President, Retired Educators Chapter
NYSUT’s 44th annual Representative Assembly was held at the Genesee Riverside Convention Center in the flower city of Rochester, sans flowers. Temperatures ranged from the high twenties to the lower thirties. The theme of New York State United celebrated the unity and solidarity of our statewide union. Also, it has been 10 years since NYSUT and the former NEA/New York joined to become one union. About 2,000 delegates, elected by local unions, attended a jam-packed, fast-paced two-day convention. Hopefully, in the future, NYSUT will revert to a three day convention.
Although delegates listened to inspiring speeches including one by Hillary Clinton and honored the work of various members and local unions across the state, they were mainly present to debate 35 resolutions and three constitutional amendments proposed by local unions and Retiree Councils. The resolutions included more articulation between K-12 and higher education unions, advocating against inappropriate testing, repealing the state’s severe receivership law, opposing the 2017 call for a New York State Constitutional Convention, and proposing a simple majority rather than a super majority vote regarding school budgets and the tax cap. An interesting resolution submitted by retiree councils throughout the state dealt with preserving Social Security by fixing the way the COLA is determined. It calls for eliminating the present CPI with an elderly Consumer Price Index (CPI-e), reflecting senior spending.
In these unsettling times with daunting issues, this convention pointed out to me the importance of Great Neck’s connection with its affiliates, namely NYSUT and AFT.