July/August 2020 Issue
June 13, 2020

NYSUT holds special RA, elects statewide officers

Author: Kara Smith
Source: NYSUT United
Caption: Left to right: NYSUT President Andy Pallotta leads the special RA from the union’s headquarters in Latham; Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango shares flowers she received on her re-election; newly elected Second Vice President Ronald Gross; and Secretary-Treasurer J. Philippe Abraham.

As part of the statewide union’s special Representative Assembly, NYSUT delegates saw the re-election of three current statewide officers, and the election of a new second vice president.

NYSUT President Andy Pallotta, Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango and Secretary Treasurer J. Philippe Abraham were re-elected to three-year terms. Ronald Gross, president of the William Floyd United Teachers, was elected NYSUT second vice president, replacing Patchogue-Medford’s Paul Pecorale, who did not seek re-election. The RA was hosted virtually due to coronavirus social distancing restrictions.

An American Federation of Teachers delegate, Gross was a social studies teacher for 30 years at William Floyd, his alma mater. He has served as one of three active teacher-members on the 10-member New York State Teachers’ Retirement System Board since 2017. He is also an active member of the National Council on Teacher Retirement. Gross will oversee the statewide union’s program services. “Never before have we faced challenges like we are facing right now, but I know that as a union representing teachers, School-Related Professionals, higher education professionals, health care workers and many others, we can be an integral part of charting a better path forward for New York,” Pallotta said. “I’m proud of what my union sisters and brothers are accomplishing together in this unprecedented time and look forward to working with them in the years ahead.”

NYSUT has overcome significant challenges over the past three years to deliver for members across the state. The union ran a successful organizing campaign in the lead up to, and in the wake of, the U.S. Supreme Court’s Janus v. AFSCME decision. The initiative highlighted the benefits of unions and union membership.

The statewide union’s political efforts have also played important roles at the state and local level. The union’s candidate Pipeline Project provides training and support for pro-labor working people interested in running for political office. And in one of the union’s major political victories, NYSUT successfully got legislation enacted fixing New York State’s broken teacher evaluation system.

Looking ahead to the remainder of 2020 and beyond, the union’s strength will be essential in fighting against potential cuts to education as the state faces an economic crisis, said Pallotta. A bright spot in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, he noted, is that union members have strengthened their bonds, supporting each other, their students and their families through a difficult time.