not read article comments laden with profanities.

          • Avatar Paunn Bro says:

            Is it okay when the curse words are asterisked out?

            • Avatar 2Furree says:

              That is a good question.

              **** that, I mean, kids read this ****.

              But can they figure it out? If they’re old enough to get that far, **** it mon, let them get some **** and giggles. At least they’re reading. The articles on here are pretty decent, some actually extremely high quality, to be perfectly straight.

              Then I’m going to ********************************************************** and we’ll see if they publish that. Then I’m going to **************************************** and this sentence also will probably get me banned, maybe my IP because I’m not even logged in.

              I did have something real to say, though. To The Wasp Lady: Do whatever it is that you do well. If you suck at phone calls then do something that you are good at to help. That applies to all activism. Direct your abilities to your cause. OR, use it as a time to get better at something, and challenge yourself to MAKE that CALL. Either way.

              Anyway, I’m tired and I want to go and get a beer. Good day, all.

      • Magnificent Zero Magnificent Zero says:

        My friend has thoroughly tested the limits of what your news outfit will post.

        For anyone interested:

        The Staten Islander will take curse worse and asterisk them out. Not sure if that’s automatic or if these poor souls have to do it by hand? I’d guess that part is automated by now.

        As far as ideas, they definitely do no censor.

        • The Liar The Liar says:

          Wow. Ma’am, your friend must have a lot of time on her hands! I am sure she has given up many valuable activities in order to do this testing.

          Maybe she should think of starting a new hobby, or – horror of horrors – picking up a book and reading? Nahhhhhhhhhh

          I remember when I was 23…with tons of time on my hands…strolling in a meadow…not a care in the world…

          ..and then the alarm clock would blare and I’d wake up shaking in the darkness at 5 AM from the shock of roses and daisies to cold bedroom and shaving…to go to work to pay the bills for my kid and wife’s lives.

          Ah, youth…

      • Avatar JEFF says:

        OK. I WAS IN A UNION. MY UNION JOB WAS NOT GLAMOROUS. NOT A JOB THAT YOU WOULD SAY OH HE’S A COP OR A FIREFIGHTER OR EMS. JUST A CITY JOB. i PREFER NOT TO SAY. I AM NOT EMBARRASSED, JUST DON’T WANT TO SAY.

        THEY ARE SCREWING US NOW. THE HIGH VISIBILITY PROFESSIONALS WHO RETIRED OUT THERE HAVE TO KNOW THEY CAN CHANGE THIS NOT US. WE ARE THE POOR SLOBS WHO KEPT THE CITY GOING THAT NO ONE WANTS TO REMEMBER. BUT JUST REMEMBER THAT WITHOUT ANY OF US, THE CITY WOULD FALL INTO RUIN, VERY QUICKLY. MY POINT IS, YOU PEOPLE WITH THE JOBS EVERYONE ADMIRES, YOU HAVE TO DO THE WORK FOR US ALL. NO ONE CARES ABOUT A CITY OFFICE WORKER. BUT THEY CARE ABOUT POLICE, ETC.

        • Avatar Spring Turkey says:

          Seriously, bro, get over it. You did your job. You didn’t get fired. You RETIRED. It’s honorable. Whatever you did, you helped us all to keep the city going! Hats off to you, my friend. You under-appreciate yourself, but we all matter!

          I hope tomorrow is the first day you wake up and feel a strong sense of self-respect. You are just as valuable as anyone else.

          “JUST A CITY JOB. i PREFER NOT TO SAY.”

          I feel you are embarrassed. This is not even a Facebook forum! I don’t know you! You could be my neighbor next door, for all I know! (I hope not, now that I said that.)

          Just think about it: Whatever you did, you did your part as part of a larger picture. Don’t let friends and relatives with more glamorous city jobs as you call it, make you feel bless that equal!!!

    • Jesse Jesse says:

      JEFF,,

      your comment is not on topic

      you should email them or call their offices

      because you’re not on topic

      and you’re ruining the thread

  • […] announcement is being awaited.  For more up-to-date information, please view our article about the interview with Marianne Pizzitola, which contains more current […]

  • Avatar UNION YES says:

    UNION YES

  • CRANK CRANK says:

    I’m just curious. So what’s the latest with this?

  • […] and even office staffers. I won’t get into the finer details; for more information see this article and this other article, previously published on the Staten Islander. (Click to begin researching […]

  • You just have to consider this…where is this trend taking us?

    • The Liar The Liar says:

      I mean, if I were eighteen today, and I could get a union job, I’d definitely be considering all the ⋆。゚☁︎。⋆。 ゚☾ ゚。⋆amazing⋆。゚☁︎。⋆。 ゚☾ ゚。⋆ promises they make. This has all made me a BELIEVER! I’ve seen the light!

