RA 2022

2022 NYSUT Representative Assembly
April 1-2. Albany.

Local and Retiree Council Presidents Conference: March 31 - April 1.

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NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 4:44 PM

...and another Representative Assembly is in the books!

Thanks to all our delegates for doing the work of the union -- and a special thank you for joining us in celebration of 50 years of union strength.

We'll see you again in 2023!

 

 

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 4:26 PM
Holding a photo of her transgender son, Tanya Forget-Truesdell of Edwards-Knox Service Employees Association spoke in favor of a resolution condemning the recent wave of anti-LGBTQ legislative measures.

Urgently calling for action and funding to support NYSUT’s Future Forward agenda, Representative Assembly delegates approved a wide range of resolutions to guide the union’s advocacy in the coming year.

In convention action Friday and Saturday, RA delegates considered 29 resolutions and approved three special orders of business. In all, 17 resolutions were approved, seven were defeated, four were referred to the Board and one was ruled out of order.

Many of the resolutions call for programming and funding to make NYSUT’s Future Forward initiative a reality. These include resolutions to:

Delegates approved three special orders of business: one in support of the people of Ukraine; another calling for federal funding to address school and community violence; and a third urging NYSUT to condemn the wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and support LGBTQ educators and students.

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 3:57 PM

J. Philippe Abraham, NYSUT secretary-treasurer, began his 2022 NYSUT Representative Assembly address in Albany with an important message for attendees. “There will be no dues increase for this year,” he said noting that the union remains fiscally strong.

For the seventh straight year NYSUT dues have held flat, an accomplishment Abraham attributes to fiscal prudence and a cooperative effort between “the officers, Board of Directors, managers, local leaders, members and staff.”

Abraham thanked his staff for their work noting that NYSUT Member Benefits, in particular, offers significant value for union families. “In the coming months, NYSUT Member Benefits plans to launch, on a pilot basis, a no-cost legal program to help members who fall in the lower portion of the salary scale, which make it hard for them to afford quality legal services,” he said explaining that making quality legal advice available to members is important during contentious times.

Abraham also highlighted NYSUT’s Many Threads, One Fabric social justice initiative, which he leads. “Our sticks and stones implicit bias workshops, funded through a $1 million state grant, have opened the eyes of many to the consequences of bias affecting many of our students and colleagues,” he said.

A NYSUT Social Justice Academy, still in the planning stages, will educate members about social justice issues impacting their communities and hopefully inspire advocacy, he continued.

“Social Justice is the fabric that keeps us together.”

Under his leadership, NYSUT has helped mitigate loss throughout the year, both through direct union efforts, such as purchasing and distributing personal protective equipment at the height of the pandemic, serving as a flagship sponsor for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walks and providing funding through the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund.

“The union was there for members who experienced great personal loss because of the flooding brought on by tropical storms during the summer of 2021,” said Abraham who encouraged members to continue donating to the NYSUT Disaster Relief donation site. “To help the people of Ukraine, NYSUT is also partnering with international relief agencies to collect funds during this humanitarian crisis.”

To date, NYSUT has raised more than $37,000.

Abraham also congratulated Chris Patterson and Linda Pearson, winners of NYSUT’s poster contest, which was used to raise funds for Ukraine and NYSUT social justice causes.

“Throughout the 50-year history of this organization, we have made great strides, while enhancing the professions in which our members serve,” said Abraham.

“The future of this union is bright!”

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 3:13 PM

Citing the recent wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislative proposals emerging around the country, delegates unanimously approved a special order of business calling for NYSUT to condemn such measures and support efforts to defend the teaching profession and LGBTQ+ educators and students.

The special order, offered by Mitch Klages-Bombich of the United Federation of Teachers, notes the Florida Senate recently passed legislation that would severely curtail classroom instruction about the reality of human sexual and gender diversity. In February, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed state agencies to treat gender-affirming care for transgender youth as “child abuse” and required teachers and nurses to report parents who aid their child in receiving such care to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.

Efforts like these and in other states like Iowa and New Hampshire are “an attempt to indoctrinate young people in anti-LGBTQ+ ideology and conscript educators as enforcers in the effort,” the special order says. They also foster a chilling environment in the classroom that may deter teachers from the profession.

