NEW YORK, April 9, 2011 — Richard C. Iannuzzi was elected Saturday to his third term as president of New York State United Teachers.
Iannuzzi’s election capped off a full slate of NYSUT incumbents who were returned to their respective offices during the union’s 39th Representative Assembly: NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta of New York City, Vice Presidents Maria Neira of New York City and Kathleen Donahue of Hilton and Secretary-Treasurer Lee Cutler of Newburgh. All terms are for three years.
Iannuzzi, a resident of Smithtown who taught 34 years in Long Island's Central Islip School District, has made ending the achievement gap and expanding the union’s social justice role the cornerstones of his presidency. He was first elected in 2005 to succeed Tom Hobart, who led NYSUT for 33 years.
Iannuzzi will begin his latest term at a critical juncture for the labor movement, as issues like collective bargaining and seniority are under attack nationwide, and as public K-12 and higher education in New York struggle to cope with the devastating effects of more than $1 billion in cuts by state government.
Those cuts, in fact, come at a time when there are 15,000 fewer teachers and support staff in New York state public schools than two years ago, and as districts statewide expect to lay off at least 10,000 more employees in 2011-12.
Iannuzzi said he was grateful to the delegates for their support and valued the confidence that members have placed in him at this pivotal time. Addressing the attacks on labor nationwide, Iannuzzi told RA delegates:
“The road ahead will continue to be challenging. You know the issues and the challenges. … The battle will be fought here and won here. Not won or lost here, but won here. And that’s because of each of you and the work you do.”
NYSUT’s annual Representative Assembly is the union’s largest policy-making body, and was attended by some 3,000 delegates, staff and visitors this week. Delegates debated more than 50 resolutions, passing measures aimed at enhancing public K-12 and higher education, improving conditions in the workplace and expanding access to health care and other benefits for both active and retired members.
NYSUT represents 600,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care and retirees. The union is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.