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February 2017

Get active
Kevin Peterman

 

Kevin Peterman addressing the membership
(photo by Dante Morelli)

We all knew 2017 would be challenging, but who could have predicted so many challenges so soon?

The Faculty Association is working with our national organization, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), to fight for our, and our students’, constitutional rights:

  • To make sure our campuses are safe havens for all
  • To make sure our academic freedom is not alternative fact away!
  • To make sure we maintain the right to have a union.

We are also working with our state federation, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) to preserve our state constitutional rights. Yes, that’s correct.  

Did you know that under the New York State Constitution (Article 19, §2), the people of the Empire State are asked every 20 years a seemingly simple ballot question: “Shall there be a convention to re­vise the constitution and amend same?” These 12 simple words will appear on the top of the ballot on November 7, 2017. A Constitutional Convention, if convened, puts the entire New York State Constitution “on the table.”

The State Constitution establishes the fundamental rights you enjoy as a citizen of New York State and as a public employee. Some of these include:

  • Guaranteeing the right to a free public education (Article 11, §1)
  • Prohibiting reductions in public pension benefits (Article 5, §7)
  • Rights to workers’ compensation (Article 1, §18)
  • The right to right to organize and bargain collectively (Article 1, §17)

This is critical to our survival, and we will be working with coalition partners to educate the public that we don’t need a $100 million convention to make adjustments. There will be more on this in the coming months.

Union officers will be heading to Albany with our students and administrators to advocate for additional funding from New York State. The state needs to invest in higher education. Our students deserve it! We’ve met with student leaders on all three campuses to build a coalition of advocates working together to get the funding we deserve. This is an annual battle that we will continue to fight.

On the local level, we continue to meet with county legislators and advocate for the college. This is an election year locally, and we will screen candidates and make endorsement decisions based on their support of education and labor issues. Again, there will be more on this in the coming months.

The FA leadership will conduct an informational "State of the Union" meeting on each campus over the next three months to discuss these issues in more detail. At these meetings we will introduce several activities in which you may choose to participate. The meeting dates, times and locations are at the top of this article; please plan now to attend one.

We want your involvement.

We need your involvement.

Our survival may very well depend on it—and activism works!