The special order asked NYSUT to urge members to support the state and local organizations fighting these bills like Equality Texas, the Florida chapter of Lambda, as well as labor unions like AFT Texas in defending and supporting local educators. The measure passed unanimously.

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 3:09 PM

For full bios, and to learn more about all of this year's honorees, visit nysut.org/awards.

Lois Emerick, North Babylon Paraprofessional/Cafeteria Aide Chapter


Rosemarie Thompson, United Federation of Teachers

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 2:56 PM

As a longtime history teacher, NYSUT Second Vice President Ron Gross taught many students about the preamble of the US constitution, “in order to form a more perfect union.”

“What exactly does this mean? We should not rest on our laurels — they left the window open for progress,” he told the audience at the RA.

Gross said the pandemic, and different approaches to tackling it, have reinforced that “we have to listen to those who wish to be heard and show that we care even if we don’t always agree.”

He praised NYSUT’s more than 250,000 retirees for forging ahead and not letting the pandemic stop their fierce advocacy for educational reforms, social justice and retiree rights.

“The bond between in-service members and retirees must remain strong and our Retiree Councils need your support,” he said. “We are union for life and we must maintain our solidarity at all stages of our lives.”

The NYSUT Legacy fund, formed at last year’s virtual RA to allow members to receive recognition for their dedication to their union by their peers, has recognized 20 such leaders and collected more than $12,000.

Gross also spoke to NYSUT’s School-Related Professionals, announcing the new SRP’s Rising Initiative, which will involve NYSUT staff helping SRP locals become strong, active unions.

“Now is the time ... that our SRP’s are given the respect, dignity, salaries, and protection that has been long overdue,” he said.

Importantly, Gross singled out NYSUT’s health care professionals and mental health support staff, who have borne the brunt of the immediate and long-term impacts of COVID-19.

“They have been asked to do Herculean tasks with little time to prepare and many times without necessary resources. We are indebted to them …we must stand with them to secure better wages to attract more professionals to end their staff shortages.”

NYSUT will continue to pressure SED to address the looming mental health crisis by funding appropriate staffing of nurses, psychologists, social workers and counselors in hospitals and schools.

And for members, the union will be launching NYSUT LIFELINE, with trained peer counselors staffing the phones 5 days per week to take confidential phone calls.

If necessary, peer counselors will refer callers to the appropriate resource to obtain the support they need.

“This investment in our membership is needed now more than ever.”

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 2:00 PM


“Yeah, I don’t like bullies,” state Attorney General Letitia James told delegates on Saturday afternoon, “and I used my office to take on the most powerful person in the U.S., and the most powerful person in the state of New York.”

Delegates roared in approval.

James’ office sued the Trump administration 70 times and won 75 percent of her cases, she said. She also famously investigated the former governor of New York, who ultimately resigned from office.

“Each and every day, I use the full power of my office to support unions and the rights and wages of working people,” she said.

James thanked delegates from Rochester who have worked with her to seek justice for Daniel Prude, a young man who died at the hands of the police. She worked with labor to win higher wages for home health aides and she’s said labor is key to the pursuit of justice and equity.

“We will never stop standing up for justice and standing up for labor,” she said. “The workers united will never be defeated.”

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 1:39 PM

'Not for Ourselves Alone:' The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award honors those women who have provided throughout their careers significant service and leadership to their local and state affiliates, as well as to the labor movement.

This year's honorees are Debra Penny, United Federation of Teachers, and Dawn Sherwood, Hempstead Classroom Teachers Association.

For full bios, and to learn more about all of this year's award winners, visit nysut.org/awards.


Debra Penny, United Federation of Teachers


Dawn Sherwood, Hempstead Classroom Teachers Association

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 1:32 PM

For full bios, and to learn more about all of this year's honorees, visit nysut.org/awards.

Mary Brooks, Alliance of School Based Health Professionals


Sandra Nin, United Federation of Teachers

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 12:03 PM

“It’s still hard for me to believe what’s gone on and what you’ve had to do,” Mario Cilento, president of the AFL-CIO, told a packed house of NYSUT members at the RA.

“Everything you’ve done the past two years — everything — is nothing short of remarkable,” he said.

