March 2, 2015

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UUPers 'Call Out Cuomo' at Capitol

uupdate 3-2-15

NYSUT’s “Call out Cuomo” tour made a stop at the state Capitol, and more than 40 UUP members were among the hundreds of educators who crowded the Million Dollar Staircase to send a loud, strong message to Gov. Andrew Cuomo—don’t mess with public education.

Members of NYSUT, UUP and the Professional Staff Congress/CUNY joined other public education supporters on the staircase March 2 after marching down the Empire State Plaza concourse, waving signs and shouting chants like “Fee-fi-fo-fum, Governor Cuomo here we come!”

“This is about respect,” said NYSUT Executive VP Andy Pallotta. "The governor has no respect for public education.”

“Shame on you, Gov. Cuomo,” said NYSUT President Karen Magee. “The budget that you put forth is a disgrace.”

UUP President Fred Kowal fired up the crowd during a pre-rally gathering before the march, accusing the governor of furthering injustice and oppression with his continued attacks on public higher education.

“If you want to join us, governor, that’s great,” said Kowal. “If not, you will be swept aside by history because justice will prevail.”

That fight for justice was what brought Jen Drake, UUP’s VOTE-COPE co-coordinator, to the rally.

“I think Gov. Cuomo needs to see and hear from those of us in public education. There is no quarter for him. He can’t walk on us,” said Drake, a Cortland delegate.

“It’s important for all of us in public education from pre-K to post-graduate to stand together,” said Buffalo Chapter President Tom Tucker, co-chair of UUP's statewide Outreach Committee. “We’re here to make the governor understand our need for state support.”

Aside from Kowal, UUP officers at the event included VPA Jamie Dangler, VPP Philippe Abraham, Treasurer Rowena Blackman-Stroud, and Membership Development Officer Arty Shertzer.

The protest was held as part of “Moral Monday,” a series of rallies held to spotlight chronically underfunded social justice causes. The events are part of a national social justice campaign to pressure legislators to take action on issues such as education, health care and workers’ rights.

Other speakers included New York AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento, Billy Easton, executive director of Alliance for Quality Education of New York, and state Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan (D-Sunnyside).

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