March 29, 2016

RA 2016 Preview: New York State UNITED

Source: NYSUT Communications
ra 2016

The 2016 NYSUT RA, April 8–9 in Rochester, will celebrate the unity and solidarity of our statewide federation with the theme: New York State United!

More news, info and resources are online at www.nysut.org/ra.

ON THIS PAGE:


New York State UNITED

RA 2016 - New York United 

Every year, the NYSUT Representative Assembly closes with delegates joining hands and singing "Solidarity Forever." Undeniably known as labor's anthem, the song and the shared experience of coming together sends delegates on the road back to their respective communities with the lasting impression of our collective strength.

The 2016 NYSUT RA, April 8–9 in Rochester, will celebrate the unity and solidarity of our statewide federation with the theme: New York State United!

The 44th annual RA represents 10 years since the convention was held in the Flower City — and 10 years since NYSUT and the former NEA/New York joined to become one union.

More than 2,000 delegates, elected by local unions, are expected to attend the fast-paced, two-day convention. The business will include debate on 35 resolutions and four resolutions reaffirming existing policy. Delegates will also consider three proposed constitutional amendments.

Resolutions range from encouraging collaboration between K–12 and higher education locals and continuing advocacy against inappropriate testing, to calling for a repeal of the state's draconian receivership law and defending collective bargaining rights.

Resolutions on health care and workplace safety include a call for establishing safe maximum temperatures in classrooms and mandating social workers in all public schools.

Elections are also on the agenda. Delegates will elect one NEA State Director. Since this is an election year for all of our state legislators as well; the agenda promises to brim with political personalities who want to reach out for the invaluable support of NYSUT's membership.

As of presstime, confirmed speakers include AFT President Randi Weingarten, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and state AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento.


Your RA credentials are in the mail!

ra 2016 

Your badge will be validated once you stop at credentialing, hand in your signed credential card, present a photo ID and sign your badge in front of the Credentials Committee. You will also receive your green delegate lanyard at registration. This now registers you as a delegate to the RA.

Once you have completed the registration process, your badge allows you access into the RA sessions and special events, delegate seating, voting rights on the convention floor and rights to speak to resolutions during the convention. The peach and light blue stickers on your badge allow you to participate in elections.

For those attending the pre-RA conference, please bring the enclosed credentials to conference registration.

You MUST bring your credential form and badge with you to Rochester, go to the credentialing area and complete the process to become a registered delegate.

What's going on: schedule at-a-glance

FRIDAY, APRIL
8 7–8:30 a.m. Credentials Committee Meeting
9 a.m.–7:15 p.m. Convention Registration
9 a.m.–1:30 p.m. NYSUT Services and Benefits on Display
9 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Political Action Center
11–11:30 a.m. Elections Committee Meeting
11–11:30 a.m. Resolutions and Amendments Committees Chairpersons Meeting
11–11:45 a.m. New Delegate Orientation
11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Sergeants and Tellers Meeting
12 p.m. Committee selection closes
2–3 p.m. GENERAL SESSION #1
3–4:15 p.m. Caucus Meetings
3–7:15 p.m. NYSUT Services and Benefits on Display
3–7:15 p.m. Political Action Center
4:30–6 p.m. Resolutions and Amendments Committees Meetings
6–7:15 p.m. Award Winners Celebration — open to all delegates
6:30 p.m. Credentialing to vote closes
7:30–9:45 p.m. GENERAL SESSION #2
10 p.m. Elections

SATURDAY, APRIL 9
8–9:30 a.m. Convention Registration
9 a.m.–Adjournment GENERAL SESSION #3


Follow the RA on your phone

ra 2016 

NYSUT will provide RA info and updates for smartphone users throughout the convention. News, schedule information and more will be published and accessible to users of Internet-enabled phones. Visit www.nysut.org/ra for RA information throughout the convention.


Women, Friedrichs lead agenda

More than 300 NYSUT leaders will kick off the business of the annual convention at the pre-RA Local and Retiree Council Presidents Conference, April 7–8. The opening luncheon features a dialogue with the NYSUT officers.

On Friday morning, White Plains Teachers Association President Kerry Broderick and Dante Morelli, Faculty Association of Suffolk County Community College member, will provide an overview and a few examples of the NYSUT Women's Steering Committee's work thus far, along with a glimpse of what's to come.

NYSUT President Karen E. Magee re-established the committee to "fully address the challenges women face and the strategies needed to solve them."

With an overarching theme of energizing and mobilizing members, the pre-RA conference will also include information about the latest on the state budget and important changes to federal education policy; the implications of the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case and beyond; and NYSUT's "Pledge to Vote" campaign.

Leaders will attend several breakout sessions. The session for retirees will focus on increasing retiree voting strength in the 2016 general election. School- Related Professionals leaders will discuss engaging members through critical issues. Higher education leaders will attend a meeting of the union's Higher Education Policy Council.

All local presidents conference events take place at the Radisson.


