Second-grade teacher Angela M. wishes she had been home when an uninvited representative of New Choice NY stopped by her home to try and convince her to drop her union membership.
When she saw the door hanger urging her to give herself “a raise,” the upstate educator was furious.
“It was upsetting to read the misleading information and blatant lies being placed on the doors in my neighborhood,” she said. “As a strong supporter of my teachers union, I felt violated knowing someone was at my home in an attempt to attack the union.”
If she had been home for the unwelcome visit, Angela would have told the $25-an-hour solicitor why she believes so strongly in the union.
“The union protected me in my time of need,” Angela said. It’s personal.
After her foster mother passed away last December, the longtime upstate teacher couldn’t believe that her district superintendent denied her request to use bereavement days.
“In addition to dealing with the loss of the one person who took me in, cared for me, and in essence saved me, I then had to fight for the use of days provided by our contract,” Angela said.
Fortunately, she wasn’t alone.
Working through her local union, NYSUT field staff filed and prosecuted a grievance on her behalf. After a hearing at the board of education level, the district was forced to settle the case and do the right thing.
“Without the support of my local union and the assistance provided by NYSUT, I would not have been able to fight for the legal use of bereavement days,” Angela said. That’s just one example of what the union has done for her.
“I only wish I could have been home when they came knocking to share the reality of what the union does,” Angela said. “Our real-life experiences and struggles are far different than those of the millionaires trying to brainwash the public and end unions. I don’t believe any hard-working American would give up their right for protection and representation if they truly understood what our unions do for us.”
In her note to NYSUT’s union buster email (firstname.lastname@example.org), Angela thanked the union for posting signs that members can print out and post to keep away union busters. “Union Household,” says one. “#DoNotKnock,” says another.
“Thank you for the signs to post,” Angela said. “The next time anyone comes to my door, they’ll know exactly what my family and I think of their propaganda.”