ALBANY, N.Y Aug. 31, 2017 – As New Yorkers prepare to celebrate Labor Day with barbecues and family outings, New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta said that, while organized labor is strong in New York, educators and other unionized workers still face threats from a rigged system that benefits corporations and the wealthy.
Pallotta, who leads the more than 600,000-member NYSUT, said:
“Educators and many other working people in New York State have built strong unions that give them a voice on the job and the strength in numbers to come together and negotiate fair pay, good benefits and dignified retirements. Unions historically have been and continue to be a path to the middle class, especially for women and communities of color. Our collective work lifts up families, supports students and makes our communities better places to live for everyone. As unionists, we are proud to raise our voices to win improvements that benefit all New Yorkers, such as better wages, affordable health care and great public schools and colleges.
“Although New York is a beacon in the national labor movement, educators and other working people here continue to face serious threats from big corporations, politicians and wealthy interests that use their power against working people. They want to silence teachers and paraprofessionals; nurses and doctors; professors and researchers who want to join together to advocate for better schools, colleges and hospitals. The latest example comes in Janus v. AFSCME, a case in which wealthy ideologues are petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court to strike at the freedom of people to come together and do this collective work on behalf of families and communities.
“While we enjoy our time off this weekend, it’s not enough to celebrate and thank organized labor for the eight-hour-day, overtime pay, safe working conditions and other benefits. We must also recommit to fight for the freedom of working people to join together in a strong labor movement.”
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.