February 2016 Issue
January 27, 2016

Local unions in action

Source: NYSUT United

Corning Teachers Association

The Corning Teachers Association launched an #IAmPublicEd campaign featuring posters of 100 public education supporters from the Corning community.Looking for ways to educate their community on the importance of public education, the Corning Teachers Association launched a unique campaign with a few familiar faces. The #IAmPublicEd campaign features posters of 100 public education supporters from the Corning community — parents, teachers and school-related professionals, and board members.

Each poster includes a picture of the supporter along with a quote sharing how public education has influenced the individual. "This idea came as a result of the Corning TA and the Corning-Painted Post Central School District sponsoring a book study of 50 Myths and Lies that Threaten America's Public Schools," said CTA President Leslie Varga. More than 100 members of the CTA, along with administrators and board of education members, participated in the book study. "One of the 'aha' moments was that while we are aware of the myths and lies, the general public may not be informed." This campaign is one way to spread the truth.

Professional Staff Congress

Online activism by members of the Professional Staff Congress' Brooklyn College chapter spurred action by campus administrators. PSC members had enough of the college ignoring repeated calls to take care of disrepair and decay at the campus — infestations of mice, broken toilets covered in plastic wrap, an air conditioning unit leaking fluid, a desk with a protruding sharp steel arm, exposed pipes, a ceiling missing tiles. Members at the college also called on administrators to develop a health and safety plan. In September, PSC members and college students took to Twitter, posting photos of the disrepair with the hashtag #BroklynCollege (pronounced Broke-lyn). According to reports in the PSC Clarion, since the campaign started some repairs have been made and the college hired a new director of environmental health and safety. The campaign will continue as long as safety concerns remain.

Rome Teachers Association

When members of Rome Teachers Association learned that food banks were short of supplies, they wanted to help. Working with teachers, students and staff for the second year in a row, they donated turkeys to the Rome Rescue Mission and the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen. TA President Robert Wood said they have now sent 400 turkeys to those in need. "We wanted to give back. The poverty rate here has climbed," Wood said.

The TA also takes part in Books for Babies, providing local parents of newborns with a special first book. Working with the Rome Teacher Center and the district, the TA hosts a school day of kindness and anti-bullying programs. They dish it out at a year-end ice cream social for students with excellent attendance, and also provide goodies to athletes after games. The Rome TA also has an ongoing collection and distribution program through its "Children's Fund" for students and students' families in need. The TA hands out reflective bags for Halloween and provides a packet parents can use to assist law enforcement in case their child ever goes missing.

Great Neck Teachers Association

Led by President Sheila Henchy, 500 members of the Great Neck Teachers Association stood in solidarity — and a massive sea of blue — at an October board of education meeting to show their unity in the local's fight for a fair contract. The members each wore vivid blue T-shirts bearing the union's logo and stood in silence as Henchy addressed the board. "The Great Neck Public Schools have been recognized time and again as being among the best in the nation," Henchy said. "The district is rightfully proud of such accolades, publishing them front and center on the GNPS website. Here before you are the people who have earned those accolades." The union and district settled the contract in November.