MANHATTAN Oct. 24, 2019 — Unionized education professionals serving high-needs students will leaflet outside the annual Rising Ground gala at The Pierre Hotel Thursday evening. The educators will demand a contract that improves learning conditions for students and working conditions for employees at the Biondi Schools in the Bronx and Westchester County. They will call attention to the fact that Rising Ground — a $130 million organization that operates the Biondi Schools — refuses to provide modest resources to ensure students have a safe and healthy learning environment.
Members of the Biondi Labor Union of Essential Staff (BLUES) and others will leaflet from 5:45 to 7 p.m. Thursday outside The Pierre at the corner of East 61st Street and 5th Avenue as gala guests arrive. Members will carry signs calling out Rising Ground management, and BLUES members will be available for interviews with the media.
BLUES organized in 2012 to seek better, safer conditions for students and staff at the Biondi Elementary and Middle/High schools in the Bronx and Yonkers, respectively. BLUES members are still fighting for their first-ever contract, as management has shown little willingness to address key issues that would improve the schools for all, including chronic understaffing and the need for new safety measures.
BLUES represents more than 140 teachers, clinicians, teaching assistants and one-to-one teacher aides at both school campuses, which serve students with learning disabilities and emotional disabilities and/or who are dealing with trauma.
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.