July 12, 2010

Delegates to AFT and NEA conventions heed call to 'lead and propose'

Source: NYSUT News Wire

NYSUT officers and activists hit the road over the last two weeks attending the conventions of both our national affiliates-the AFT and NEA.

NYSUT delegates attending the annual NEA Representative Assembly, July 2-6 in New Orleans, LA, helped pass an amendment to the NEA constitution, making all NYSUT members eligible for NEA membership. The amendment was adopted by a 2:1 margin.

NYSUT delegates participated in the 81st convention of the AFT. The biennial convention took place July 7-11 in Seattle, WA. This year's theme was "Building Futures Together." Over the course of four days, AFT President Randi Weingarten exhorted delegates "to fight hard and to fight smart" to save our professions. Delegates responded, adopting a resolution on teacher development and evaluation that places the 1.5-million-member AFT in the forefront of the effort to improve teaching. They also gave resounding support to the launch of a yearlong campaign to save public education as we know it. The "Raise Your Hand" campaign will begin in early September. On October 2, AFT will join forces with a broad-base group of community allies for the One Nation March on Washington, D.C. According to the resolution, the march will "give voice to frustrations, put faces on the jobless, stand up for Main Street and fight for public education."

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told delegates, "We're all in this together. Americans do better when we stand together and answer the challenges of our times. If you want to build better lives and a better chance for your children, then stand together."

Delegates embraced Weingarten's message of "lead and propose versus wait and oppose," re-electing the AFT leadership team of Weingarten, Secretary Treasurer Toni Cortese and Executive Vice President Lorretta Johnson to a second two-year term. Delegates also elected 43 vice presidents, 12 from New York, including NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta to his first term, NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi, Vice Presidents Maria Neira and Kathleen Donahue and Secretary Treasurer Lee Cutler.