Two NYSUT locals harnessed the power of solidarity to help elect three pro-union, pro-education school board candidates in the May elections in Greece this year. The Greece Teachers Association and the Association of Greece Central Educational Professionals teamed with the district’s other unions, the Greece Administrators and Supervisory Association and the Teamsters, to help re-elect Sean McCabe and William Maloney and elect newcomer Todd Butler, to the school board.
“We want to support people who will support the district,” said Brian Ebertz, Greece TA president and NYSUT Board member. He noted that concerns arose after two candidates elected last year spoke against teacher tenure and questioned equity and inclusion policies. A candidate this year suggested implementing an evaluation process for schoolbooks, one that would allow parents to vote on which books are allowed in schools. “People were bringing their personal agendas [to the board] and they don’t support the community as a whole.”
After a series of interviews, the coalition’s endorsement board recommended McCabe, Maloney and Butler for endorsement, and got to work. They posted campaign signs, mailed over 16,000 pieces to NYSUT-represented staff, retirees and households with school-aged children, sent over 7,000 texts and had nearly 50 volunteers canvassing local communities and making phone calls.
Election day saw the union-endorsed candidates sweep all three open seats by wide margins. “It was a good feeling, seeing how dominant our candidates were at the polls,” said Ebertz who felt the community was sending a message due to higher-than-normal voter turnout. “As unionists, we have a responsibility to students, staff and the greater Greece community — we’re committed to working collaboratively with the district toward continuous improvement.”