February 2012
January 29, 2012

Locals in action

Source: NYSUT United
Caption: Left: Carletha Collins, a sixth-grade teacher at Abelard Reynolds School No. 42 in Rochester, praises student Nusaibah Abdul-Hakim for her positive attitude and attributes matching Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This year, 32 students were awarded the RTA Martin Luther King Award. Right: Rochester Teachers Association President Adam Urbanski acknowledges award recipient Myles Moore, a student at School No. 46, as Human Relations Committee Chair Yolanda Montalvo looks on.

Rochester Teachers Association

The Rochester TA recently celebrated its 29th annual Martin Luther King Jr. ceremony. The event allows RTA members the opportunity to recognize one student from each building who best represents the ideals King stood for and lived by.

Winning students were honored at a ceremony, with the nominating teacher sharing why the student deserved the award. RTA, a graduate of NYSUT's Local Action Project (LAP), a community outreach/coalition building initiative, also acknowledged the student's family — an important factor in each child's development.

Each student received a letter, a certificate and a medallion featuring King's image on the front and the recipient's name engraved on the back.

Professional Staff Congress

The Professional Staff Congress successfully negotiated an agreement with the City University of New York to continue the paid parental leave benefit without interruption for PSC members who meet eligibility guidelines. Money for the current benefit would otherwise have run out Dec. 31.

The PSC first won paid parental leave in the 2007-2010 contract, but that benefit was built on a fixed amount of cash. Now, paid parental leave will be a regular part of the contractual benefit package for PSC members employed full-time, after one year of service.

"While the current political and economic context means that progress on the overall collective bargaining agreement has been slow, the union continues to make progress on contract issues, such as this one, away from the table," said PSC President Barbara Bowen.

Baldwinsville TA

The Baldwinsville TA, also a NYSUT LAP local, recently raised $2,035 for NYSUT's Disaster Relief Fund. Before the holiday break, members and support staff took part in a raffle to raise the funds for members in need. The BTA is led by Elizabeth Chetney.

Since Sept. 1, 2011, in-service and retired members and local unions have donated about $168,000 to be used for grants to fellow members impacted by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. From those funds, 135 members received grants and 12 charities received aid. Hundreds of NYSUT locals have also assisted their union counterparts through the Adopt-a-School initiative.

Central Islip TA

Members of the Central Islip TA, led by Robert Molinaro, along with their students, responded in a big way to the local's annual holiday food drive. More than one ton of nonperishable food items was collected. In fact, it took a food pantry staffer four trips with the organization's van and three additional trips by CITA member Tara McGuire and CSEA member Fred Moss to transport the impressive haul to the Central Islip Civic Council's Betty Ford Food Pantry.

"It was overwhelming," said Jennifer Cicero, a CITA member and the local's Community Liaison chair. She was especially touched by the effort from students — some of whom may benefit from the food pantry themselves this year.

"We like to get the students involved to help them learn about giving," Cicero said. This is the seventh year that the local has conducted a food drive to benefit a community organization.