Unionism brings respect
Respect means seeing others as at least our equal and treating others as we wish to be treated. Contrary to an often-heard opinion, respect is not earned. Rather, it is the birthright of every human being.
As such, respect must be demanded if it is not given, as when management denies workers a role in making decisions, is careless of employees' scheduling needs or when wages are kept unreasonably low.
The best way for working people to claim the respect that they deserve is to form unions or to join unions, the right of free people everywhere.
K.J. Walters | Monroe
Teachers need tenure
Even though I am a retired New York teacher, I still feel strongly about the continuance of tenure. Tenure allows teachers to speak freely for students and their needs. And, tenure allows teachers to speak up for themselves. They must have their due process rights protected.
NYSUT United did a remarkably good job identifying the enemies of public education. You hit the nail on the head! It's hard to understand what millionaires, billionaires, lawyers, politicians, hedge fund operators and TV commentators have against public education.
Thank you for the good fight. Be vigilant and keep up the good work.
Barbara Michaels | Via email
Talking about tenure
Thank you for the entire tenure spread in the September-November issue of NYSUT United, especially "When the talk turns to tenure." It is helpful to teachers to respond effectively and non-confrontationally when questioned about tenure.
Doing nothing lets the negative comments be the last word. We need to respond and be proud of our profession.
Linda Ulrich-Hagner | NYSUT Retirees of WNY
Governor's veto of S7839
Last June, the New York Senate and Assembly overwhelmingly passed S7839/A6974 — the Veterans Equality Bill — that would permit public employees to purchase up to three years of their military service time for retirement. The bill at long last would replace New York's current legislation which blatantly omits war veterans of previous generations, Cold War veterans, and nearly all women veterans. This legislation was supported by the AFL-CIO and public sector unions, including NYSUT.
The people's representatives spoke decisively last June (a vote of 190-1). New York would have a military service credit law on par with other states, a piece of legislation that honors all military service. It was a bill all New Yorkers could be proud of. It was legislation befitting the Empire State, which is home to West Point and the 10th Mountain Division. Indeed, a proud military history second to none.
On Nov. 7, three days before Veterans Day, Gov. Cuomo vetoed the Veterans Equality Bill. Complicit in the veto was New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, whose letter to the governor two days earlier urged him to veto the bill, citing the cost.
Veterans and the bill sponsors questioned the accuracy of the mayor's figures, citing that no one really knew how many veterans would actually buy back their time. Veterans were certainly cognizant of rising costs to taxpayers, but in light of the governor's other spending priorities and a growing budget surplus, this was an opportune time for him to sign this bill.
In his veto message, the governor said including the cost of the bill in the next budget would be more workable for him. Barring a veto override by the Legislature before Dec. 31, that is an option the veteran community would be open to.
Whether through a veto override or including the bill in the next budget, one fact remains certain. It is time to end the antiquated, unfair and discriminatory military service recognition legislation in New York. It is time to honor the service of all New York veterans.
Jeff Beall | US Army 1983-87
US Army Reserve 1987-92
Social Studies teacher
Phelps-Clifton Springs FA