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molly reilly
Jan 18

Women are rising and letting their collective voices be heard

A lot of attention will be focused on women’s issues this weekend in speeches, gatherings and rallies, and NYSUT women are doing their part to ensure those issues remain front and center as they organize local committees statewide and support women candidates for office.

“We have a yearly platform that gets worldwide coverage and attention and elevates our issues to the front page of papers, all over social media… and the evening news,” said Jolene DiBrango, NYSUT executive vice president. “We still have a long way to go when it comes to income equality, laws that protect women against violence, and issues pertaining to women's health. On an international scale, we still have far too many women who don't have equal access to education and proper health services.”

NYSUT women are taking a stand politically, too.

“After generations of being forced to lower our voices and to take a backseat to others, we’re finally taking our seat at the table of governance,” said Molly Reilly, a teacher and mayor of Sackets Harbor in rural Jefferson County. “I also hope that the growing number of female voices in leadership is only the beginning.

“Thanks to our votes, 2019 is shaping up to be an historic year for women—from the groundbreaking number of women seated in the 116th Congress to the election of U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi to the position of House Speaker,” added Reilly, a member of the Jefferson-Lewis-Hamilton-Herkimer-Oneida BOCES Professional Association.

Kelley Hawksley, president of the Beaver River Teachers Association in Herkimer County, said she finds the growing women’s movement similar to the suffragette movement.

“In any activity you have strength in numbers… It’s very important to be visual,” said Hawksley.

Hawksley said women in the North Country face a wide array of challenges, including quality childcare, equal pay for equal work, cultural opportunity, employment opportunities, health care, respect from male coworkers and students, and access to educational opportunities. There is a high rate of poverty in her region, too, and feelings of isolation can be a big issue, she said.

“I just helped a student today with an application for HEAP (Home Energy Assistance Program). She’s the highest functioning member of her family,” said the rural math teacher, whose district is in a town where there is a gas station, dollar store, candy shop and one operating paper mill.

Kathy Briggs, a music teacher and president of the Lake Placid Educators Association, said three of the most pressing issues facing women in her region face are the lack of affordable day care, lack of medical specialists – including mental health professionals – and domestic abuse and the stigma surrounding it.

Briggs said she has one colleague who drives 40 miles a day for day care. Meanwhile, she said other colleagues have to drive several hours to Glens Falls or Burlington, Vt. for most types of specialty medicine, including dermatology.

There are also even heavier concerns.

“The rates of domestic abuse are higher in the North Country than other parts of the state. St. Lawrence County just hired three additional staff members to handle the high caseload of child abuse and neglect cases there,” Briggs said.

Paul Pecorale, NYSUT second vice president, said that, in his travels throughout the state, he sees inequities in women’s health care even for women with health insurance. There should be a normalized, proper care for health necessities, said Pecorale, who will be walking to lend his voice to women’s causes and concerns.

DiBrango has been encouraging NYSUT women to start women’s committees in their own local unions. Sandie Carner-Shafran is one of the women union leaders who heeded that call.

“What inspired me was being part of NYSUT’s first women’s conference, then the women’s committee. Jolene said to go out and build it,” she said. “We’re going to take this on.”

The fledgling SABEA women’s committee will meet Jan. 29 to hone their areas of concern, then officially kick off the committee Feb. 26 at a meeting that DiBrango will attend.

Quoting author and activist G.D. Anderson, DiBrango said: “’Feminism isn't about making women stronger. Women are already strong. It's about changing the way the world perceives that strength.’”

“Women,” DiBrango said, “are rising all over the state and nation and letting their collective voices be heard. We won't stop showing up and speaking out until women have equal rights in all aspects of their lives.”

nysut candidate pipeline 2.0
Jan 18

NYSUT Candidate Pipeline 2.0: Regional Trainings


The world would be a better place if you ran for office!

One of the clearest lessons of the 2018 elections was that when more good people run for office, more good people are elected. Similarly, when more pro-education candidates run, more pro-education candidates win.

