NYSUT aids colleagues in other states
Whether it was through the picket line, social media or collecting petition signatures, NYSUT members in recent weeks were busy helping fellow teachers defend attacks on their profession.
Last month, NYSUT members and staff joined the South Burlington (Vt.) Educators Association on the picket line during the union's four-day strike in protest of failed contract negotiations and unfair labor practices. A tentative agreement was reached on Oct. 19 and teachers returned to the classroom the following day. A new contract was ratified Oct. 21.
When more than 350 teachers in Reynoldsburg, Ohio, staged a 15-day strike in late September, NYSUT members also displayed their solidarity. Teachers in the Columbus suburb were engaged in a long-standing battle to improve school conditions and defend against the imposition of a merit pay plan. NYSUT members took to Facebook and other social media to voice their support. A new contract was put in place there in mid-October.
NYSUT members also stood behind the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers last month. When a School Reform Committee voted to cancel the city's contract with its teachers in order to impose unilateral changes in teachers' health care contributions, NYSUT members signed petitions protesting the SRC move. A judge in late October granted the teachers' union a preliminary injunction to stop the SRC action.
Petition: UCATS stands up for students
From left: UCATS Vice President Christopher Crowe and shop stewards Joan Randolph and Barbara Bova urge NYU President John Sexton to decline a bonus and instead help students with financial aid.
The Union of Clerical, Administrative and Technical Staff at New York University, led by NYSUT Board member Stephen Rechner, is circulating a petition calling on NYU President John Sexton to decline a $2.5 million dollar bonus from the university.
The UCATS petition calls on Sexton, who already earns $1.5 million a year, to instead direct the money to student financial aid.
"President Sexton's scheduled bonus is symbolic of everything that has gone wrong with our country," Rechner said. "The NYU Board of Trustees is soaking those least able to pay — their students — to provide one already excessively compensated individual with still more money."
The NYSUT affiliate has until Jan. 14 to convince Sexton to "take the high road and decline the bonus," Rechner said. The trustees are expected to give Sexton the bonus on Jan. 15.
Add your name to the petition. Visit http://tinyurl.com/kycxqc3.
Buffalo teachers rally to support public schools
Buffalo Teachers Federation members, from left, Melissa Sullivan, Jessica Gilmartin and Caitlin Pilliod, all teachers from Lafayette High School, join teachers, students and parents at a City Hall rally to support public schools. NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer Martin Messner also participated. Teachers sent a strong message of solidarity to school board members, who recently voted to close Lafayette High School, where 70 percent of students are English language learners. "NYSED absurdly mislabels Lafayette a ‘failing' school because students speaking little or no English and 40 different languages can't pass the required Regents' examinations for graduation," the BTF said. Photo by Dennis Stierer.