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    • NYSUT mourns loss of James Conti, former director of field services operations

      contiALBANY N.Y. July 2, 2015 - New York State United Teachers mourns the loss of James Conti, NYSUT’s former director of field services operations and a pioneering labor activist who helped shape the state’s collective bargaining laws and policies enhancing on-the-job safety.

      "Jim was instrumental in building our union into the force it is today," said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. "The mark he made on the state’s labor movement is as significant as it is indelible, and his legacy of activism on behalf of working people is one our members should strive to emulate."

      Conti played an integral role in the passage of the state’s Taylor Law, which gave public employees the right to collectively bargain with their employer. He was also a member of the Governor's Task Force on occupational health and safety.

      A native of Jamestown, Conti served as president of the Jamestown Teachers Association. In 1969, he joined the former New York State Teachers Association as coordinator of its Western New York Regional Office before going on to become field services operations director of the newly created NYSUT following the merger of the NYSTA and the United Teachers of New York.

      Conti died on June 29 at the age of 88. His full obituary can be found here.

    • Fighting for $15 at the Capitol is about the American Dream

      "What do we want? Fifteen! When do we want it? Now!"

      These are the words that echoed through the Capitol as low-wage fast-food workers filled the halls to voice their need for a $15 minimum wage at the wage board hearing convened by the New York State Labor Department. The hearing brought one heart-wrenching story after another of extreme poverty despite hard work. Workers implored, often becoming emotional, for a $15-an-hour minimum wage, not as a means to live extravagantly, but as a means to simply live

      Representing NYSUT at the June 22 hearing was Cheryl Rockhill, a bus and school monitor who also is a fast-food worker from the North Country. She spoke of her family's constant struggle to pay bills, living paycheck to paycheck, even though her husband is employed, and she herself works 60-plus hours a week.  Her voice shook as she recounted, "Recently my son made a comment about how we could never afford to go on family trips to great places like Disney World and such. As a parent who has worked two jobs my entire adult career, I felt hurt by that. Not because of his comment, but because no matter how hard I worked I never made enough to run a fitting household and support the needs — not wants, but needs — of my children. Why didn't I have extra money for the great outings?  It was because of low wages."

      New York State's minimum wage of $8.75 an hour is slated to go up to $9 on Dec. 31. Though such increases are progress, they do not come close to touching the minimum wage necessary to make ends meet in this state.  Adjusted for inflation, the federal minimum wage peaked in 1968 at $8.54 per hour (in 2014 dollars). Though the minimum wage has increased over the decades, it has not done so at a fast enough pace to keep up with the increase in cost of living, ultimately making those working for minimum wage increasingly worse off.

      The Fight for 15 began as an advocacy movement for fast-food workers to earn a living wage and gain better working conditions. Though Albany's wage board hearing was focused on fast-food employees, it is important to note that this fight does not end with them. According to Pew Research Center, the top five employers of the most near-minimum wage workers are food services, grocery stores, department and discount stores, construction, and elementary and secondary schools. It takes more than a teacher to educate a child; NYSUT members also include bus drivers, school nurses, teaching assistants, custodial and maintenance staff, and clerical and office support officials. These are the people that ensure our schools run smoothly, and our children are properly cared for. However, when many fall among the lowest wage earners in our community, it is not right.

      Within the chant of the crowd at the wage board - "The workers united, will never be defeated" - lies a take-home message. When we band together and demand action, change and progress occur. All minimum wage and near-minimum wage workers deserve the right to earn enough money to support themselves and their families; that's the essence of the American dream, after all. Poverty wages are not acceptable, and not representative of the freedom we stand for as a nation.

      The wage board hearing is just the beginning of this necessary justice. The board's decision is expected to be announced by the end of the summer.

    LTA Blog

    Stand Up For What All Kids Need

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    Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposed budget for 2015-2016 lays out a punishing anti-public education agenda that attacks teachers and hurts students.

