MDCPS health insurance 2008-9

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Gandhi wrote that we have to have faith that when we do good that others will respond in kind. If opponents do otherwise, it is a sign that we are right.

Instructions: Please click "Edit this page" above, and write in your comments, along with your name or Yahoo! ID for better communication if you'd like. Thank you.

Wish list
Please find links to demonstrations at Channels 4, 23 Univision, 51 Telemundo, 41 AmericaTV, 8 GenTV and record them under 'Coverage'. Thank you.

See also

Health insurance 2008-9 home page

**Petition for MDCPS employee health insurance**

Effective education spending

Contents of this page
Previous Actions
What can we do?
Talking points


  • Was it deceptive to cancel the health care item at the February, 2008 School Board meeting, along with the 900+ speakers that apparently had signed up, only to bring up health care in the superintendent's 'informational' item right before the public hearing?
  • Why is it that others who have United have no co-pays and no deductibles on meds?
  • Why is it that, there are companies paying less than MDCPS who receive more coverage with United?
  • Why doesn't MDCPS send the Request for Proposals, (RFP) to every health care provider in the county?
  • Why does the UTD allow the school system to not support workers comp claims?
  • Why does the district push the administrators to discourage employees from filing workers comp claims by taking the money for those claims out of the principal's O-2 accounts? O-2, as in their discretionary accounts?
  • What happened to self-insurance? Did MDCPS originally contract United Health to provide the data for self-insurance?
  • Do employees for FPL pay about $12 a pay period for Blue Cross POS.....adding the family is minimal.....?

Previous actions

Coral Gables Senior High
Week of 03-02-08


The demonstration was primarily organized by my friend and steward, Dr. David Kirsner. UTD arranged coverage. Stations that were there:

Channel 4
GenTV, Comcast channel 8, 9 PM newscast

Twenty-five of us walked with signs along the front of the school today past the school buses of students who were heading home. Students shouted hellos and cheered us on.

We then walked back on the other side of the street to focus on Bird Road and LeJeune.

Unfortunately, about fifteen others missed us back at the teachers' parking lot! We'll hopefully do a better job of gathering everybody
up on Wednesday and Thursday for follow-up demonstrations.

Here are some of the slogans inspired by happy hour on Friday. Some of the less politically correct ones didn't see the light of day, as you might imagine:

Our health is sCREWed
Our health plan makes us sick
This CREW is sick & tired
Don't sCREW us out of health care
Quit sCREWing up our health
Dr. Crew, how much does your insurance cost?
We work OVERTIME for our health care

I'll be posting these along with the other suggestions at:


Otto Zequeira

Today the district censored email and announcements about our health insurance demonstration at Coral Gables Senior High. We demonstrated anyway and, thanks to UTD coordination, got media coverage from the Herald and Channels 6 and 51.

UTD contract language was clearly violated here:

The main accusation was that discussion of our health care demonstrations on the announcements and email was political in nature.
I have heard from two sources that Florida statutes, in contrast, define political speech as campaigning for public office.

The events are such a clear violation of the contract, if not federal law, that it is my suspicion that this is a delay tactic by the
district. Someone once said that, in politics, sometimes delay is victory. Perhaps the district wishes to delay the organizing of
teachers as much as possible with such actions.

In answer to a post from a few days ago about a member of this list who was called into the principal's office, it was explained to me
that if you were asked to sign a paper about violation of email policy and it was the first time this was discussed with an administrator,
the policy of progressive discipline was violated. A verbal warning should have been issued first.

I hope this information is helpful.


Otto Zequeira

Gandhi says that we have to have faith that when we do good that others will respond in kind. If opponents do otherwise, it is a sign that we are right and that we are making an impact.

Despite the censorship of 03-05, we had a greater turnout than Wednesday the 5th. We did this by coordinating a phone tree and making calls the evening before. Each person called 5-7 others.

UTD-coordinated coverage included channels 23, Univision, and 51, Telemundo.

We informed the faculty members present of the censorship events of the previous day. Teachers volunteered to be additional participants in the phone tree.

A UTD official informed us that there is a resolution. The email censorship at Gables apparently reached Freddy Woodson. The resolution, which does not seem to meet Florida statutes and federal guidelines about freedom of speech in email, was that email and announcements could go out as long as they did not identify or criticize individual politicians.

Perhaps we need to have this clarified between UTD and the district.

