Oct. 1, 2016

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Kowal, Weingarten renew push for Clinton at DA

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UUP President Fred Kowal and AFT President Randi Weingarten hammered the same main theme at the 2016 Fall Delegate Assembly: UUP’s educators and professionals must do all they can to help Hillary Clinton become the next president of the United States.

In a powerful 45-minute speech Sept. 30, Kowal urged members to get out the vote for the Democratic presidential candidate, including taking part in phone banks and volunteering to travel to battleground states to campaign for Clinton in the race against Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Weingarten, the DA’s keynote speaker, called Trump “dangerous” and “unhinged,” and pleaded with delegates to get family, friends and themselves out to vote Nov. 8. There’s too much at stake otherwise, she said. Weingarten addressed delegates during dinner Sept. 30.

“Donald Trump is a vicious racist,” said Kowal. “He is a violent misogynist. He is a pathological liar. He is a danger to us all. For all these reasons, we must defeat him and we don’t need to apologize for voting to deny him the White House.

“Why must each and every one of us take up this work to defeat this monster?” Kowal continued. “Because he cannot, he must not, ever be rewarded for his racism and all his other crimes with the most powerful office in human history. That would be the true abomination.”

Through the AFT, delegates can volunteer for day-long and two-week trips to battleground states to campaign for Clinton. CLICK HERE to sign up and for more information.

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Weingarten, who spoke to more than 400 people—including NYSUT Executive VP Andrew Pallotta, VP Catalina Fortino and Secretary-Treasurer Martin Messner—exhorted members to join the effort to defeat Trump in November.

“We need to—as the teachers of America, as the teachers of New York, as the tenders of democracy—get out the vote by getting our friends and our colleagues to vote,” Weingarten said. “We need to find a way so that on Nov. 8, we renounce this demagoguery, we renounce this danger, and we renounce this intolerance.

“And the only way to do that for Hillary Clinton or against Donald Trump is to work for her these next 37 days.”

Clinton’s plans and policies are designed to revive and benefit the middle class—the polar opposite of what Trump has in store for working families if he is elected.

“Her policies will recreate a middle class,” said Weingarten, who said she’s been a friend of Clinton’s for 25 years. “And this woman will do everything in her power to get these things done because this burns in her to get it done.”

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Kowal, who won a standing ovation from delegates after his speech, also urged delegates to support national and state candidates endorsed by AFT, NEA, the AFL-CIO and NYSUT, including UUP member Monica Wallace, the Democratic candidate in Western New York.

“We must work as hard to elect a Democratic Senate and House because the Republican Party must also pay a price for creating an environment in which such a malignant force could emerge and grow to a point where it could result in the election of the least qualified individual in modern American history,” Kowal said. “Such validation of hatred will spur more hatred and division, extinguishing hope of any kind of future any of us could believe in.”

Necessary SUNY transparency

UUP demands full transparency from SUNY: CLICK HERE to read press release.

Kowal also referenced the recent corruption scandal that snared one of the governor’s right-hand men, Tom Percoco, and Alain Kaloyeros, the founding president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

“When the governor’s top advisors and the president of the showcase institution of SUNY are indicted for ripping off our state and for treating our university as a buffet of ill-gotten gains at which they gorge themselves—especially on the ziti—we all lose,” Kowal said. “Legislation must be enacted that will open the foundations of SUNY to the clear light of day and those institutions can finally serve the purpose for which they were created: To enable the educational mission of our University and not to enrich the powerful few money grubbers who pillage our lives work for their own extravagance.”

Percoco and Kaloyeros were two of eight people–including Buffalo developer Louis Ciminelli and former lobbyist and longtime Cuomo ally Todd Howe—named in a 12-count federal criminal complaint brought by federal prosecutors Sept. 22.

Hours later, Kaloyeros, who was suspended from his job without pay, was charged with three felony counts by state prosecutors in connection to an alleged bid-rigging scheme involving SUNY Poly.

Union elections

Delegates unanimously elected three statewide officers and five Executive Board members. The candidates ran unopposed, and Secretary Eileen Landy cast a single vote on behalf of delegates for each candidate.

VP for Academics Jamie Dangler, VP for Professionals Philippe Abraham were elected for two-year terms. Treasurer Rowena Blackman-Stroud was re-elected for a one-year term. Ray Gleason (Alfred); W. Kim Hartshorn (Plattsburgh); Carolyn Kube (Stony Brook HSC); Idalia Torres (Fredonia); and Ezra Zubrow (Buffalo Center) also secured two-year terms.

The eleections were supposed to be held during the 2016 Spring DA, but it was cut short due to a city-wide power outage in Saratoga Springs, the site of the DA. The Executive Board reconvened the Spring DA Sept. 30 to hold the elections, and closed the Spring DA afterward.

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