Take action now to support the Veterans Pension Credit bill 

The governor is considering whether to sign legislation passed last spring that would provide pension credit equity for all public employees who have served in our nation's military. Right now, only certain veterans are eligible for the credit, based on specific periods during which they may have served. 

All our veterans deserve to be treated with the same appreciation and respect, said Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta.

Take action now at the NYSUT Member Action Center to ask the governor to sign the Veterans Pension Credit bill!

By limiting this benefit to specified periods, thousands of public employees who served our nation with distinction have been prevented from obtaining service credit toward their retirement in the same manner as their brothers and sisters in arms who served during times of conflict. It is high time the state recognizes that all citizens who swear the oath to serve in our nation's volunteer military are ready to put their lives in danger at a moment's notice to defend the United States and its people.

Karen's Notes:
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!

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