SCHOHARIE, N.Y. October 7, 2011 - From the moment Irene's floodwaters began to recede, the Schoharie Teachers Association, the union representing the district's teachers and staff, launched into action to save their community. Union members hauled away debris, mopped floors and helped their neighbors begin to put their lives back together.
The local union's effort to help its community recover from Irene takes a major step forward this weekend when Project S.T.A.Y. - standing for Schoharie Teachers and You - welcomes a busload of about 50 New York City teachers who will join some 200 other NYSUT-affiliated teachers and support staff from throughout the Capital Region in an effort to insulate up to 80 homes and businesses before winter. The New York City union contingent arriving Sunday will be led by United Federation of Teachers President Michael Mulgrew, a former carpenter.
President Martin Messner said, "As a union member, I have long known the value of solidarity. Perhaps one good thing that has come out of this disaster is that this community knows it can count on NYSUT, the UFT and a whole group of unions to work with us in times of need."
Photos: Schoharie Flood Cleanup - Sept. 2011
Messner said the STA, working with New York State United Teachers and local teachers' unions from throughout the Capital Region, has nearly $30,000 worth of insulation and supplies on-hand. The STA has identified about 80 homes, businesses, the town library and a church to be re-insulated by the volunteer force of union members. The floodwaters, he explained, ruined the buildings' insulation, which had to be torn out to protect against mold. Discounted insulation was provided by Home Depot which, along with tradespeople of the Schenectady and Capital Region labor federations, are helping to ensure volunteers install the insulation properly.
"Our goal is to help residents stay here in Schoharie. With cold weather fast approaching, this is an urgent need that has to be met -- and soon," Messner said.
Union volunteers will meet at the Schoharie High School on Main Street on both Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. Parking is on 136 Academy Drive.
The busload of New York City teachers represented by the UFT is expected to arrive at 10 a.m. on Sunday, October 9.
Teachers and support staff from Gloversville, Amsterdam, Galway, South Glens Falls, Saratoga, Johnstown, Schenectady and other Capital Region communities, including faculty and professionals from SUNY Cobleskill, are expected to join the insulation effort.
NYSUT, the largest union in New York State, represents more than 600,000 classroom teachers and other school employees and retirees; academic and professional faculty at the state's community colleges, State University of New York and City University of New York; and other education and health professionals. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO.