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    • Labor-Religion coalition touts 2017 success while planning for new year

      Rev. Emily McNeill, director of the New York State Labor-Religion Coalition, is holiday shopping – but not in the manner of buying and wrapping. She’s shopping for ideas for their part in a massive upcoming national movement, and for end-of-the year contributions to support the organization.

      In a scene familiar to many organizations, large and small, this time of year, she and her staff of one spent several days stuffing signed letters into addressed envelopes asking for donations. The letters outline accomplishments of the past year. The hope is that people will remember nonprofits such as this one, and donate at the end of the year to get tax credits, show the love and help carry the message.

       Joseph Paparone, newly appointed lead organizer of the coalition, worked with McNeill on the slow but steady task. The message in the letters revealed the stamina of this small but dogged organization.

      “We have played a central role in the New York State’s participation in the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival,” McNeill said in her letter. The campaign, co-chaired by Rev. Dr. William Barber and Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, is a clarion call that will kick off this spring in a campaign against poverty, racism, militarism and ecological devastation. States will hold their own rallies to show what poverty looks like in their region.

      “The premise of the campaign is that, in order to make structural policy change, we need to first change the political climate and unite people, especially folks on the bottom of society such as the poor — people directly impacted by this,” McNeill said.

      A 40-day movement will begin on Mother’s Day 2018 across the country, and will involve a series of mass rallies, each with a particular focus, said McNeill, who recently returned from the official Poor People’s Campaign launch in Washington, D.C. The event included a press briefing on Capitol Hill, a silent march to the Capitol and a concert, featuring freedom songs, hip hop, soul, rap and poetry.

      It also included another attempted visit by the Poor People’s Campaign steering committee to meet with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, but they were again refused.

      “Rev. Barber led a prayer in the rotunda and we left,” said McNeill.

      Barber is best known for the creation of “Moral Mondays,” encouraging people everywhere to take action at their state capitols on Mondays on issues relating to poverty, racism, working poor, workers rights, immigration and more.

      The strategy of the Poor People’s Campaign has many parallels to the campaign begun by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years ago.

      “In 1967-68, King was obviously talking about racism, militarism and poverty as the three evils,” McNeill said. “This campaign is drawing on those three, plus ecological devastation.”

      By organizing and mobilizing people — and combining that with action —— McNeill said, “The idea is that we will build awareness of the crises we are in.”

      A press conference will be held in Albany at the Capitol on Jan. 8 with further details.

      The framework of the Poor People’s Campaign, which hosted a meeting in Binghamton this fall as one of 15 in the country, “brings everybody’s issues together,” said McNeill. That meeting was followed by the state Labor-Religion Coalition’s own annual Faith for a Fair New York Conference. A series of reports from the Truth Commission was released at that time, following up on the coalition’s four-month-long series of commission meetings.

      “In a time when one-in-two Americans are poor or low income, when more than 40 percent of our children are hungry, when 64 million workers are earning less than $15 an hour, and when the net worth of the wealthiest 20 billionaires is more than half of the U.S. population, we are far past due for this conversation,” states the national commission.

      In addition to hosting its annual conference, a series of truth commission meetings and connecting with numerous faith and labor organizations, the state coalition listed the following accomplishments this year:

      • working to resource and connect faith communities willing to provide sanctuary to undocumented immigrants;
      • working with allies to extend the millionaire’s tax; and
      • mobilizing hundreds of clergy to support the Campaign for New York Health.

      The mission of the coalition is to unite faith, labor and community to find social, racial and economic justice. NYSUT is a supporter of the coalition which has its offices at the union’s Albany-area headquarters

    • Pallotta: Albany must keep its promises (with audio - via WAMC Public Radio)

      In commentary for WAMC Public Radio's "Midday Magazine," NYSUT president Andrew Pallotta calls on lawmakers in Albany to fully fund New York's public schools.

      If you make a promise, you should keep it.

      We can all agree on that, right?

      Well, New York State has promised for more than a decade to fully fund its public schools.

      In fact, Albany is under court order to do so.

      State aid to public schools has increased substantially since the end of the Great Recession. We credit lawmakers and the governor for making that greater investment. Still, the truth is that state funding levels are still far short of where they need to be – and what was promised.

      More than $4 billion dollars short.

      As we prepare for the upcoming legislative session and budget, I throw that cold, hard fact out there because the needs of public schools are real.

      You can read and listen to the complete commentary at WAMC.org - and learn more about the State Education Department's recent funding request and the Educational Conference Board's report and school aid recommendations.

    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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