NYSUT’s future lies in organizing. And after adding 10 new organizers to its roster, the union plans to reach out to even more workers in the future, said NYSUT Executive Director Melinda Person in a Friday RA address. Person noted that younger generations are increasingly seeking union representation, making organizing a critical part of the growing labor market. “Organizing is a simple goal, but a difficult task and it’s one of NYSUT’s primary goals going forward,” she said, noting that the new organizer hires are the result of an American Federation of Teachers grant. “This is an exciting time for labor, and we believe that all workers need unions — everyone deserves NYSUT support.”
Delegates learned about one of NYSUT’s recent organizing victories at the Robert C. Parker School in Troy, NY. The Robert C. Parker School Professional Association represents 21 teachers and is led by Darcy Demaria. After initially encountering administrative pushback, the group later received widespread support from parents; in its first contract, the local negotiated a 5 percent pay raise and saw student enrollment rise.
“We did all of this when we couldn’t even be in the same room together during COVID,” said Demaria who thanked organizer Jim MacFawn and NYSUT for their help and RCPSPA Vice President Jennifer Baker for her support. “It’s an amazing thing that we’ve been through.”