It's that simple.

And that's the idea behind the NYSUT Candidate Pipeline for our members.

Interested in running for office in New York? Check out the locations, schedule and contact info below for the NYSUT Candidate Pipeline 2.0!

From your local school board to city hall to Albany and beyond, you can make a difference by running for office!


NYSUT Candidate Pipeline 2.0: Regional Calendar

Dates are subject to change. Please contact your Regional Political Organizer for additional information.

Capital District

  • Session Dates: #1 February 6; #2 February 13; #3 February 27; #4 March 6; #5 March 13; #6 March 27
  • Time: 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
  • Location: NYSUT Capital District Regional Office, 800 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, NY, 12110-2455
  • Regional Political Organizer: Randy Gunther, (518) 231-8199, rgunther@nysutmail.org

Nassau

  • Session Dates: #1 March 11; #2 March 18; #3 March 25; #4 April 8; #5 April 15; #6 April 22, 2019
  • Time: 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
  • Location: NYSUT Nassau Regional Office, 1000 Woodbury Road, Woodbury,NY, 11797
  • Regional Political Organizer: Jeff Friedman, (516) 670-7834, jfriedma@nysutmail.org

Rochester

  • Session Dates: #1 February 28; #2 March 7; #3 March 14; #4 March 21; #5 March 28; #6 April 4, 2019
  • Time: 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
  • Location: NYSUT Rochester Regional Office, Union Place, 30 North Union Street, Rochester, NY, 14607
  • Regional Political Organizer: Paul Hypolite, (937) 207-5337, phypolit@nysutmail.org

Southern Tier

  • Session Dates: #1 February 28; #2 March 7; #3 March 14; #4 March 21, 2019 #5 March 28; #6 April 4, 2019
  • Time: 4:30 pm - 7:00 pm
  • Location: NYSUT Southern Tier Regional Office, 305 Vestal Parkway West, Vestal, NY, 13850
  • Regional Political Organizer: Ian Phillips, (315) 406-4386, iphillip@nysutmail.org

Tarrytown

  • Session Dates: #1 February 27; #2 March 6; #3 March 11; #4 March 18; #5 March 26; #6 April 5, 2019
  • Time: 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
  • Location: NYSUT Tarrytown Regional Office, 520 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY 10591
  • Regional Political Organizer: Mike Grubiak, (914) 391-8850, mgrubiak@nysutmail.org

Western NY

  • Session Dates: #1 February 13; #2 February 27; #3 March 13; #4 March 20; #5 March 27; #6 April 3, 2019
  • Time: 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm
  • Location: NYSUT Western NY Regional Office, Centerpointe Corporate Park, 270 Essjay Road, Williamsville, NY 14221-8276
  • Regional Political Organizer: Louisa Pacheco, (716) 560-3880, lpacheco@nysutmail.org

 

no permanent tax cap
Jan 18

TAKE ACTION: Don't let them make the tax cap permanent.


How do you make a bad law even worse?

By making it permanent.

Earlier this week, State Senate leadership announced support for making the tax cap in New York permanent, and yesterday, Senator Gaughran introduced S. 1904, which would do just that. A provision of the Executive Budget also seeks to do the same. However, this would be an extraordinary mistake that would make permanent the severe harm that the tax cap does to local districts, students, and public education!

Take action now at the NYSUT Member Action Center to contact your State Senators TODAY to tell them that you oppose any legislation that would make the current tax cap permanent without key reforms!

The tax cap places an unconstitutional supermajority requirement on votes for school budgets seeking to increase the school funding tax levy by more than 2 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less. The tax cap affects students all across New York but hurts our poorest districts the most, placing the most severe limits on their ability to raise funds and punishing parents and other taxpayers in low-wealth districts who try to provide more funding for their children.

NYSUT opposes making the tax cap permanent without the enactment of key reforms that would ensure that this policy would not continue to harm our students and public education.

