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          Welcome to UUP's constitutional convention reference page.

          Every 20 years, voters must decide whether or not to call a convention to revise the state's Constitution. That referendum, mandated by the Constitution itself, will come before voters on Election Day, Nov. 7, 2017.

          If approved, the convention could result in wholesale changes to the state's 240-year-old Constitution, which UUP believes would jeopardize some of the most basic rights and protections that we enjoy as New Yorkers, as public workers, as retirees and as unionists.

          The state Constitution guarantees the right to a free public education, to join a union, to protect our health, to care for the needy, to safe jobs, and to protect state lands and forests.

          There is much at stake if a constitutional convention is convened:

                  • Public pension benefits reductions
                  • Workers' compensation rights
                  • Collective bargaining rights
                  • Social welfare
                  • Prohibitions on using state funds for religious schools
                  • A budget role for the state Legislature
                  • Adirondack "Forever Wild" protections

          Here's why you should VOTE NO to a constitutional convention

          The rich will benefit

          A constitutional convention IS NOT in the best interest of working families, retirees and public education. This is not going to be a "People's Convention," as some well-financed people would like you to believe. Already, wealthy, anti-labor groups and organizations opposed to public education are mobilizing to push for a convention to serve their own selfish agendas.

          The astronomical cost

          It cost about $6.5 million to stage the constitutional convention in 1967, the last time it was held. The overall cost to hold a constitutional convention today is absurd: estimates put the price tag at between $50 million and $100 million.

          You know what else $100 million would pay for? It would cover doctors' visits for 625,000 New Yorkers, and a year's worth of meals for 163,333 of our hungriest children. And it would pay tuition for 3,864 state residents to attend a SUNY school for four years. There are far better ways to spend our money than on a constitutional convention.

          Albany insiders will run it

          Past constitutional conventions have been run by legislators, judges, attorneys, and special interest groups. Of the 186 delegates to the 1967 convention, 154 held public office. That means lawmakers elected as delegates could double their salaries and fatten their pensions in the process.

          It's unnecessary

          There are far effective and less costly ways we can make changes to the state Constitution than through a convention. Lawmakers can amend the Constitution; they have done so more than 200 times, most recently in 2015 to create an independent commission on redistricting, and to allow the Legislature to save money by going paperless for proposed bills.

          Don't be fooled. A constitutional convention is a boondoggle. It will be detrimental to working families, education and organized labor.

          Spread the word! Vote no!


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