Put Away The Sunscreen; UV Is Good For Everyone! (July 10)

Okay, I'm just kidding about the sunscreen! Use it liberally.

This summer and going forward, we're talking a lot about the good kind of UV: Union Value -- why being a union member is good for workers, their communities and our state and nation.

Our emphasis started with more than 100 new local presidents who gathered here at headquarters last week; it was a major theme at the NEA convention in Florida and will be a hot topic at the AFT TEACH conference in Washington, D.C., next week. It will continue at NYSUT events through the summer and over the next year, especially in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear the case of Friedrichs v California Teachers Association. A worst-case decision -- which could be announced anytime between this December and next June -- could erode the principle of "fair share" -- that all who benefit from union representation should share in the costs for that work.

We need to work together, all of us, to share the message that the union is only as strong as all of its members. Stand strong, spread the word. 

I was talking about the value of unions on the radio this week with Susan Arbetter, in particular, the value this union has brought to the Board of Regents. NYSUT and Vice President Catalina Fortino have helped educate and empower the Regents to push back against the unrealistic and punishing plan to implement new APPR changes this fall. This effort continues and we will be helping lead the way to a better process.

Karen's Notes: We're Moving the Needle

All across the state, folks are turning out in force to focus on what all kids need and explain why Cuomo's agenda is a disaster. 

Thank you -- keep up the pressure! 

For inspiration, here's a sampling of recent events and shout-outs that reinforce our message. Progress this week includes the "one-house" budget resolution submitted by new Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, because it shows that representatives in the state house are listening as union members and supporters rally and march all over the state. The bill reflects a keen understanding of public education; recognizes the importance of investing in universal pre-kindergarten; additional funding for CTE; shows respect for local control; and acknowledges the funding needs of rural, suburban and urban schools. Significantly, it would reject Gov. Cuomo's test-and-punish agenda. 

The state Senate put forward a positive budget number, but was vague on the governor's anti-teacher, anti-public school agenda. A separate bill calls for modifications but does not state how the governor's agenda should be modified. Fortunately, the bill hasn't moved, so we must continue to press against the bad proposals and in favor of a strong budget that invests big in public schools and in SUNY, CUNY and our community colleges.

Keep marching and keep fighting for what All Kids Need!

President Magee and General Counsel Rich Casagrande appeared in court to defend tenure

In opening legal arguments on Wednesday, NYSUT and UFT legal teams and city and state officials argued that the lawsuit against tenure in New York be dismissed before going to trial. 

During the hearing, Richard Casagrande, NYSUT general counsel, accused the plaintiffs of trying to eliminate due process rights for teachers, noting that "due process is a basic, fundamental right."

NYSUT president Karen Magee attended the hearing, and told reporters that "tenure gives teachers the right to advocate for students." She added, "The whole premise behind the case is unfounded." 

Each side was given a total of 50 minutes to present arguments. We now await the judge's decision.

NYSUT has launched an ad campaign prior to the 2015 legislative session

NYSUT call upon the governor and state lawmakers to pass a budget that fairly funds all school districts in New York.  Read more by clicking here.

NYSUT launched a nearly $1 million ad campaign this week urging Gov. Cuomo to move beyond politics and ensure the state adequately and equitably funds its public schools.

The 30-second, documentary-style television ad features a narrator reading from a Jan. 5 New York Times editorial headlined, "The central crisis in New York education."

"Gov. Cuomo's forthcoming State of the State address is expected to focus on what can be done to improve public education," the narrator reads as quotes from the editorial appear on the screen. "If he is serious about the issue, he'll have to move beyond peripheral concerns and political score-settling ... and go to the heart of the matter ... that the state has not met its constitutional responsibility to ensure adequate school funding."

Here's the ad and here's NYSUT's announcement of the campaign launch.

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HHHART Events - 2015

This is an election year for
the Board of HHHART

HHHART Annual Meeting
 Mark your calendars - Thursday,May 28th, 10A.M.-Noon.  Please note a change in venue.  We will meet at the Melville Branch of the HHH library on Sweet Hollow Road. Click on the link below to view additional info.
Annual Meeting Flier

 RC 20 Meeting
 Mark your calendars - Monday, June 1st, noon. Join this NYSUT Retiree Council meeting at Captain Bill's Restaurant in Bay Shore. Click on the link below to view additional information.
RC 20 Meeting Flier

Health Care

Changes for Medicare Primary and Their Dependents
Dick Lee, Trust Fund Administrator

Our Welfare Trust Fund is currently
going through a major transition from Newman Co. to Administrative Services Only (ASO).  After many hours of meetings, detailed analysis and plan comparisons the Trust Fund decided to sever our ties with Newman Co. and contract with ASO as our third party administrator for our Life Insurance, EMM/Vision Care, LTD and Dental plans.

The Benefits that affect many retirees are the Life Insurance and Excess Major Medical Vision programs. There will be no changes in these plans, at this time, except you will be billed for these benefits by: ASO, 303 Merrick Road, Suite 300, Lynbrook, NY 11563, (516) 394-9477