“I’m really interested in getting our union more involved in what’s happening outside our walls,” said Anna Marriott, a health teacher, member of the Waterloo Education Association and new delegate to the NYSUT Representative Assembly.
She was one of more than 100 new delegates at a Friday morning session designed to help them navigate the RA, where NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino told unionists: “You are going to give the charge to NYSUT for the next three years.”
As an outgoing vice president, she told the group that the resolutions passed at the RA “are what guided me.” She thanked the new delegates for being leaders in the union.
Alan Lubin, NYSUT executive vice president emeritus, led the delegates through the steps of how the RA works, explaining how joining committees is where their voices can be heard and where resolutions are shaped before they come to the floor for a full vote. He explained that voting would take place to elect five NYSUT officers and other members of the Board of Directors — more than 40 election district directors and nearly three dozen at-large directors.
“I encourage you to go to the microphones,” said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee, who is not seeking re-election. “The goal is to move forward what’s important to the union.”
Those tenets include protecting funding for public education, quality health care, women’s rights, equality, inclusion and much more.
“Our enemies are going after what we fundamentally believe is right,” Magee said. "We will only survive if we bring newer people in.”
One of them is Marriott, who serves as secretary in the Waterloo EA. She is also co-director of the Waterloo Teacher Resource Center.
“I’m here to learn more. It’s nice to be part of something not just in my own local,” she said.
She is involved in political action, and a few years ago helped put together a forum on educational issues for several Seneca County-area unions.
The forum, she said, was in response to the governor’s attacks on teachers and on unions.
She wants to direct political action energy toward helping to restore funding for public schools, and for teacher centers “which are always on the block,” she said.
Jonathan McClement, a member of the Albany PSTA, has been a physical education teacher for 28 years, and has been on the AFT program and policy committee, but this is his first RA.
“I want to maintain interest and stay informed,” he said. “This is an opportunity to meet fellow educators and labor leaders.”