Only one thing sustains a
Solidarity is unity of
purpose based on common interests,
objectives, standards and sympathies.
It binds people together as one.
And there’s only one way to measure
it: One member at a time.
Are you in?
Since last spring, with anti-union
storm clouds darkening the skies,
NYSUT has intensified efforts to
organize our membership. Local
leaders and members are engaged
in campaigns to illuminate the value
of the union. If you haven’t seen their
smiling faces yet, you will soon.
The door-knocking campaign
known as the Member Organizing
Institute sends members to visit
members at home. NYSUT’s Oneto-
One project (1-2-1) reaches local
union members in the workplace.
Both make personal connections
and develop strong relationships. It’s
“This was probably the best experience
I’ve had as the president of my
union,” said John Mannion, who
leads the West Genesee Teachers
Association, near Syracuse.
From left, member organizer Anthony Patricola, Hempstead Classroom TA; Marilyn Case, Cohoes TA; organizer LaDank Boley, American Federation of Teachers; and member organizer Marissa Mims, Syracuse TA. Photo provided.
The MOI saw grassroots members
knock on more than 48,000 doors
last summer and fall, reaching out
to more than 12 percent of NYSUT’s
in-service members. The effort helped
defeat the ConCon referendum in
November, flipping public opinion
to protect retirement security, public
education and bargaining rights.
Mannion participated in both
campaigns. In the 1-2-1, his union
reached its entire membership this
year, gaining new signatures and new
commitments to support the union.
In the MOI, he was buoyed by the
spirit of his members and those from
other area locals, encouraged by
“how much they appreciated seeing
a union member at their door. …
Once the word NYSUT came out of
my mouth and we had a chance to
have a conversation, they were very
In light of constitutional and legislative
threats to the rights of working
Americans, this will continue to be the
No. 1 focus of the labor movement,
said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta.
“We want members to have the
opportunity to say: ‘I’m sticking with
the union!’” Pallotta said. “This is
where our voice is, where our power
is, where we win fair compensation
and improved working conditions. …
Solidarity is our central pillar. We’re
asking every NYSUT member to commit
to his or her association and sign a
new union card,” he said.
Dave Michalak, president of the
SUNY Broome Faculty Association,
said the local has been organizing
and listening to its community
college members for more than two
years. In one-on-ones, colleagues say
they are most concerned about “the
consequences [of] losing our union,”
he said, and bargaining protections.
“Unions are the last bastion of hope
for all workers in this country.”
Janus on the horizon
This year, the U.S. Supreme Court
will hear Janus v. AFSCME. The case
questions the decades-old precedent
that if you are represented by a union,
it is fair and reasonable to expect you
to pay a fair share to the union for protecting
your rights and your future.
Recent polling showed that one
out of five union members would
drop their membership if they were
not required to pay dues. But the survey
also found that two out of three
of those people would change their
mind if they thought it would weaken
their union’s ability to fight for them.
Face to face, members share the
intrinsic value of sticking together.
“The best predictor of membership
loss or retention is whether you
have had a one-to-one conversation
with every member,” Pallotta said.
“It is a new style of unionism, and
this can never end. As the song says,
we’re ‘sticking to the union, until the
day I die.’