RA delegates overwhelmingly approved a resolution opposing efforts to privatize SUNY hospitals, such as Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. William Scheuerman, president of NYSUT's SUNY affiliate, United University Professions, entered a special order of business urging NYSUT to also resist efforts to take UMU out of the SUNY system.
Late last year, the Berger Commission recommended that UMU be merged with the private Crouse Hospital into a non-SUNY entity. UUP, with support from NYSUT, has filed a lawsuit claiming, among other things, that the unelected members of the Berger Commission had no authority to create public policy. UUP and NYSUT have been calling on Gov. Spitzer to keep UMU part of the SUNY system and to allow it to continue its vital public services.
In another call to action, delegates encouraged donations to help educators who are rebuilding the New Orleans school system, devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and now threatened by political maneuvering. Delegates heard an eloquent plea from American Federation of Teachers Secretary-Treasurer Nat LaCour, former president of the United Teachers of New Orleans.
Delegates dug deep and contributed nearly $9,100 to help their United Teachers of New Orleans colleagues who are still rebuilding their lives after Hurricane Katrina. RA tellers passed the pails at the request of the UFT's Zina Myrick, who said colleagues in New Orleans "really need our help."
A lot of their basic needs haven't been met, Myrick said.