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!”