The 2023 NYSUT Representative Assembly is one for the books.
RA delegates elected NYSUT Officers and members of the NYSUT Board. Former NYSUT Executive Director and Political Director Melinda Person was elected president, and Jaime L. Ciffone, an educator of 21 years, was elected executive vice president. NYSUT Second Vice President Ron Gross and Secretary-Treasurer J. Philippe Abraham were both re-elected for three-year terms.
In convention action on Friday and Saturday, RA delegates considered 33 resolutions; six were approved on the floor and the remainder were referred to the NYSUT Board for consideration. Speaking in support of the resolution on Universal Transgender Rights and Protections, Jonathan Hansonbrook, Edgemont TA, urged fellow delegates to stand together for students and educators. “We live in a dark time, our brightest ideas are being darkened by those promoting hatred and bigotry,” he said. “We can’t allow this. If we as a union believe in equality, we must demonstrate these beliefs in our words and our actions. We must stand for all, or we stand for none.” The measure was overwhelmingly passed.
Delegates passed a special order of business calling for an end to over-testing; they also approved a constitutional amendment raising dues. “We’ve gone a long time without raising dues and now it’s time,” said Florence McCue, at-large ED 51-53 director. She noted that NYSUT avoided a dues increase for seven years, taking cost-cutting measures and raising revenues from sources such as renting out office space. “But for NYSUT to remain strong, now it’s time.”
The RA honored winners of several NYSUT awards including “Not For Ourselves Alone”: The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award, the Ken Kurzweil Social Justice Recognition Award and the NYSUT Lifeline Honor Roll. Winners of the union’s constituency awards and honors for members’ and locals’ community service were also recognized.
It’s fitting that the RA this year fell on Workers Memorial Day. Delegates on Friday observed a moment of silence for workers who have fallen on the job.
Beth Chetney, Baldwinsville Teachers Association, was endorsed to serve another term as a teacher-member on the New York State Teachers’ Retirement System Board of Directors. Her endorsement was boosted by fellow TRS teacher-member representatives Eric Iberger, Bayport-Blue Point Teachers Association, and Juliet Benaquisto, Schenectady Federation of Teachers.
Delegates heard from a host of labor and legislative heavyweights including AFT President Randi Weingarten, NEA President Becky Pringle, AFL-CIO President Liz Shuler, State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli and NYS Assemblymember Pat Fahy.
For full RA coverage visit nysut.org/RA.