May 2, 2014

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Magee: NYSUT is there for UUP

uupdate 5-2-14

Newly elected NYSUT President Karen Magee’s message to UUPers was loud and clear: higher education is important to NYSUT.

Vitally important.

Magee, who spoke at the 2014 Spring Delegate Assembly dinner May 2, smiled as she was met with loud applause from delegates. She wasted no time telling them what they wanted to hear: that UUP can depend on NYSUT now and in the future.

“Higher ed faculty, health care professionals, teachers and SRPs—you all have something to say and the `new’ NYSUT is here to listen and to deliver!,” she said.

“I know in my heart that she will deliver on that pledge because she has already been there for UUP,” said UUP President Fred Kowal, as he introduced Magee. “She joined us in Brooklyn to fight for public health care and she is committed to fighting all the attacks that come against us.”

UUP strongly supported Magee and her slate—Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta, vice presidents Catalina Fortino and Paul Pecorale, and Secretary-Treasurer Martin Messner—in NYSUT’s April elections. All the NYSUT officers attended the delegate dinner.

After her speech, Magee and the rest of the NYSUT officers pulled on red UUP t-shirts as UUPers rose to their feet and applauded loudly.

Magee told delegates that NYSUT’s new leadership is keenly aware of higher ed issues, and is ready to lend its support and resources to aid UUP in its ongoing challenges—such as the chronic underfunding of SUNY, preserving jobs and services at SUNY Downstate Medical Center and SUNY’s other public hospitals and medical schools, and gaining equity for adjuncts.

“Thanks to our SUNY institutions, every citizen of New York state has access to a high-quality degree and top-notch health care,” Magee said. “And we want to make sure that access continues.”

She’s already made good on her promise. NYSUT was instrumental in negotiations that led to the state Board of Regents’ April 28 decision to delay full implementation of the edTPA and review its use as a requirement for initial teacher certification.

“These days, in their rush to hand out giveaways to big corporations and the wealthy, it seems like our state lawmakers have forgotten the value of the SUNY system,” she said. “But let me tell you, we’re here to make sure they remember!”

Magee closed her six-minute speech by urging delegates to “be the union” and calling on them to advocate for causes important for unions and the community, such as voting yes for local public school budgets May 20.

One way to do that is by joining NYSUT and UUP in Lake Placid for “Picket in the Pines,” a May 4 protest against anti-union “reformers” from the Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) meeting at Whiteface Lodge May 4-6 for Camp Philos, billed as a “philosopher’s camp on education reform.” The event is hosted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“Show up, sign up, speak up,” she said. “Do whatever you can—big or small—to advance our cause as unionists and professionals.”

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