May 2015 Issue
April 28, 2015

43rd annual RA gets underway

Author: Kara Smith
Source: NYSUT United
cuomo billboard
Caption: Welcome to Buffalo. Photo by Steve DeMeo.

RA 2015If you're craving beef-on-weck and sponge candy, don't be alarmed. It's just your body telling you that the 43rd annual NYSUT Representative Assembly, May 1--2 in Buffalo, is officially here. It signals the start of sampling season for these and other Buffalo treats, and the end of months of preparation and anticipation for the host locals.

The Buffalo Teachers Federation; the Buffalo Educational Support Team; the Faculty Federation of Erie Community College; the Transportation Aides of Buffalo; Substitutes United - Buffalo; and Retiree Councils 1, 2, 3 and 44 have worked hard to roll out the welcome mat for thousands of NYSUT members visiting their city.

"We'll have local retirees at each hotel to answer delegate questions and provide area information," said Jo Ann Sweat, president of the Buffalo Educational Support Team. "In-service members from each local will staff RA tables to welcome delegates and offer any help they can."

The RA, NYSUT's annual policymaking convention, promises to be action-packed as delegates consider 50 resolutions and four amendments to the union's constitution over two days.

The first general session begins at 2 p.m. Friday, followed by committee meetings and a second session that evening. Delegates are to elect state delegates to the National Education Association Board of Directors and state in-service delegates to the NEA RA. Voting takes place at 10 p.m. Friday; delegates must be registered by 5 p.m. to be eligible to vote.

Invited speakers include American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten; New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli; Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO; and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

The RA also features performances by local students. The nationally award winning Medina Mustang Marching Band, under the direction of Jim Steele, a member of the Medina Teachers Association, opens the convention with the national anthem. The Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts jazz band, under the direction of BTF member David Dewitt, performs during the "Taste of Buffalo" celebration to honor NYSUT's constituency award winners Friday night.

The RA concludes Saturday afternoon at the close of the last general session when delegates sing "Solidarity Forever."

Rally supports labor movement

Delegates will join other union activists at noon Friday to fight back against Gov. Cuomo's anti-public education and anti-labor agendas. The rally takes place in Niagara Square in Buffalo, a short walk from the RA site at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

NYSUT members, activists from the Western New York Area Labor Federation and other local supporters, will send a clear message that working people, especially public servants, deserve respect, not scorn.

Speakers include AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre, state AFL-CIO President Cilento, NYSUT President Karen E. Magee, CSEA Regional Vice President Flo Trippi and several area lawmakers.

Not at the RA? You can keep up the pressure by sending letters to the governor and other lawmakers via the NYSUT Member Action Center, mac.nysut.org.

DON'T MISS OUT

Watch for stories and photos from the RA posted on www.nysut.org/ra every day during the RA. You can also follow the action on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NYSUT. Use the hashtag #NYSUTRA to share.

Show your union pride, send a pro-labor/pro-education message, be a NYSUT United cover model, or even become a superhero, by posing with one of five lifesize photo cutouts that will be on display on the convention hall floor. And don't forget - if you snap a shot, share it at #NYSUTRA or at #AllKidsNeed.

ra 2015 

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