While the 2012 NYSUT Representative Assembly is still a couple of months away, hundreds of local unions are setting the stage for floor discussion and debate during the annual policymaking assembly by submitting proposed resolutions for the delegates to consider.
The RA takes place April 26-28 in Buffalo. However, the process for submitting resolutions was set in motion last fall, when locals were given a deadline and guidelines for submitting proposed resolutions, as well as proposed amendments to the NYSUT Constitution and Bylaws. The resolutions and amendments process is at the heart of setting policy for our 600,000-member union.
"When developing resolutions, members look at the challenges we face and, working through their local governance structure, develop and propose practical steps that NYSUT should pursue to address them," said NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue.
Donahue's office helps coordinate the resolutions process from intake to publication to post-RA implementation. "It's a massive undertaking," she said, "but it's essential to defining our agenda for the coming program year."
Every NYSUT local and Retiree Council has the opportunity to submit resolutions or amendments for consideration by RA delegates, regardless of whether they attend. The NYSUT Board of Directors also has the opportunity to submit policy considerations for action. Properly submitted resolutions and amendments are assigned to committees.
Delegates first debate proposed resolutions and amendments in committee, before recommending action to the full body. Delegates then vote whether to adopt, amend, or defeat the proposed policy.
Resolutions generally reflect members' issues and concerns. In the past, the RA has taken positions on such issues as school aid, increasing the number of full-time faculty in New York's public colleges and universities, mandatory overtime for health care professionals and Cost-of-Living Adjustments for retirees. Last year, among other things, delegates voted to protect the Taylor Law and Triborough Amendment, and increase awareness of buying union-made products.
Resolutions this year address the Occupy Wall Street movement, funding for teacher centers and legislative support for expanded school psychological services. The NYSUT Board also recommended resolutions on teacher preparation and assessments.
The deadline for submitting resolutions for the 2012 NYSUT RA was Jan. 30. The deadline for locals and Retiree Councils to submit proposed amendments to the NYSUT Constitution and Bylaws is close of business Friday, Feb. 24.
Look for all the proposed 2012 RA resolutions online at www.nysut.org in early March. Proposed constitutional and bylaw amendments will appear in the March issue of NYSUT United.