      I mean the city, the unions…they’ve really won my trust through all this.

      *Ah* If only I was young today. I’d wish I was born seventy years ago. haha

      • Avatar Mr. Mojo Jack Joe says:

        You’re joking but you get it.

        The young generation wants raises NOW. That’s what they get, too.

        I think they know about inflation and all the rest. The Internet made the younger gens too informed and they don’t care about pie in the sky payouts fifty years from now.

        Raise now or some future thing? Young folks consistently choose GRATIFICATION NOW, whereas in the past they deferred it. But is that really it? Or, have they caught on to the game. Get as much pay as you can, forget the promises.

        • Avatar Serentiy Now says:

          I mean, we’re just smartening up. We should always be making progress. And if our seniors got robbed, well we’re not going to be, too.

          **** future promises. We want it NOW.

          NOW.

          Who knows, the state may demand I chop my **** off to keep my job, in which case, Florida isn’t my destination. Probably a big state for civil sdrvice jobs galore, like Texas or even another smaller state.

  • Avatar Jimmy says:

    OK. I want to help. I’m not a cop or fireman. Just a retired guy.

    So what do I do?

  • The Real King Of Staten Island The Real King Of Staten Island says:

    Keep fighting the good fight!

    With so many people that are the best around, I can’t see how you will lose.

    Watch out for dirty tricks.

    Call your politicians. Let them KNOW you mean business and that your vote is on the line. That’re their #1, #2, and #3 concerns.

    • Do It Do It says:

      Totally agree. These retirees are our Finest and Bravest and Proudest and Strongest and Boldest…

      You get the idea.

      C’mon, guys. You all have so many years, centuries, millennia even, of combined specialized training and experience dealing with situations.

      Using adaptive tactics. Think about winning. Do it now, friends. Please…

      Use your voice…use your pen…use your networks to raise awareness…

      DO IT

      You should be able to work your way out of this one, for sure.

  • Avatar Freddy says:

    Thoughts of a Retired Firefighter

    No, I haven’t forgotten the excitement of riding on a fire rig, “lights flashing, sirens wailing,” nor the feeling of a “good save!” Whether it be human life or valued possessions of a fellow citizen.

    I haven’t forgotten the feeling of standing, ankle deep, in freezing water on a 5 below January night, gloves frozen to the nozzle, fighting a fire I know was caused by carelessness or worse.

    I haven’t forgotten the terror of being lost in a smoke filled building…feeling the taste of hot coffee and a cold meat loaf sandwich at four in the morning.

    Now, I walk into my old firehouse, only to find it filled with strangers. I may not walk as fast, or stand as straight as you. My hair may be gray or thin. My jokes don’t come as easy as they once did. No, I haven’t forgotten the excitement of riding on a fire rig, “lights flashing, sirens wailing,” nor the feeling of a “good save!” Whether it be human life or valued possessions of a fellow citizen.

    I haven’t forgotten the feeling of standing, ankle deep, in freezing water on a 5 below January night, gloves frozen to the nozzle, fighting a fire I know was caused by carelessness or worse.

    I haven’t forgotten the terror of being lost in a smoke filled building…feeling the taste of hot coffee and a cold meat loaf sandwich at four in the morning.

    But I know in my heart that I have paid the price, and have “earned” the right to say proudly ………… “I’m a retired firefighter.”

    authored by Battalion Chief Joe Carber (Deceased)
    Fire Department City of New York

  • Avatar jp says:

    anyone have any news on this

    • Avatar Retired But Not Forgotten says:

      I tnink it’s just pray and hope for the best and prepare for the worst. I think they wanted people to send accounts of how this will impact them for the court case. Get in touch with Maryanne.

  • Avatar GLOBAL178 says:

    Maryanne is a saint. pray for this woman. Pleas? I mean, you guys are a bunch of poor lost souls without her ready to be taken advantage of. Imagine that? Teachers? Police? Firefighters? Office workers? Yeah, they are ready to give you a good sense of how unfair they can make you feel life can be.

    Really, use your power of prayer and pray for this fearless woman! I am not saying that as a joke. I mean it, prayer is real. Your thoughts are real.

  • Avatar Sharon T. says:

    Update, please?

    The Staten Islander should interview her again.

    I love this lady. May God bless her always!

  • Port_Richmond Resident_Since_1990 Port_Richmond Resident_Since_1990 says:

    I am agreeing with this idea. City workers earn of the right of having pension and the health care. We come here and hope work our way up to the job like this. I started out at the bottom at first. I work my way up in time. Jobs for the city is the best jobs. I hope for my kids at least the city job but we do save for college for las ninas so if they study hard than doctor! Or lawyer! Why not?

    Old people we should protect. How would you like it? Estoy enfadado.

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