Cilento remarked how educators had to find ways to engage students in remote classes on Zoom — despite the fact that a 5-year-old can get distracted by a butterfly out the window for five minutes, and teens can get distracted by things he doesn’t even want to think about.

Then, the professionals had to head back to school and teach with numerous, changing protocols.

“On behalf of the two and a half million family members of AFL-CIO — thank you, thank you, thank you,” he said.

Cilento said he began noticing that the incredible work of teachers during the pandemic inspired many people to start calling them “heroes.”

“You didn’t become a hero because of the pandemic,” he said. “It’s inside you.”

Cilento spoke about his sister, a 25-year veteran teacher, who goes to class early, teaches all day, has team meetings, and calls and emails parents after school. On weekends she plans classes. She gives her heart and soul to students, he said. This is ongoing heroism.

The labor leader also pledged to fix Tier 6 as the crowd erupted in cheering and clapping. “We will do that,” he said.

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 11:54 AM

“Public education is a public good,” said U.S. Representative Antonio Delgado, NY-19. He drove this message home after acknowledging, in personal terms, the effects the pandemic had on students and educators, and how the challenges of home-schooling his own children heightened his already profound respect for teachers.

The people here made it possible for our children to grow,” said Delgado as he heaped praise on educators for their hard work. But, as Delgado continued, “you need more than praise and accolades, you need concrete, tangible resources that will benefit both you and your students.

Delgado listed many support packages passed into law and upcoming efforts to fuel support for many of the elements NYSUT is pushing in our Future Forward program, such as social emotional supports and bolstering school meal programs.

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 11:50 AM

In a fiery call to action, National Education Association President Becky Pringle brought delegates to their feet as she challenged activists to stand up for educational, racial and social justice.

“We must reclaim public education as a common good, and transform it into something it was never designed to be: racially and socially just — and equitable,” she said.

She said NYSUT and its members set the standard for activism throughout the nation but there is much work ahead. She urged delegates to work tirelessly to elect officials who care about our schools — from the school board to the statehouse to federal government.

“It’s seven months until mid-terms. That’s not a lot of time,” she said. “We need to elect candidates who understand the right to vote is sacred … that we need to transform public education so it works for all students… We cannot wait.”

Pringle said it’s time to let Dr. King’s words guide us with passion and purpose. “It’s time for us to live up to the poetry of the first three words of the constitution,” Pringle said. “It is ‘We the People.’ All of us. EVERY one of us. We will do this together!”

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 11:35 AM

Carly Santangelo, a middle and high school agriculture teacher at Cuba-Rushford Central School in Western New York, is the 2022 New York State Teacher of the Year. Santangelo, a member of the Cuba-Rushford Teachers Association, received this year’s prestigious State Education Department honor not only for her work teaching environmental stewardship and agricultural sustainability, but also her efforts to prepare students in her rural community for the workforce and community building.

A nine-year classroom veteran, Santangelo studied agriculture in high school and was an active 4-H and Future Farmers of America member. She aims to develop in her students a sense of community through initiatives such as volunteering at the local food bank and teaching elementary school students and area businesses about the value of composting. She wants her students to realize the impact they can make on the greater good.

Described by fellow teachers and administrators as knowledgeable, enthusiastic and authentic, Santangelo is a teacher whose impact extends well beyond the classroom. For an example, look no further than the World Foods and Diversity program she founded with Joseph Franzen, a Cuba-Rushford history teacher. The course helps students understand how gender, race, history and other global issues relate to the food we eat.

“Food’s something we all connect with,” Santangelo said. “Giving kids the opportunity to have their hands in the soil and produce their own food empowers them. It gives them a point of connection to people who they might not have had a connection to before.”

Santangelo also works to expose all students to fields traditionally viewed as male-oriented, such as welding. Doing so, she said, helps break down gender-based barriers and stereotypes. Prior to teaching at Cuba-Rushford, Santangelo taught at the Belmont Career and Technical Center, first in Animal Science and then as the integrated academic science teacher. She continues to teach informally as a volunteer with Allegany County 4-H.


NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 11:28 AM

U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko thanked members for sparking energy and enthusiasm into the field of education during his NYSUT RA address. “By enabling students to go forth and utilize their skills, you personify grace,” said Tonko who congratulated members on the statewide union’s 50th anniversary.

He noted his commitment to fighting for public education at the federal level and his appreciation for the strong partnership he enjoys with NYSUT. “I fought to get on to the education committee so I could provide a voice for students and teachers,” he said. “We’ve built strong relationships and you’ve showed them that teachers know where it’s at and can get the job done.”

Citing the devastation wrought by the pandemic, Tonko pledged his support for educators as they “play an important role in our recovery,” particularly those who provide mental health services for students continuing to struggle.

“Thank you, you make a difference,” he said. “Together we will build a nation.”

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 11:21 AM

After Buffalo Teachers Federation President Phil Rumore issued an urgent plea, delegates unanimously approved a special order of business calling for federal funding to help schools curb the unprecedented rise in violence.

“It’s a national crisis,” said Rumore. “Our kids are afraid to come to school.”

The special order calls for federal funding earmarked to hire school counselors, school psychologists, social workers, school attendance teachers, resource officers and other support staff. Rumore noted these essential staffers must have a reasonable caseload so they can work closely with students. The resolution also calls for staff training in de-escalating techniques and partnerships with community-based organizations.

The special order was seconded by Joe Cantafio, Sandie Carner Shafran and Matt Haynes. “We need to make this a priority — not punishing students but giving them the support they need,” Cantafio said.

“Please this has to stop,” said Carner Shafran. “Fear and bloodshed has to stop.”

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 11:12 AM

NYSUT Executive Vice President Jolene DiBrango had two simple words for RA delegates: Thank you.

“For some of you, you’ve heard these words a lot over the past two years for the awe-inspiring work you’ve done to serve New York’s students and patients,” DiBrango said. “For some of you, you haven’t heard those words nearly enough.”

While this year has been the most difficult in decades for public education, DiBrango said members showed the world what public service looks like. “You kept showing up sometimes broken … sometimes because you had no other choice,” DiBrango said. “You never quit on a student or a family even when the situation seems insurmountable.”

DiBrango thanked members for embracing the union’s Take a Look at Teaching initiative, which aims to diversify the profession and encourage more people to consider careers in education. She said more than 35 local unions have received NEA/NYSUT grants to launch Grow Your Own programs across the state.

To expand the educator pipeline, she noted NYSUT activists have successfully advocated for changes to the state’s certification process.

“For years you and NYSUT and our higher ed siblings fought against the edTPA, a test that did nothing to improve the quality of teaching or support aspiring educators,” DiBrango said. “Now because of your collective efforts, the edTPA will no longer be a requirement for state certification.”

At a time when some critics are trying to censor books and control what’s taught in classrooms, DiBrango said it’s crucial for students to learn a complete and honest history of our state, nation and world — and that all people, their contributions and gifts must be taught and celebrated.

DiBrango praised members of the NYSUT Women’s Committee, under the leadership of member co-chairs Aisha Cook and Leslie Rose, for making it a priority to create female empowerment clubs in our schools, on our campuses and in our communities. “NYSUT women are working to ensure that all students learn about girls and women in their coursework and the impact women have made in our society,” she said.

DiBrango said NYSUT members have proven themselves to be heroes with their advocacy and actions every day.

“Christopher Reeve once said ‘A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles,’” DiBrango said. “Because of you, today the image of a NYSUT member is that of a hero.”

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 11:07 AM
retirees

NYSUT is ready to resume its retiree tours, which have been on hold since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will be visiting Retiree Councils and finally getting a chance to really be with you,” said Ron Gross, NYSUT second vice president whose office handles the Program Services department, speaking to retirees at a Saturday morning RA meeting. “We’re ready to do the tour wherever you want us to be.”

NYSUT President Andy Pallotta thanked retirees for sharing their stories on the new historical documentary premiered at the Local and Retiree Council Presidents Conference. “This is something we’re going to continue to work on,” he said.

While NYSUT celebrates its 50th anniversary at this RA, the Retiree Councils are celebrating 30 years of existence.

“When I think of retirees, I don’t just think of the past, but of your central roles in building the future,” NYSUT executive vice president Jolene DiBrango told the roomful of retired members.

