March 2016 Issue
March 30, 2016

Local unions in action

Source: NYSUT United
In a show of solidarity, members of the Honeoye Falls-Lima Education Association attend a school board meeting. HFLEA members have worked more than 250 days this school year under an expired contract.
Caption: A UNITED FRONT: In a show of solidarity, members of the Honeoye Falls-Lima Education Association attend a school board meeting. HFLEA members have worked more than 250 days this school year under an expired contract.

Amityville Teachers Association

Members of the Amityville TA, along with members of the school board and the district's parent teacher council, joined forces to staff a phone bank in support of a school bond referendum. The vote passed, 650 to 529.

"The thousands of calls we made in the office were the difference," ATA President Robert Claps wrote on his local's blog. "It goes to show that when all groups are working together, great things can happen." ATA is a 2005 graduate of NYSUT's Local Action Project.

Johnstown Teachers Association

The Johnstown TA, a 2000 LAP graduate, catapulted a traditional in-school celebration into high gear with "100 Acts of Kindness on the 100th Day of School," showering unsuspecting community residents with gas cards, gift cards and babysitting coupons.

"We decided to extend that celebratory feeling beyond the school walls," said event organizer Nancy Lisicki. "It was a way to give back to the community that has supported education through positive school budget votes, year after year."

The spontaneous acts of charity spiraled outward as teachers and teaching assistants taped cash to gas pump handles; provided extra tips to wait staff and delivery people; paid the bill for the car behind them at the drive-thru; donated eyeglasses to the Lions Club; bought snacks for students who stayed after-school; gave coupons for hot beverages to mail carriers; provided hot chocolate to Department of Public Works crews; and gave "spirit wear" to rookie sports team members.

"An attempt to tally the acts became futile — the subtotal was 200 before we gave up tallying," said Lisicki. "The JTA's fantastic members are the reason why it was a success." The JTA, led by Beth Brower, was helped in the project by teacher Quinn Swartwout, member outreach coordinator.

Minisink Valley Teachers Association

Minisink Cares is the name of a 25-year-old community program spearheaded by members of the Minisink Valley TA, and the unofficial motto for in-service and retired members.

The local, led by President Ezra Clementson, represents teachers, guidance counselors, psychologists and social workers. Each year members purchase holiday gifts for students in need.

This year, 169 children received clothing, shoes, linens and hobby or sports items. Members Lauren Murray and Carolyn Russell run the project.

"We start as soon as the school year starts," said Murray. After receiving recommendations from social workers and teachers, letters are sent to families in the small town to request sizes for needed clothing and shoes. Students and clubs also help support the program. "Eight kids this year got bikes," Murray said.

The MVTA, a 2012 LAP graduate, also raises $20,000 a year for scholarships through community fundraisers. Retirees, Clementson said, are involved in the TA's community projects all the time.

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