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    • Hunger pangs on campus eased by union activism, holiday donations

      Yesterday, between teaching classes and attending a meeting, and before going to coach Lego League for her sons, SCC English faculty member Cynthia Eaton went shopping on behalf of her higher education union. She chose Cosco, because it’s a union shop, and she and colleague Misty Currelli, assistant professor of sociology, dropped $500 on food; the Faculty Association of SCC donated $400 and $100 was donated by a union member.

      They took their heavy sacks of groceries to the food pantry on the Eastern campus – one of three food pantries on three campuses at SCC — to stock it for the holidays. As a child who grew up in family that survived on government cheese and rice, wild game that was hunted, and food from the garden, Eaton knows what it’s like to be hungry. She’s been homeless; she has lived in her car.

      Education and helping hands changed her life. Turnaround is fair play, so it has been said.

      About 20 miles away, her husband Sean Tvelia, vice president of the Faculty Association of SCC, and Kevin Peterman, association president, were grocery shopping on behalf of the union so that they could supply turkeys to the food pantry at the Grant Campus, which is operated by FA member Sister Mary Anne Borrello.

      “Each year, she feeds over 200 families. This year, we were able to donate 16 turkeys and 7 turkey breasts to the program,” said Tvelia, professor of geology. Together with non-perishable food items, separated for families, the union contribution to the Grant Campus pantry was $400.

      “This is part of the reason we’re unionists,” said Eaton. “We want to do for others what had been done for us.”

      At the Ammerman Campus, food pantry director and FA union member Frank Vino accepted another $400 worth of food, including non-perishable items, from the FASCC. Each year now, the union donates a total of $1,200 for the holiday food program.

      “We raised it last year because we have a higher percentage of students in need,” said Tvelia.

      “Many of our students rely on the pantries for their holiday meal,” said Peterman, who oversees a union very involved with community, social justice, political action and workers rights. Learn more by checking out their newsletter, where articles about food insecurity pop up regularly.

      “We’re in the middle of a federally designated food desert,” added Eaton, noting that the Eastern Campus is located in Riverhead, a community where the majority of residents live too far to walk to a supermarket or too far from the bus line to access a grocer. They are left relying on convenience stores, where there is no fresh produce and drastically limited selection of food. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, Riverhead is the largest food desert on Long Island.

      WSHU public radio recently reported about the growing number of food deserts on Long Island, now numbering 25. Hunger relief officials report that 60 percent of Long Islanders are eligible for food stamps.

      Thanksgiving outreach started at the Grant Campus in Brentwood in the mid-1970s, according Peterman, Today, the outreach includes all three campuses of SCC. At one time the FA donated to a local food pantry, but when it became obvious that so many students were in need, a pantry was opened on campus.

      “Yesterday, it was reported in Newsday that there is a 6.6 percent rate of poverty on Long Island,” Tvelia said. “Most areas of poverty are near our campuses. A lot of time the students are waiting to get to the college for food.”

      The active professor points out how hunger harms.

      “College is tough enough. If you’re hungry and sitting in class, it’s worse,” he said.

      Denny Teason, director of campus activities and student leadership development, is in charge of the food pantry on the Eastern campus of Suffolk CC. He said that, while all members of the campus community can access the pantry — both students and staff — students almost exclusively use it.

      “The FA kindly makes a donation to the Eastern Campus pantry during the holiday season and it serves as a needed replenishment of the food that is accessed during the fall semester,” Teason said. The pantry is located right next to an exit door so students can easily walk into the parking lot with their food without having to worry about any possible stigma they might feel about needing food donations.

      Most students are the age of typical college students; some are older students learning a new career; some are immigrants or the working poor.

      “We have also felt a great deal of homelessness amongst our students who access the pantry,” Teason said. “High cost of living on Long Island is a contributor to why the need is so great.”

      Teason pointed out that the lack of residence halls means that students come to SCC from surrounding communities, “so we feel very connected to who they are and what those communities are feeling.”

      “Good unions work to get as many members involved in the life and vitality of the union as possible,” Tvelia said.

      And sometimes that extends to union members families. Tvelia and Easton’s sons, Kai and Micah, joined in the food drop-offs. That is no surprise, since they are often seen at NYSUT’s annual Representative Assembly wearing shirts that say, “Union Made.” Pun intended.

    • SRP Recognition Day 2017: SRPs are a voice to be reckoned with

      “This is unbelievable,” said Sandie Carner-Shafran, NYSUT School-Related Professionals at-large director and the union’s 2016 SRP of the Year. “When I look out and see more than 200 SRPs here, it’s just exciting.”

      Carner-Shafran’s excitement came from the energy at a SRP recognition event held in Albany to commemorate SRP Recognition Day, held throughout New York State the third Tuesday of each November.

      Carner-Shafran said the impressive turnout shows that SRPs are a growing part of NYSUT, getting stronger with a voice to be reckoned with.

      The longtime activist encouraged SRPs to take advantage of the NYSUT Education & Learning Trust program. “There’s nothing better than our ELT workshops,” she said, adding that many of the workshops are taught by SRPs. “Make sure you go online and check out what is available. It’s a wonderful opportunity.” (Visit nysut.org/elt for more.)

      NYSUT Second Vice President Paul Pecorale, whose office oversees SRP issues for the union, congratulated SRPs on the stunning defeat of the constitutional convention referendum earlier this month.

      “Prior to this summer, New Yorkers were two-to-one in favor of a constitutional convention. With the hard work of everyone in this room, we soundly defeated that proposal. And that reversal didn’t just happen … it was the result of many NYSUT members engaging others in dialog. I applaud you for that and I thank you.”

      Anna Geronimo, NYSUT labor relations specialist for SRPs, will be contacting presidents of SRP locals to assist them in their organizing goals. Local leaders should contact their LRSs to get Geronimo’s assistance with member engagement, one-to-one conversations with members, leadership development and other concerns.

      How did you celebrate? Let us know!

      How did you celebrate School-Related Professionals in your local union for SRP Recognition Day 2017?

      Here's how you can let us know.

      See you at the hashtag!

    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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