GNTA VP, Administration
South High School
This was my fourth Representative Assembly and a far less contentious one than last year when an overwhelming anti-incumbent sentiment swept in a new NYSUT Executive Board led by Karen Magee. It's been a year and now President Magee was the first to address the almost 2000 NYSUT delegates in the Buffalo-Niagara Convention Center at the start of the RA. Her message was emphatic and unequivocal: “A year ago you made it clear you wanted a fighting union--well, you've got it. We are organizing, energizing, and mobilizing….We are truly a union driven by the rank and file.” To support this, Magee noted a statewide barrage of newly energized members attending rallies and fighting back against Cuomo’s toxic agenda through social media. She also paused briefly to thank Cuomo for unwittingly being “the greatest union organizer in modern New York State history.” The irony was not lost on the convention delegates who first chuckled, then booed.
Although less than successful in fighting back against Cuomo’s latest state budget that includes an unfair, test-heavy evaluation system for teachers, Magee declared that “We are not standing down!” She said, "NYSUT is 100 percent committed to fixing what the governor has broken--and we will do more.” She promised renewed efforts to protect tenure and due process while fighting the undemocratic property tax cap. Cuomo’s approval rating has continued to slide as his stance towards public education becomes more draconian. Magee urged members to keep the faith and keep up the pressure: “As we continue to fight for public education in the state of New York: BE the union,” Magee said. “When we speak up as the collective voice that cannot be ignored, BE the union!”
You can view her speech on YouTube. Below is a small gallery of images from the Representative Assembly. You can read the RA Reports from our other Delegates in our News Blog.