After a long week, Gables teachers went across the street on Friday afternoon for a happy hour to celebrate the successes of the week. "Party for your right to fight! (Public Enemy)."

Krop Senior High
Week of 03-02-08

Letter from Shawn Beightol to the Krop faculty Next week, March 12, is the School Board Meeting. UTD is planning a major rally for 4 PM (request for speaking at 630 PM open mike is attached. More below).
I am asking you to join myself and the UTD stewards this Thursday morningAND next Monday morning from 630 AM to 710 AM in front of the school to distribute flyers to the parents to request one simple thing – that they call Dr. Martin Karp, our board member who is UP FOR RE-ELECTION in November and ask him to be the 5th vote FOR Teachers and Support staff.
We had 4 votes last month to avoid Impasse/special magistrate…Dr. Karp is rumored to have been the 5th vote against us. He has not responded to my request to verify this.
We can do this. We changed the course of our contract last year, we changed the course of the bargaining unit vote on this healthcare proposal, and we WILL change the future for educators and schools starting this vote.
We must let Dr. Karp know that his return to office is based on his standing firm for teachers and support staff. He must be made to understand that the quality of education our children receives is based on attracting and retaining quality educators in the classroom and not the technology or programs that they have (mis)funded and mis-prioritized before the local schools.
I hope I can count on you to stand with us as we fight, not just to save you hundreds to thousands of dollars in healthcare costs next year, but to secure the salary step that they have insinuated will be lost in this fight.
We need your help to help us all.
We will discuss this in the 10 minute UTD spot of the faculty meeting tomorrow. Following the faculty meeting we will conduct a steward election to add one more steward to the ranks.

Shawn Beightol,
Designated UTD Steward

Demonstration: March March 1, 11am SW 82 Ave and 40 street

The demonstration is all about our Insurance and how the District
says there is no money when in fact there is.

Sick Teachers Can't Teach
Save our Teachers, We need Healthcare
Can't pay our Doctor Bills

Be creative!!!
Dress up in hospital pjs and carry a tin can for donations!!!!

March 1, 11am SW 82 Ave and 40 street

February demonstrations
Kendall & 117, North Miami

What can we do?

Picket School Board election sites with signs and T-shirts stating, "Xyz hurts teachers and students".

Talking points

  • Here is a list of talking points that are valid regardless the motivation behind the MDCPS insurance proposal.
  • MDCPS and the union are at impasse (ozequeira).
  • Salaries have not kept up with the rate of inflation in Miami-Dade County for the past 10 years (ozequeira based on Shawn Beightol's research).
  • By even making its most recent healthcare proposal, MDCPS is saying that it does not care about its employees. (ozequeira)
  • According to W. Edwards Deming, effective organizations seek to increase their employees' well-being by improving the quality of their work and lives, not reducing quality, as this proposal would do (ozequeira).
  • MDCPS administration only gave a month to respond (ozequeira).
  • This is an extremely short-sighted proposal. Support staff at the schools, including secretaries, custodians, cafeteria workers, and security guards, who often have to use food stamps to feed their families, will not be able to absorb these increased costs. (ozequeira)
  • Additionally, by cutting health care benefits, MDCPS will increase its costs due to absences by sick workers, in addition to the damage that it will cause its charges in the classroom for the same reason. (ozequeira)
  • It is patently untrue that MDCPS, or Florida for that matter, cannot pay for education or health care for its employees. Over the past 10 years, we have been cutting taxes for those who can afford them most, corporations and their board members. They are not paying their fair share for education. (ozequeira)
  • Tax cuts fueled real estate speculation, leaving empty condos. (ozequeira)
  • Potential solutions include progressive property tax structures, or a return to previous tax rates for intangibles. (ozequeira)
  • MDCPS can insist that everyone pay their fair share of education dollars by examining the possibility of a progressive property tax structure for our community and the state. (ozequeira)
  • Gandhi called education a moral and spiritual imperative. (ozequeira)


Glenna Milberg, Channel 10:
Wendy Grossman, WIOD


WPLG Channel 10
Michael Putney and Glenna Milburg have graciously pushed for a
streaming video copy of their story.
This Week in South Florida coverage
Another Channel 10 link

El Nuevo Herald
Junta puede ordenar a superintendente que cumpla exigencias de los maestros

Miami Herald
Unions, district crash into healthcare hurdle
A dispute over who should pay the rising cost of
healthcare insurance has pitted unions against the
Miami-Dade school district.

New York Times
Gap in life expectancy widens for nation