“Thank you for building it. You built what we have today,” said J. Philippe Abraham, NYSUT secretary-treasurer.

NYSUT retirees continue to find ways to get and stay involved in communities, elections and labor. Florence McCue, ED 51-53 at-large-director, encouraged retirees to become involved in central labor councils and in Area Labor Federations.

Loretta Donlon, one of first three people to represent retirees on the NYSUT Board of Directors, encouraged retirees to get involved in local school board elections and in overturning the state’s Tier 6.

Thomas Murphy, UFT retiree chapter leader, shared with the gathering that the UFT reached out to more than 60,000 retirees during the pandemic by phone calls, texts or e-mails to personally ask: “How are you doing?” Many of them said, “You’re really just calling to ask how we are?” he reported.

“It was a good project for all of us,” he said.

Murphy said that while the last two years have been stressful, the question is “Do you look at problems or at opportunities? How could we not be optimists? We go into the classroom and see the future!”

An example of opportunity is with the change in meetings since the pandemic. UFT retiree meetings in the past have had 200-350 people, he said, but the last meeting on Zoom drew 4,500 people.

“It defies geography, time and place,” Murphy said. “Now, our opportunity is, how do you both?

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 10:55 AM

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli encouraged attendees at the NYSUT RA to continue equipping New York state students with the tools they need to succeed, achieve and change the world, and he assured members he will always stand by their side.

“There’s nothing like the energy and spirit of the NYSUT RA,” said DiNapoli. “You are the strongest and best union of education professionals in the USA, congratulations on your 50th anniversary.”

DiNapoli saluted the many educators throughout his childhood who influenced him, noting that the foundation of New York state’s communities is its public schools. He thanked members for choosing to become public educators and said he, along with other New Yorkers, owe teachers a debt of gratitude for “giving us the tools for a better life.”

He also assured retirees, both present and future, that New York state’s public retirement system is safe, strong and secure — among the best funded in America. DiNapoli noted that in the days following the Russian invasion into Ukraine, the system froze all investments in Russian companies and divested all Russian holdings. “We must do all we can to support the brave people of Ukraine,” he said.

“I’m confident in NYSUT’s future and in labor’s future,” he said noting recent votes by Starbucks and Amazon workers to unionize.

“Working people win when unions are stronger. You and your colleagues must continue to lead the way.”

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 10:45 AM

For full bios, and to learn more about all of this year's honorees, visit nysut.org/awards.

Veronica O’Connor, Retiree Council 15/16


Barbara Waldmann, United Federation of Teachers

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 10:32 AM

For full bios, and to learn more about all of this year's honorees, visit nysut.org/awards.

Norma Chrisman, Mohawk Valley CC Professional Association



Jean Grassman, Professional Staff Congress

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 10:13 AM
first book

Five local unions were winners of the Social Justice drawing for free books from First Book.

  • BOCES United Professionals
  • West Seneca Teachers Association
  • Chateaugay Teachers Association
  • Mohonasen Teachers Association
  • Bellmore-Merrick United Secondary Teachers

 

 

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 9:43 AM

Matthew “Dezy” DiStefano, a member of the Sachem Central Teachers Association who passed away in January 2020 from a rare form of kidney cancer, is the winner of NYSUT’s inaugural Humanitarian Award.

A special education teacher and volleyball coach at his alma mater, Sachem North High School, DiStefano is being honored for his inspiring work in creating the DezyStrong Foundation which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to help defray the cost of cancer treatments for patients and to make families as comfortable as possible in their time of need.

The impetus for the Humanitarian Award came from a resolution passed by the SCTA, led by President Philip Barbera, which asked NYSUT to consider recognizing members who make significant humanitarian contributions to their communities.

DiStefano’s work galvanized not only the Sachem community, but also attracted the support of professional sports teams such as the New York Islanders, and numerous collegiate and high school athletic programs throughout the country. Recently, the DezyStrong Foundation Infusion Suite was opened at Huntington Hospital on Long Island to help make patients more comfortable while undergoing treatments.

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 9:23 AM
Albany Public Schools United Employees members

For Agnes D. Jackson, 15 is the charm.