Rochester... a musical mecca

Home to one of the world's premier conservatories, the Eastman School of Music, Rochester's heritage is spangled with stars and inspiring innovators.

International superstar soprano Renee Fleming grew up in Rochester, and both her parents taught music in the city schools. Bass-baritone William Warfield, a pioneering African-American singer, also grew up and went to school in the city.

Singalong maestro Mitch Miller came from Rochester, as did bandleader Cab Calloway. Composer Alec Wilder called Rochester home. Jazzman Chuck Mangione was born, raised and educated in the city, too. In that tradition, local students from Palmyra-Macedon High School and Rochester's School of the Arts will regale delegates with their talent Friday.

Available Thursday evening? Check out the Eastman Opera Theatre (corner of Main and Gibbs streets) production of Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart. Performance starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $25–$35.


Saturday is hockey night

The Rochester Americans take on the Lake Erie Monsters at 7:35 p.m. Saturday at the Blue Cross Arena (across the river from the convention center). NYSUT tickets, $8 each, are available at www.amerks.com/nysut.


Elections 2016

Delegates to the NYSUT RA will elect one NEA State Director. To be eligible to vote, RA delegates must register by 6:30 p.m. Friday, April 8. Local delegates should plan to meet their ranking delegate at a predetermined location in the convention hall before going to receive their ballots. Further instructions will be provided to all delegates by the Chair of the NYSUT Elections Committee prior to voting. Please note this is a secret ballot election.


Dress/run/walk the part

ra 2016 

Not sure what to wear at the hottest union social event of the year? Packing for this year's RA is as easy as 1,2,3.

1. Friday is Union Pride day. Wear your local union T-shirt, sweatshirt, polo, headband ... whatever you have. Don't be surprised if one of our photographers asks you to smile for the camera.

2. Saturday morning starts with a 5K fun run/walk along Rochester's scenic waterway. Pack comfy workout gear and meet at 7 a.m. in the Convention Center lobby. Remember to email pboughtw@nysutmail.org by March 30 if you'll participate.

3. Don't miss your chance to model the latest in American-made, union-made fashion during Saturday's general session. Visit NYSUT Services & Benefits on Display (located in Empire Hall North) to get your very own RA logo T-shirt. You'll need to show your badge to secure the threads.


Valuable info and prizes

Check out NYSUT Benefits & Services on Display, highlighting the best programs and services the union has to offer. Booths are open from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 3 to 7:15 p.m. Friday, April 8 in the Empire Hall North.

NYSUT staff will be on hand at a wide variety of booths to answer your questions. Providers of NYSUT Member Benefits-endorsed programs will give away prizes and provide information about their programs. There will be plenty of chances to win prizes donated by various NYSUT departments, AFT, NEA and other vendors. Entry forms, available in your RA kit or at the NYSUT Member Benefits booth, must be submitted in the door prize box by 7:15 p.m. Friday night.


Need to know: hotels, shuttles

Six official RA hotels will house delegates, alternates, visitors, guests and staff for this year's RA in Rochester. You should have received your hotel confirmation by now. If there are any errors or you need to make changes, contact your hotel directly.

Most convention hotels are within walking distance of the convention center.

NYSUT will provide shuttle bus service for RA and Local & Retiree Council Presidents Conference activities, and between the convention center and two hotels: Doubletree and the Lexington. Retirees from RC 5 and 6 will staff information tables at official RA hotels from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, April 8.

Hotel phone numbers, area code 585:

  • Doubletree, 475-1510
  • Hilton Garden Inn, 232-5000
  • Lexington (formerly known as
  • Holiday Inn Airport), 328-6000
  • Holiday Inn Downtown, 546-3450
  • Hyatt Regency, 546-1234
  • Radisson Hotel Rochester Riverside, 546-6400

Keep the clock

Please adhere to the program and be seated 15 minutes before each session begins.


Meeting notice

Friends of Bill W. meetings will take place at 1 p.m. Friday and 7:30 a.m. Saturday in the Wilson Boardroom at the Hyatt Regency.


Your vote, your voice

pledge to vote 

You don't need Snap! to tell you you've "got the power."

But if you need a reminder, stop by the NYSUT Political Action Center in Empire Hall Lobby. There you can learn about the union's Member Action Center — and contact your elected officials on the spot.

The MAC offers one of the fastest and easiest ways to lobby state legislators. While you're at the PAC, take the pledge and commit to voting. This is a critical election year and we need every member to register — and turn out — for primaries and on Election Day in November. Complete the above mentioned tasks and you'll be entered into a drawing for one of two Apple Watches.


Visitors welcome

All visitors to the convention need a delegate sponsor. Badges for visitors pre-registered since the last Delegate Bulletin will be in your next mailing. Badges for visitors will be available at visitor registration in Empire Hall North.

Delegates will be assured of seating in the delegate section. Seating for visitors will be available in a designated area of the hall.