Take action now at the NYSUT Member Action Center to contact your State Senators TODAY to tell them that you oppose any legislation that would make the current tax cap permanent without key reforms!

There is no time to wait! We need to take action TODAY!

In solidarity,

Andrew Pallotta
NYSUT President

P.S.: Don’t let them make the tax cap even worse by making it permanent! Take action NOW!

Jan 17

SCHOOL AID RUNS: Your district's proposed funding for the 2019-20 state budget

School aid runs based on the executive budget proposal for 2019-20 are now available.

Use the Excel spreadsheet to compare your district's projected state aid for 2019-20 to funding for 2018-19. Open the document on your desktop computer and use the yellow drop-down menu (cell B1) to select your district from the alphabetical listing.

Comparison Data

school aid data

Additional Resources

NYSUT Women
Jan 17

Women’s committees are forming in local unions across the state to address concerns and empower members

This weekend’s women’s rallies will be a springboard to launch a union-based Western New York Women’s Committee to deal with roadblocks and resistance that females face at work and in their community.

The group will be the newest link in a chain of nascent women’s committees statewide working to raise women’s voices personally, professionally and politically — all of them spinoffs from NYSUT’s own statewide Women’s Committee.

“Although opportunities and improvements have been made, there continue to be inequities for women in the workforce: salary, family medical and leave options, and accessible and affordable childcare,” said Kenmore Teachers Association union activist Elaine Ablove.

The committee work began with a gathering earlier this week. In the house were Erie County women from Kenmore TA, West Seneca TA and the Buffalo Teachers Federation, who filled out information cards listing the issues important to them.

“Our intention is to create an atmosphere of interest and concern in one another. We know of many issues women face. However, we do not know which of these issues deeply resonate for our union sisters,” Ablove said.

Ablove and co-creator Cheryl Hughes agree that working on women’s issues with the union means starting with a powerful foundation and creating a movement that enables each member to be empowered.

Since NYSUT established a statewide Women’s Committee in 2017, more local unions are starting groups. There is a wide base to cull from: 76 percent of NYSUT’s membership is women.

Karen Arthmann — president of the Rush Henrietta Employees Association and a member of the NYSUT committees for women, School-Related Professionals and civil and human rights — is laying groundwork to form a women’s group with union sisters at BOCES I in Fairport.

“The national women’s movement, as well as NYSUT’s campaign to empower women, certainly has inspired us to go local,” Arthmann said. “It has to start at home. You can’t go to Washington to march, or to Albany to be on a committee, if you don’t do your hard work at home.”

In the North Country, members of the Massena Federation of Teachers formed their women’s committee in October. Like most any professional gathering of teachers, education will be part of their conversations.

“The committee offers women educational opportunities surrounding self care, harassment, medical/insurance issues, and a group to turn to when support is needed,” said English teacher and leader Andrea Vierno. “We see issues that are related to retirement incentives. If a woman has used time for maternity leave and child care, particularly if it was taken without pay, it creates a loss of seniority and qualifications for retirement incentives.”

On the college level, union sisters at United College Employees working at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City also formed a committee last fall.

“Women’s issues were repeatedly brought to the UCE for future negotiations,” said union president Roberta Elins, adding that since the faculty has expertise in various subjects, members would be tapped to provide educational speakers on topics the committee is eager to learn about.

“The initial goals are to have the women of our committee start by prioritizing what they want to see happen both at FIT and externally,” she said. “We are going to let the members chart the course. Some of the items will be bargaining items. Other goals are political action.”

Read Across America
Jan 16

Discounts for educators from First Book and NEA

Discounts for educators are available from First Book & NEA to celebrate the 21st annual Read Across America, Saturday, March 2, 2019.

First Book is proud to partner with the NEA to highlight a wide range of engaging and diverse stories. Celebrate Read Across America every day with these amazing books!

What is Read Across America?

NEA's Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss.

For discounts go here.  For more information on Read Across America, visit www.nea.org/readacross.

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