After 15 years of trying, the Albany Public Schools United Employees member is finally an RA delegate.

“It’s time to dive in and become a part of things,” she said noting that she intends to share what she and her fellow APSUE delegate, Angel Ferguson, learn at the RA with her close to 600 fellow members.

Both she and Ferguson are security officers; other APSUE members include food servers, teaching assistants and technology workers.

“Since we are so diverse, it’s easy for the district to sow division, our goal is to raise morale and build unity.”

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 8:45 AM


Day One of RA 2022 is in the books!

Thanks to all our delegates for doing the work of the union.

Let's get rolling! General Session 2 starts promptly at 9 a.m.

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 8:38 AM
latino caucus

Two years post-pandemic, the AFT New York State Latino Caucus was happy to meet and chart a course for the year ahead.

Led by Susan Perez, the group will offer the Maria Portalatin National Freedom Scholarship to a deserving Boston student of Hispanic or Latino heritage during the AFT Latino Caucus’ national conference in Boston later this year.

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 8:11 AM
aft black caucus

Pictured with the entire slate of NYSUT statewide officers at the 2022 NYSUT Representative Assembly is the New York State Chapter of the AFT Black Caucus, led by Wendy Walker Wilson.

The group offers two scholarships to deserving Black students from AFT-member-affiliated union families — the Helen Dowdy Scholarship, available to New York City students, and the AFT New York Chapter Black Caucus Scholarship available to students statewide.

NYSUT Communications
Saturday April 02 2022 7:37 AM

flickr gallery


Check out these photos from Friday's opening session and presidents conference.

Remember: the mobile billboard will be out in front of the convention hall bright and early. So bring your smiles and cameras and share on your social media to help spread the word on that "Public Schools Unite Us."

And use the hashtag #nysutRA!

 

NYSUT Communications
Friday April 01 2022 7:15 PM

“We stand on the shoulders of giants!” said President Andy Pallotta in his address to more than 1,300 delegates at the 50th annual NYSUT Representative Assembly at the Albany Capital Center.

He urged all the retired members in the audience to stand, spurring an enormous round of applause.

“I’ve been around long enough to agree with history teachers who say: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,’” he said, emphasizing the celebration of 50 years as New York State United Teachers.

Pallotta announced a new statewide initiative called “Our Legacy, Our Future” that will document, preserve and share NYSUT’s history. Most importantly, he said, it will include opportunities for leaders and members to share their personal memories and stories.

Two years into the pandemic, he said, "this second year ... seemed even more challenging than the first."

"This year we are fighting to press the pause button on APPR for another year," he said, and promised to continue the fight to return APPR to locally controlled school districts.

Pallotta also reported that NYSUT is fighting for repeal of the receivership law. "This miserable law," he said, takes "a school that is struggling and makes things worse."

He thanked all NYSUT members and leaders for “doing everything you have done, for getting our kids back in the classroom safely.”

Pallotta said the teaching profession faces many challenges in the next 50 years, and the union will lead the way in facing them.

“Much of our advocacy is outlined in our Future Forward Task Force Report,” which declares that returning to schooling exactly as it was pre-pandemic is neither possible nor acceptable.

Pallotta also announced a new NYSUT campaign to “Fix Tier 6!” Noting that after the flawed Tier 4 was enacted 40 years ago, labor worked for 24 years for tier equity, and won. More than a third of the membership is in Tier 6. “It won’t be quick or easy, but that fight begins today.”

Lamenting the increased politicization of our classrooms that hurts public education, the president announced NYSUT would launch a new campaign shortly called “Public Schools Unite Us.”

You’ll see it on TV and on social media, and throughout much of the union’s messaging.

 

 

NYSUT Communications
Friday April 01 2022 6:59 PM


Declaring the era of disinvestment in New York state education “over,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul greeted attendees at the 2022 NYSUT Representative Assembly and congratulated them on 50 years of union activism.

“A teacher is the reason I’m here today,” said Hochul noting that Mr. Peter James, her eighth-grade social studies teacher at Hamburg Middle School, opened her eyes to the power of government. “I want every child in New York state to know their potential is unlimited.”

