The NYSUT Member Guide

Update: September 2013

what every nysut member should know

Welcome to NYSUT, Your Statewide Union

NYSUT is a federation of approximately 1,300 local unions representing 600,000 members statewide.

NYSUT members serve in a variety of capacities, including teachers, School-Related Professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care, municipal, county and state professionals, employees in libraries and nonprofit organizations, and retirees. They belong to local affiliates ranging in size from the 200,000-member United Federation of Teachers in New York City to locals of fewer than 10 members. More than 95 percent of the teachers in New York's public elementary and secondary schools are members of NYSUT, along with many other pre-K-12 school employees, including teacher aides and teaching assistants, secretaries, custodians, bus drivers, food service personnel, health care professionals, nurses, security personnel and therapists. NYSUT also represents private school and charter school employees.

The academic and professional staffs of the State University, City University and many community colleges and private-sector colleges are members, as are thousands of nurses, psychologists, physicians and other professionals in health care facilities and other governmental agencies. When NYSUT members retire, they enjoy lifetime membership in both NYSUT and the American Federation of Teachers, one of our two national affiliates. Retirees can join NYSUT's other national affiliate, the National Education Association.

This book provides new members with an overview of NYSUT. While much of the information relates to issues of concern to pre-K-12 members, information of interest to other constituencies is included, as well.

Governance

Members make their voices heard by electing local delegates who represent them at NYSUT's annual convention, which is called the NYSUT Representative Assembly, or the NYSUT RA. The NYSUT RA is NYSUT's highest policy-making body, except for a membership referendum.

NYSUT delegates are elected to one- to three-year terms by secret ballot of your local's membership. Their terms vary according to local constitutions. These delegates elect the five NYSUT statewide officers, and the 82-member Board of Directors, to three-year terms. Delegates vote on policy resolutions and amendments to the NYSUT constitution and bylaws that determine the governance and policies of the union. Many delegates represent their locals at labor council meetings and at election district meetings held by NYSUT board members to hear local concerns and inform locals of NYSUT's efforts on their behalf. 

The NYSUT Board of Directors meets at least quarterly to conduct business between RAs. A 21-member executive committee meets 10 times a year. Each NYSUT local elects its own leadership, operates under a local constitution and "owns" its collective bargaining agreement.

Committees

NYSUT uses special task forces and standing committees to help gather information on timely issues and to initiate policy and position statements for submission to the Board of Directors and RA. Certain constituencies of the membership have their own representatives on the Board, providing input to all Board discussions. Health care, retirees, public and private higher education and School-Related Professionals are all groups that have Board representatives.

The standing committees and task forces currently constituted are BOCES Statewide Conference Planning, Community Colleges, Financial Review, Higher Education, Career and Technical Education, Political Action, Retiree, School-Related Professionals, Small and Rural Locals, Civil & Human Rights, Task Force on Education Policy, Educational Technology, Health & Safety, Special Education, Early Childhood, English Language Learners and Teacher Centers. NYSUT also has eight content-area committees that advise the organization regarding the standards and assessments in Pre-K-12 schools. They help NYSUT provide a professional response to Regents' initiatives.

Staff

NYSUT employs approximately 500 people at its Albany headquarters and 16 regional offices to carry out union programs and to serve affiliates and members. With the exception of the metro locals, every bargaining unit has a NYSUT labor relations specialist.

Affiliations

NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association. It is an active participant in the organized labor movement and affiliated with the state and national AFL-CIO and Education International, a worldwide association of teacher unions. NYSUT partners with several community and human rights groups, and its members work closely with groups such as the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, Special Olympics, United Way and the New York State Labor-Religion Coalition, of which NYSUT is a founding member.

Dues

Members pay local, NYSUT and AFT or NEA dues through their locals. Dues provide resources for the unions to serve members. Each local determines its dues structure, but must include provisions (pass-through) for state and national affiliates. NYSUT RA delegates vote on NYSUT dues, while delegates to the NEA and AFT conventions set national dues.

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