New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento saluted NYSUT for fighting and winning what he termed “constant, coordinated, all-out attacks on public education.”
He praised NYSUT members for staying active and mobilizing, and for participating and educating themselves on the issues facing them. Cilento also thanked members for inspiring unionists statewide through their efforts.
“You are the largest AFL-CIO affiliate, and when you get attacked, other union members take notice,” he said. “They know that if it can happen to you, it can happen to them.”
NYSUT helps grow the union movement by demonstrating the value of organizing for non-union workers, and inspiring other unionists to keep up the fight, he said. “We have 2.5 million members in the NYS AFL-CIO — we are the strongest and most successful union in the country,” said Cilento. “And that success is because of the work you do.”
Noting that messaging to legislators who don’t fully understand the work of educators — educators who help their students “socially and emotionally” — Cilento pledged to help NYSUT members make lawmakers “see educators through the eyes of their students.”