Hochul underscored her commitment to providing much-needed funds for public education in the state budget. She pledged support for $31.3 billion for public education, $1.6 billion for foundation aide, $50 million to boost the teacher workforce and $100 million for school mental health services. She also pledged to strengthen financial aid supports for higher education.

“I have a message to all of you … you have a friend in me,” said Hochul who presented NYSUT President Andy Pallotta with an official state proclamation celebrating the union’s 50 anniversary.

“I represent 20 million New Yorkers and we are so grateful. Together, we will lift up this state — thank you and happy 50th anniversary!”

NYSUT Communications
Friday April 01 2022 6:45 PM
weingarten

Our country is divided, but looking back at NYSUT’s powerful 50-year history shows us the way forward to recovery and unity, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said.

“You’re the antidote to division, anger and scapegoating,” Weingarten said. “We choose hope over fear. Aspiration over anger. That’s who we are. That’s who NYSUT is.”

Weingarten said the extremists are exploiting the pandemic’s two years of anxiety and uncertainty to wage cultural wars and scapegoat educators. She noted the current climate is jet-fueled by social media, conspiracy theorists and corporate giants.

“You’ve gone from being called heroes to being cast as villains for being concerned about safety,” Weingarten said. “We must confront this uncertainty, this anger because labor is a path for many to dignity, respect … to be able to sleep at night.”

She said NYSUT’s remarkable history shows what happens when you join together for something bigger: a better life for all. Because of NYSUT’s steadfast advocacy, Weingarten said, “we just heard the governor say the age of disinvestment is over. We’ve got to hold her to that.”

So whether it’s advocating for community school funding or making the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program “real,” Weingarten said unions must continue leading the way.

“As others are banning books, AFT is giving books away,” Weingarten said. “We’re the changemakers.”

NYSUT Communications
Friday April 01 2022 6:25 PM


The NYSUT Representative Assembly voted today to pass a special order of business in support of Ukraine.

The order called on NYSUT to support the people of Ukraine as they continue to struggle against Vladimir Putin’s illegal and barbaric invasion of their country.

AFT President Randi Weingarten joined NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer J. Philippe Abraham and NYSUT Board member Adam Urbanski, Rochester TA, to introduce the special order, which passed with overwhelming support.

Donate to the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund to support relief efforts in Ukraine: nysut.org/Ukraine.

NYSUT Communications
Friday April 01 2022 5:41 PM


"On this eve of World Autism Day... I want to shout out every special education teacher, speech therapist, OT, PT, nurse and paraprofessional in this hall tonight!" Albany Public School Teachers Association President welcomes delegates to the capital city.

NYSUT Communications
Friday April 01 2022 4:30 PM

The 2022 NYSUT Representative Assembly, April 1–2 in Albany, marks the 50th anniversary of the formation of New York State United Teachers.

NYSUT Communications
Friday April 01 2022 3:04 PM
Debra Rothar, Half Hollow Hills TA is a member of NYSUT’s Civil and Human Rights Committee

Have you noticed delegates wearing “SJA” buttons on the convention center floor?

If so, you’ve seen an ambassador for NYSUT’S newly created Social Justice Academy, an intensive two-part training designed to provide locals with the tools and resources they need to create a social justice committee from scratch, or to improve an existing one.

The goal is to educate members on social justice issues, inspire them to advocate for change and promote social justice initiatives.

The inaugural program launches in March of 2023 and continues with a four-day program in August.

For more information, email socialjustice@nysut.org.

Pictured: Debra Rothar, Half Hollow Hills TA is a member of NYSUT’s Civil and Human Rights Committee. Photo by Andrew Watson.

NYSUT Communications
Friday April 01 2022 2:30 PM
mobile billboard

The mobile billboard is here!

Delegates: bring your cameras and your smiles to the front entrance of the Albany Convention Center this afternoon for a selfie opportunity with our mobile billboard.

And when you're sharing your photos on social media, remember to use the hashtag #nysutRA!

Remember: Public schools unite us!

Pictured, left to right: Carmel Teachers Association members David Zupan, Lauren Ruckel and Jeannine Blum. Photo by El-Wise Noisette.

NYSUT Communications
Friday April 01 2022 2:14 PM
nysut officers

Local presidents lined up at microphones to ask questions of the NYSUT officers for an hour Friday morning.

