Earlier today we posted about NYSUT’s Karen Magee asking to hear from the membership about what we want from our union. It was a nice gesture. Below is the letter I submitted to her. I am sure most of my requests will be met. I encourage all NYSUT members to submit your own ideas to Karen as well. Feel free to share them with us as we’d love to see what your thoughts are as well.
Dear President Magee,
Thank you for taking the time to ask what NYSUT members, such as myself, want from our union. Below is a list of the things that I would like from my union.
- I would like a union who places the needs and interests of the rank and file membership ahead of the needs and interests of the Unity Caucus.
- I would like a union who fights against those who seek to harm us, rather than one who compromises and collaborates with them.
- I would like a union leadership who works with grassroots organizations to demonstrate against Governor Cuomo and corporate education reform rather than sitting in their ivory tower in Latham, New York claiming they were never invited to those demonstrations.
- I’d like none of my VOTE COPE money to go towards Cuomo, John Flanagan, or any other anti-teacher, anti-labor candidates.
- I’d like NYSUT officers to take significant pay cuts, rather than raising our dues AGAIN. While rank and file teachers across the state are taking 0%’s and step freezes along with paying more towards their health insurance, NYSUT officers have compensation packages that exceed $250,000. There is no good reason for any officer to make more than $150,000.
- I’d like NYSUT’s leadership to return phone calls to my local president. Ignoring our local’s needs because of a grudge the leadership holds against us is a slap in the face to all of our members.
- I’d like a Suffolk PAC that is run by an active teacher who has been elected by the rank and file.
- I’d like it if UFT Unity Caucus delegates, bound by a caucus oath, were not allowed to vote on at large delegates from Long Island or other portions of the state. That way when Long Island delegates overwhelmingly vote for a candidate to represent them, that candidate will get to do so.
- I’d like a leadership who openly and publicly criticizes the fact that our largest local has a caucus oath that stifles democracy both inside their local, inside our statewide union, and inside the AFT.
- I’d like our union to strongly denounce the Common Core State Standards, just as my local union has.
- I’d like the spending restrictions that Dick Iannuzzi placed on Andy Pallotta’s use of VOTE COPE funds to be enforced by this administration as well.
- I’d like a statewide union who proves competent at mobilizing the rank and file.
- I’d like a statewide union who will not support the candidacy of Randi Weingarten at the 2014 AFT Convention. The message needs to be loud and clear, “If you are not working for us you will be removed from office.”
- I’d like a statewide union who uses every tool at it’s disposal to support the candidacy of the Green Party’s Howie Hawkins and Brian Jones for governor and lieutenant governor in this fall’s election.
- I’d like NYSUT photographers who are allowed to take pictures of anti-Cuomo signs.
I have several more suggestions as well, but this list is a good starting point. Thank you so much for taking the time to hear what we want from our union. I eagerly await the needed changes to NYSUT.
Brian St. Pierre
Port Jefferson Station Teachers Association