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November 2017


Vote YES for VOTE/COPE, vote NO for Con Con
Sean Tvelia


NYSUT vote NO on the Con Con
NYSUT explains the rationale for voting NO on the state Constitutional Convention in this Why in Five series. (photo by Cynthia Eaton)

They're new members, but they're already winning it.

Not only did Brianne O'Connell, Caitlin Parzych and Joan Cook each win $100 as part of our Professional Development Day raffle, they won because they demonstrated their awareness of the importance of political action.


For the annual raffle, the FA offers prizes for members who either start contributing to VOTE/COPE or who increase the amount of their current contributions to VOTE/COPE. This year, the prizes were three $100 gift cards.

Because unions are prohibited by law from using dues for political purposes, VOTE/COPE is our voluntary fund for political action. These funds enable us to meet with our elected representatives and educate them about the needs and concerns of our faculty and students. This is why you should "vote yes" and contribute to VOTE/COPE.

It's a critical part of what we do given to the various political threats we face and currently the biggest threat is the New York State Constitutional Convention.

We've been writing out our arguments for voting NO on the Con Con for the past year. Now, one week before Election Day, I'd like to share some more talking points, this time from New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), our state affiliate.

Why in Five: Con Con

NYSUT's Why in Five cards offers plenty of reasons why we should VOTE NO next Tuesday. Please read and consider these before heading to your local polling station on Tuesday, November 7, and don't hesitate to contact me if you have questions!

A waste of tax dollars

  1. Experts estimate a constitutional convention will cost hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars
  2. Lawmakers can collect salaries and pension credits as elected officials and as delegates simultaneously
  3. The last time a constitutional convention took place, it cost taxpayers millions and accomplished nothing
  4. Constitutional conventions don't have mandatory end dates—delegates keep meeting and taxpayers keep paying
  5. Should taxpayers fund a party for Albany insiders? VOTE NO!

Labor rights at risk

  1. At risk is the right to unionize and bargain collectively: Our union's strength could be jeopardized
  2. At risk is workers' compensation: Safeguard your rights if you're injured on the job
  3. At risk are public pension protections: The constitutional guarantees your pension will be there
  4. Other states have made drastic pension changes with disastrous results for active members and retirees: Don't let it happen here!
  5. Don't risk your rights or your future: VOTE NO!

A politicians' convention

  1. During the last convention, four out of five delegates were career politicians and Albany insiders
  2. Every politician who ran for a delegate seat that year won a delegate seat
  3. Who ran the show? All of the convention leaders were sitting legislators
  4. Most troubling is that, thanks to Citizens United, corporate special interests can spend unlimited money getting their cronies elected
  5. Do you trust Albany insiders to do what's right? Don't risk it: VOTE NO!

What's at stake?

  1. The environment: New York State's constitution has the nation's strongest protections for forever wild areas like the Adirondacks and the Catskills; greedy developers could push to undo these safeguards
  2. Public education: The state constitution guarantees our students the right to a free public education
  3. The social safety net: The state constitution ensures that the state provides for citizens in need
  4. Our voting rights: The constitution provides valuable protections
  5. Don't risk losing these vital safeguards: VOTE NO!

It's just not necessary

  1. A process already exists to amend the state constitution and it doesn't cost a thing
  2. For example, the state legislature passed an amendment in 2013 expanding casino gambling; the same process could be used for new amendments
  3. Opening the state constitution is like opening Pandora's box; you cannot predict what changes delegates will make
  4. The last time a convention took place, it was a complete failure; voters rejected every proposed constitutional change
  5. Don't add to Albany waste: VOTE NO!