Topics ranged from standardized and Regents testing; vaccinations, masks and COVID–19.

Mike Modleski, Victor TA, cited a lack of young leaders in the union, similar to the teacher shortage. He called for restoration of NYSUT’s programs to develop leadership.

“That’s gone away,” he said. “They cost money, but they are important.”

NYSUT Communications
Friday April 01 2022 1:03 PM

BREAKING: Amazon workers on Staten Island vote to unionize in stunning win for labor

Despite heavy lobbying by the company, workers at the facility voted by a wide margin for a union. It was seen as a rebuke of the company’s treatment of its employees.

amazon labor union

Sorry, Amazon, but this is no April Fool's joke.

Via the New York Times:

Workers at Amazon’s massive warehouse on Staten Island voted by a wide margin to form a union, according to results released on Friday, in a stunning win for a campaign targeting the country’s second-largest employer and one of the biggest victories for organized labor in a generation.

Employees cast 2,654 votes to be represented by Amazon Labor Union and 2,131 against, giving the union a win by roughly 10 percentage points, according to an initial tally released by the National Labor Relations Board. More than 8,300 workers at the building, the only Amazon fulfillment center in New York City, were eligible to vote.

The win on Staten Island could herald a new era for labor unions in the United States, which saw the portion of workers in unions drop last year to 10.3 percent, the lowest rate in decades, despite widespread labor shortages and pockets of successful labor activity.

No union victory is bigger than the first win in the United States at Amazon, which many union leaders regard as an existential threat to labor standards across the economy because it touches so many industries and frequently dominates them.

Read the full story at nytimes.com.

NYSUT Communications
Thursday March 31 2022 5:35 PM


The 2022 NYSUT Representative Assembly is kicking off soon, and we're excited to welcome members, guests, and delegates to Albany.

This weekend, we're together again!

NYSUT Communications
Monday March 28 2022 6:52 PM

It's golden! Union celebrates 50 years

Stage is set to commemorate 1972 merger and first convention

RA 2022

Welcome to the 2022 NYSUT Representative Assembly!

We're so pleased to be back in person to mark the 50th anniversary of the formation of New York State United Teachers!

Please check back to this website (nysut.org/RA) for continuous news and updates leading up to and during the RA.

A few things our delegates should know:

Login to our Delegate Resources page for a full RA preview, venue maps, schedules and other vital resources. (Need a short link? It's nysut.org/delegates.)

Be sure to follow NYSUT on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Be sure to tag your RA-related social media posts with #nysutRA.

Thank you, and we look forward to seeing you in Albany!


 •Related article: It's golden! Union celebrates 50 years. NYSUT United. March 2022.

NYSUT Communications
Monday March 28 2022 6:40 PM
ra honorees


Many NYSUT members have achieved special recognition for their work, both professionally and in their communities. The RA will recognize the following members with awards:

  • “Not for Ourselves Alone:” The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award, recognizing lifetime achievement, will be presented to Debra Penny, United Federation of Teachers, and Dawn Sherwood, Hempstead Classroom Teachers Association.
  • The 2022 New York State Teacher of the Year is Carly Santangelo, Cuba- Rushford Teachers Association. 
  • School-Related Professionals (SRP) Members of the Year are Rosemarie Thompson, United Federation of Teachers, and Lois Emerick, North Babylon Paraprofessional/Cafeteria Aide Chapter.
  • Retiree Members of the Year are Veronica O'Connor, Pelham Teachers Association, and Barbara Waldmann, United Federation of Teachers. n
  • Health Care Professionals Members of the Year are Sandra Nin, United Federation of Teachers, and Mary Brooks, Alliance of School Based Health Professionals.
  • Higher Education Members of the Year are Norma Chrisman, Mohawk Valley Community College Professionals Association, and Jean Grassman, Professional Staff Congress/CUNY.
  • Matthew "Dezy" DiStefano, Sachem Central Teachers Association will be honored with the Humanitarian Award.

Delegates will also recognize winners of the Ken Kurzweil Social Justice Recognition Awards and acknowledge this year’s local and individual Community Service Award recipients.

Stay tuned -- more to come.

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