A salute to member excellence

ra 2016 

One of the highlights of the annual NYSUT convention is the opportunity to recognize the hard work of members from across the state — and across constituency groups. The RA will also recognize the dedication of local unions to building up their communities and members who helped save a life.

Award winners:

Dana McDonough, a second-grade teacher and member of the Newburgh Teachers Association, is the 46th New York State Teacher of the Year. McDonough sets high standards for herself and her students, and uses every resource at her disposal to ensure that her students are successful and feel valued, welcome and accepted.

"Not for Ourselves Alone:" The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award this year will go to Lorna Baptiste (UFT) and Cecelia McCall, Ph.D. (Professional Staff Congress).

Until her recent retirement, Baptiste had served for many years as assistant director of the UFT Welfare Fund. She started at the UFT more than three decades ago. Early in her career, serving as a member services representative at the fund, she distinguished herself as an incredible advocate for members and their dependents.

Professor McCall has been involved in the PSC for 45 years and in progressive politics even longer. All of her work, from her scholarship to her teaching, from her civil rights activism to her work as an officer of the PSC, and now her leadership in the Social Safety Net campaign, has been premised on the idea that we cannot exist "for ourselves alone."

School-Related Professionals Member of the Year Sandra Carner-Shafran of the Saratoga Adirondack BOCES Educators Association is described as the consummate union member, exemplifying what a union sister or brother is all about. In addition to working to improve the lives of SRPs in her community, she is a longtime member of the NYSUT Board working to advance causes important to SRPs across the state.

Retiree Members of the Year are Vincent T. Gaglione (UFT) and Barbara A. Keilty-Michaleski (Retiree Council 18). Long active in both NYSUT and the UFT as an in-service member, Gaglione continued his activism in retirement. He believes in the importance of "paying it forward." His work in retirement is a commitment to maintaining and strengthening the solidarity and ideals won through the American labor movement.

Keilty-Michaleski, a retired elementary school teacher, has continued to be a vocal union activist by serving on many levels — RC 18 president, Retiree Advisory Committee member, NYSUT delegate, AFT delegate and liaison for her West Hempstead EA. She is known as a dynamic role model for union activism, a motivator and a problem solver.

Roberta Elins (United College Employees of Fashion Institute of Technology) and Jasmin A. Smith (United Clerical and Technical Staff) are the Higher Education Members of the Year.

Elins' commitment to unionism, diversity and dedicated leadership extends to her work with UCE–FIT and her statewide union. She chairs the NYSUT Higher Education Policy Council and is a member of the AFT Program and Policy Council. Elins maintains a popular online newsletter and has raised more than $70,000 for the union's Making Strides efforts.

Smith was motivated to become more involved in her union when UCATS fought back against a plan to make members pay for a potentially costly clerical error made by the university. The situation motivated Smith to become a shop steward. Later, she was the driving force behind member engagement after the university implemented an ill-conceived job-sharing plan.

Health Care Professionals Members of the Year are Cathleen M. Cavanagh (Patchogue-Medford Professional Nurses Association) and Mindy Karten Bornemann (United Federation of Teachers).

A high school nurse, Cavanagh volunteers every Saturday at a soup kitchen in which her local union is very involved. For many years, she was president of the nurses bargaining unit, and in 2013, the Patchogue-Medford Congress of Teachers recognized her for everything she does for the students and staff, as well as the community.

Bornemann is a chapter leader and the chairperson for more than 3,000 UFT speech therapists. A certified speech therapist, Bornemann was instrumental in establishing a long distance learning program for those who wished to get a master's degree. She also helped establish a community-based speech clinic.

Emerging leader Dawn Townsend (Cobleskill-Richmondville TA) will receive the Sandy Feldman Leadership Grant. A newer local president, Townsend is committed to building understanding, respect and involvement. She plans to use the grant to help create programs that will build relationships and ties between her membership and the union.


WHAT'S GOING ON: Schedule At-A-Glance

FRIDAY, APRIL 8

7–8:30 a.m.
Credentials Committee Meeting

9 a.m.–7:15 p.m.
Convention Registration

9 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
NYSUT Services and Benefits on Display

9 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
Political Action Center

11–11:30 a.m.
Elections Committee Meeting

11–11:30 a.m.
Resolutions and Amendments Committees Chairpersons Meeting

11–11:45 a.m.
New Delegate Orientation

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Sergeants and Tellers Meeting

12 p.m.
Committee selection closes

2–3 p.m.
GENERAL SESSION #1

3–4:15 p.m.
Caucus Meetings

3–7:15 p.m.
NYSUT Services and Benefits on Display

3–7:15 p.m.
Political Action Center

4:30–6 p.m.
Resolutions and Amendments Committees Meetings

6–7:15 p.m.
Award Winners Celebration — open to all delegates

6:30 p.m.
Credentialing to vote closes

7:30–9:45 p.m.
GENERAL SESSION #2

10 p.m.
Elections

SATURDAY, APRIL 9

8–9:30 a.m.
Convention Registration

9 a.m.–Adjournment
GENERAL SESSION #3