First-time delegates learned the nuts and bolts of the NYSUT RA at an orientation session led by Patrick Lyons, assistant to the NYSUT president.
On hand to welcome participants were NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi, Vice President Kathleen Donahue and Secretary-Treasurer Lee Cutler. Iannuzzi urged delegates to get the most out of the convention, adding that their work will help chart the union's course for the year.
Cutler recalled his experiences as a first-time delegate in 1997. "It was the first time I really understood I was involved in something much bigger than myself," he said, encouraging delegates to not be overwhelmed by the scale of the event.
"It's nice to see so many new people here this year," said Donahue. She encouraged delegates to introduce themselves to the other officers during the RA.
In addition to learning formal RA protocol, delegates viewed a short video highlighting NYSUT's history and the many groundbreaking gains won by union pioneers, including tenure, health insurance and the grievance process.
Questions ranged from the protocol for approaching the microphone to speak, to how to submit resolutions for delegate consideration, to finding out where RA events take place.
Lyons encouraged delegates to reach out to staffers or officers or to visit the RA Information Booth on the promenade with questions or concerns.
Lyons also urged delegates to get more members involved in the RA after returning home. "We have a big umbrella and we work to make sure everyone's voice is heard," he said, noting that the more members involved in the union decision-making process, the better.