Saturday, October 10, 2015

NYSUT Shamelessly Ignores its Own Resolutions

With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to castrate teachers unions later this year, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) continues to give its own members reasons to celebrate if and when the hammer comes down on organized labor.

After all, given the option by the Court, most working teachers will choose not to feed dues dollars to an organization that doesn't know how to bite.

Look no further for evidence of NYSUT’s inaction than its reaction to resolutions passed in May at the Union’s annual Representative Assembly (RA). NYSUT delegates from around the state descended on Buffalo to unanimously approve two resolutions meant to shelter kids and communities from harmful Cuomo Core tests.

The first resolution opposes the bogus benchmarks used by New York to determine “college and career readiness”—while the second asks NYSUT members to “have their own children refuse to take the Grade 3-8 assessments.”

Whether in New York City or Buffalo, Washington or Rochester, NYSUT spends thousands of dollars each year on the RA, not to mention the professional and personal time delegates sacrifice to get there.

Evidently, NYSUT prefers burning this time and money, as Union leadership has done zero since the RA to either “oppose” or “refuse” tests which are choking the lives and livelihoods of New Yorkers. The Union’s vision of opposition has so far consisted of lamely-worded Friday afternoon emails and yes, a request for members to dance the Nae Nae.

NYSUT leadership is obligated to aggressively push all resolutions passed at the RA, even those opposed by the likes of Randi Weingarten and Andrew Cuomo.

Furthermore, the failure to give voice to these resolutions voids everything else voted on at the RA, including the Union’s officers and board of directors.

For if RA resolutions are meaningless, then RA elections are also meaningless.

Besides, why should NYSUT members respect their leaders if their leaders won’t respect NYSUT resolutions?  

Will it require a resolution not to pass anymore meaningless resolutions before leadership listens to rank-and-file educators?

Will NYSUT even be able to fund the RA if the Supreme Court makes dues optional? If not, where will NYSUT hold future elections? Will there even be elections? Will they occur remotely, a proposal which was ironically voted down at this year’s RA?

Maybe the Supreme Court is just what NYSUT needs to inject passion and democracy into its veins. Public education faces existential threats—and teachers unions must stop passing empty resolutions if they expect to save themselves and our schools.       

Leadership must act, before we are all swept off the stage.


A Union Made Meme

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