    Rather than provide what all kids need, the governor is pushing a Billionaires' Agenda that would decimate the state's public schools. His "my-way-or-the-highway" budget would:

    • hold school aid increases hostage;
    • woefully underfund the state's K-12 and higher education systems;
    • more than double the weight of standardized tests;
    • make permanent an undemocratic tax cap that has wreaked financial havoc on school communities;
    • eliminate funding for teacher training;
    • launch a back-door voucher plan that would siphon funding away from schools most in need;
    • underfund public higher education by tying funding to campus "performance" rather than enrollment;
    • smooth the way for the privatization of SUNY's five hospitals;
    • destroy prep programs for future teachers;
    • and fail to fully address the student debt crisis.

    Simply put, Gov. Cuomo's proposed budget - which serves the interests of his billionaire backers - is an attack on public education that fails to address what all students need.

    Things you can do right now to fight back.

    Every NYSUT member is needed to defend public education and the teaching profession from Gov. Cuomo's Billionaires' Agenda.

    Tell the governor to stop scapegoating... stop teacher bashing and focus on what #AllKidsNeed.

    Here's your to-do list.

    Take action on this week's campaigns.

    The latest actions will always be right here in the No. 1 spot.

    Call your state senator. Now.

    • Stop what you're doing and call your state senator with this message: stand up to the Governor's "Bigfoot" tactics and defend our outstanding New York public schools!
    • You can look up the number at the NYSUT Member Action Center.

    Sign up for MAC text alerts!

    Take 10 seconds and sign up for MAC text alerts on your phone!

    Here's how: Text the word "NYSUT" to the contact number 38470.

    Sign the petitions.

    Call out the governor.

    • Invite the governor to visit your class to learn what #AllKidsNeed. Tweet out an invite directly at him and be sure to include his Twitter handle @NYGovCuomo and the hashtag #InviteCuomo if you want your tweet to be seen and heard.
    • Not on Twitter? See step 8.

    Get connected to the MAC.

    • BY TEXT. Get real-time text messages about urgent news and actions by texting the word NYSUT to the number 38470.
    • BY EMAIL. Subscribe to the NYSUT Member Action Center email alerts for updates on this campaign. If you're registered via email as a NYSUT MAC e-activist you'll also be the first to know about upcoming rallies, protests and more.
    • BY APP. Download the NYSUT MAC App for your iPhone or for your Android phone. Be sure notifications are enabled to receive alerts on new action items.

    Get connected on Facebook.

    Get connected on Twitter.

    • Join Twitter and follow @NYSUT to be part of the social media army.
    • Once a day (or as often as possible) tweet your thoughts on what #AllKidsNeed - more science labs, music and art classes, school libraries, smaller class sizes and more. We're reminding the governor to focus on what matters! Follow the conversation in real-time for some great examples from parents and educators.

    Share the poster.

    Wear the button.

    Take part in community forums.

    • Keep an eye on nysut.org/allkidsneed for information on upcoming NYSUT-sponsored Community Forums to Save Public Education in every region of the state.

    Talk it up.

    • Get the conversation going - online and offline. Read "Where We Stand" and use it to craft social media messages, send letters to the editor, and brief friends and colleagues.
    • Circulate and share print materials and videos.

    Support "Take Action Tuesday."

    • Mark your calendar to support NYSUT's "Take Action Tuesday" every week. Be on the lookout for updates.

    Learn more at www.nysut.org/allkidsneed.

     

    Last Updated (Tuesday, 03 March 2015 16:10)

     

    Member Alert Program

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    There are so many member benefits, that it can be hard to keep track of them all.
    The NYSUT Member Benefits MAP (Member Alert Program) email blast service keeps you informed through a brief email message every three weeks.
    You can join MAP on the NYSUT website, at http://www.nysut.org/49.htm

    Last Updated (Friday, 15 November 2013 16:58)

     

    Nysut Action Center Mobile App

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    NYSUT action center now has an app for smartphones that makes it very easy to take action. It is available in the app store for free.



    Last Updated (Friday, 15 November 2013 16:38)

     
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