April Issue
March 31, 2014

RA 2014: Nearly 3000 delegates bound for New York

Author: By Kara Smith
Source: NYSUT United
new york city

A record number of delegates are expected at the 42nd annual NYSUT Representative Assembly April 4-6 in New York City.

Nearly 3,000 locally elected delegates, representing almost 500 locals, will deliberate and vote on resolutions that, if approved, set union policy and agenda. They also will elect all five NYSUT officers and all 76 members of the NYSUT Board of Directors.

The 55 resolutions include calling for the removal of State Education Commissioner John King Jr.; withdrawing support for the Common Core State Standards as implemented; opposing the rushed implementation of edTPA — Educative Teacher Performance Assessment — a new test for initial teaching certification; supporting SUNY Downstate; safeguarding academic freedom; supporting a mandate for full-day kindergarten; calling for a school nurse in every building; supporting the Women's Equality Act; and opposing the use of the chained CPI to calculate Social Security cost-of-living adjustments.

NYSUT President Emeritus Tom Hobart, dubbed "Mr. NYSUT" on the April 2005 cover of New York Teacher, will receive the union's highest honor, the Albert Shanker Award for Distinguished Service. A pivotal figure in the founding of NYSUT, Hobart was the statewide union's first president, serving 33 years and outlasting five New York governors and seven U.S. presidents.

Several other outstanding members across constituencies will also be feted.

Guest speakers include state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten, National Education Association Executive Director John Stocks and New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento.

Delegates will also pay tribute to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated 50 years ago on April 4 in Memphis, and to musician and union activist Pete Seeger, who died in January at the age of 94.

More than 400 local and retiree council presidents are to attend the pre-RA conference. Featured speaker is AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre, a political refugee who emigrated from Ethiopia to the U.S. as a teenager. He is energizing the labor movement and building its strength through progressive partnerships and organizing.

To keep up with the news during the convention, visit www.nysut.org/ra.

Support disaster relief

Following a successful fundraising campaign at the RA last year, NYSUT delegates will again be asked to donate to the union's Disaster Relief Fund. Donors to the fund can enter drawings for an iPad Mini that will be held during each of the two RA sessions on Saturday and the one session on Sunday.