ALBANY, N.Y. March 22, 2012 — In response to the statement issued by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York State United Teachers today released the following letter sent March 20 to Assemblyman Felix Ortiz on the Somos el Futuro conference:
March 20, 2012
The Honorable Felix Ortiz
NYS Assembly Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force
Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
Dear Chairman Ortiz:
Thank you for your invitation to this year’s Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force Spring Somos El Futuro Conference 25th Anniversary Celebration and for your offer to recognize me at the chairman’s VIP reception.
NYSUT has long been a strong supporter of the New York State Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force’s Somos El Futuro event and a strong supporter of expanding access to education and other opportunities for Hispanics across our state and nation.
Unfortunately, given the disheartening votes taken against the interests of educators and students by the members of the Task Force, I feel it inappropriate for me to participate in this event this year.
Last year, the state Legislature slashed $1.3 billion in aid for schools and passed a property tax cap that has resulted in increased staff reductions and program cuts in school districts across this state. And, just last week, the state Legislature passed a Tier VI retirement plan that requires greatly increased contributions for future workers while significantly reducing their benefits. In the end, this plan will result in greatly reduced retirement security for future workers.
On behalf of the more than 600,000 members and our Board of Directors, NYSUT is very disappointed that so many of the members of the New York State Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force have chosen to hurt future workers and the ability to attract professionals to choose careers in public education.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns, or would like to discuss our relationship going forward.
Richard C. Iannuzzi
NYSUT, the state’s largest union, represents some 600,000 classroom teachers and other school employees; faculty and other professionals at the state’s community colleges, State University of New York and City University of New York, and other education and health professionals. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.