NYSUT is a federation of approximately 1,325 local
unions representing more than 600,000 members
statewide. NYSUT members serve in a variety of
capacities, including teachers, School-Related
Professionals, academic and professional faculty
in higher education, professionals in education and
health care, municipal, county and state professionals,
employees in libraries and nonprofit organizations, and
retirees. They belong to local affiliates ranging in size from the 200,000-member
United Federation of Teachers in New York City to locals of fewer than 10
members. More than 95 percent of the teachers in New York’s public
elementary and secondary schools are members of NYSUT, along with many
other pre-K-12 school employees, including teacher aides and teaching
assistants, secretaries, custodians, bus drivers, food service personnel, health
care professionals, nurses, security personnel and therapists. NYSUT also
represents private school and charter school employees.
The academic and professional staffs of the State University, City University
and many community colleges and private-sector colleges are members, as
are thousands of nurses, psychologists, physicians and other professionals in
health care facilities and other governmental agencies. When NYSUT members
retire, they enjoy lifetime membership in both NYSUT and the American
Federation of Teachers, one of our two national affiliates. Retirees can join
NYSUT’s other national affiliate, the National Education Association.
This guide provides new
members with an overview of
NYSUT. While much of the
information relates to issues of
concern to pre-K-12 members,
information of interest to other
constituencies is included, as well.
Members make their voices heard by electing local delegates who represent
them at NYSUT’s annual convention, which is called the NYSUT Representative Assembly, or the NYSUT RA. The NYSUT RA is NYSUT’s highest policy-making
body, except for a membership referendum.
NYSUT delegates are elected to one- to three-year terms by secret ballot of
each local’s membership. Their terms vary according to local constitutions.
These delegates elect the five NYSUT statewide officers, and the 82-member
Board of Directors, to three-year terms. Delegates vote on policy resolutions
and amendments to the NYSUT constitution and bylaws that determine the
governance and policies of the union. Many delegates
represent their locals at labor council meetings and
at election district meetings held by NYSUT board
members to hear local concerns and inform locals of
NYSUT’s efforts on their behalf.
The NYSUT Board of Directors meets at
least quarterly to conduct business between
RAs. A 21-member executive committee
meets 10 times a year. Each NYSUT local
elects its own leadership, operates under
a local constitution and “owns” its
collective bargaining agreement.
NYSUT uses special task forces and
standing committees to help gather information
on timely issues and to initiate policy and position statements for submission to
the Board of Directors and RA. Certain constituencies of the membership have
their own representatives on the Board, providing input to all Board
discussions. Health care, retirees, public and private higher education and
School-Related Professionals are all groups that have Board representatives.
The standing committees and task forces currently constituted are BOCES
Statewide Conference Planning, Community Colleges, Financial Review,
Higher Education, Career and Technical Education, Political Action, Retiree,
School-Related Professionals, Small and Rural Locals, Civil & Human Rights,
LGBTQ, womens issues, Committee of 100, Task Force on Education Policy,
Educational Technology, Health & Safety, Special Education, Early Childhood,
English Language Learners and Teacher Centers. NYSUT also has eight content-
area committees that advise the organization regarding the standards and
assessments in Pre-K-12 schools. They help NYSUT provide a professional
response to Regents’ initiatives.
NYSUT employs more than 400 people at its Albany headquarters and
16 regional offices to carry out union programs and to serve affiliates and
members. With the exception of the metro locals, every bargaining unit has a
NYSUT labor relations specialist.
NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers and
the National Education Association. It is an active participant in the
organized labor movement and affiliated with the state and national
AFL-CIO and Education International, a worldwide association of teacher
unions. NYSUT partners with several community and human rights groups,
and its members work closely with groups such as the American Cancer
Society, American Heart Association, United Way and the Labor-Religion
Coalition of NYS, of which NYSUT is a founding member.
Members pay local, NYSUT and AFT or NEA dues through their locals. Dues
provide resources for the unions to serve members. Each local determines
its dues structure, but must include provisions (pass-through) for state and
national affiliates. NYSUT RA delegates vote on NYSUT dues, while delegates to
the NEA and AFT conventions set national dues.
What Every NYSUT Member Should Know About...