article
June 13, 2014

Locals march to support union at charter school

Author: Ned Hoskin
Source: NYSUT Communications
rally for riverhead teachers
Caption: Photo by Jonathan Fickies.

The hundreds who helped make this week's rally a success at Riverhead Charter School saw the tears of gratitude in the eyes of terminated union members and their families who were in attendance. Protesters decried the brutal tactics used by the administration to intimidate and bully anyone supporting the Riverhead Charter School Employees Association, a NYSUT local. Until recently, it had been led by President Kasey Wehrheim, but she was fired for her union activity.

The event received some favorable coverage from one of the local media outlets.

The Riverhead Central Faculty Association, led by President Lisa Goulding, which represents employees at the community’s public school district, was invaluable in helping to organize the event. “Being in the union shouldn’t get you fired,” said Goulding, “and that’s what has been happening here.” NYSUT Vice President Paul Pecorale was there to support the RCSEA, as well. The Regional Office estimated 19 NYSUT locals were represented at the rally:

  • Association of Education Staff Developers of Eastern Suffolk BOCES
  • Associated Teachers of Huntington
  • Bayport-Blue Point Teachers Association  
  • Bay Shore Classroom Teachers' Association
  • Bellport Teachers' Association
  • Brentwood Teachers' Association
  • Brookhaven Memorial Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals Association
  • Central Islip Teachers Association
  • Deer Park Teachers' Association
  • East Islip Teachers' Association
  • Middle Country Teachers' Association
  • Miller Place Teachers' Association
  • Mount Sinai Teachers Association  
  • Patchogue-Medford Congress of Teachers
  • Port Jefferson Station Teachers' Association
  • Riverhead Central Faculty Association
  • Riverhead Charter School Employees' Association (former members)
  • Shoreham-Wading River Teachers Association  
  • Teachers' Association of Sag Harbor

The Long Island Federation of Labor sent its Executive Director Roger Clayman.  Said NYSUT Regional Staff Director Peter Verdon, “While we know that anti-union activities have occurred, the issues at Riverhead Charter School are complicated and we cannot be sure what the future holds. Nevertheless, yesterday's rally was a positive action where union members, along with parents stood up for children and what we know to be right.”