April 12, 2013

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UUPers hear stirring speeches at NYSUT RA

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UUPers clap and cheer during the State of the Union speech given by NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi, below, at the opening session of NYSUT’s annual Representative Assembly.

Speeches by U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and NYSUT President Iannuzzi, and a moving tribute to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, highlighted the first night of NYSUT’s 41st annual Representative Assembly, April 11.

More than 80 UUPers are part of nearly 1,700 NYSUT members attending the three-day event in Washington, D.C. The RA runs through April 13.

Iannuzzi earned several standing ovations during his speech, which he used to urge members to fight for the future of public education. He exhorted members to take part in a huge June 8 rally in Albany to speak out for quality in higher education, more funding for grade school students, and against tax caps and the “demonizing” of educators.

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“Our voice speaks for students in rural, suburban and urban districts suffering from poverty,” he said. “Our voice speaks for dreamers seeking access to affordable higher education."

He continued: “On June 8 we are asking you to come to Albany and speak with one voice to say, enough is enough. Speaking with one voice, we will be heard.”

Schumer (D-New York) pledged his support to NYSUT and thanked teachers for their dedication to their students and profession.

“As long as I am the senior senator from the state of New York, I will stand shoulder to shoulder with you, the teachers of New York, and the teachers of America, to make this country a better place,” said Schumer.

A short slide show of photos of the children and teachers killed in the Sandy Hook tragedy in December brought tears to the eyes of many RA attendees. Afterward, Iannuzzi called for a moment of silence in their honor.

A number of higher ed resolutions are slated to go before the NYSUT membership during Friday’s session, including UUP-backed measures calling for NYSUT to oppose privatization attempts at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and oppose SUNY’s proposed Resource Allocation Method.

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