March is also one of those months that can be tricky in regards to weather. Most of you know I despise the cold so I tend to start wishing for the start of spring in March. Our school calendar sometimes makes us feel like March is the LONGEST month of the school year and a lot of us are feeling it. I want to continue to send you some positivity and encouragement during this long stretch as we navigate through all the current events, world issues, and local concerns. Never before has the word perseverance been so accurate as it relates to how public schools, teaching staff, school-related professionals, and students have tackled the struggles. Despite the questioning of our professionalism as educators, negative verbal attacks online and at school board meetings and even a downright disrespect of what we do on a daily basis, we have continued to hold our heads up and do our best for the students.
We need to let our community and others know how much we do and how valued we are by our students. Soon we will be part of a LI wide campaign to bring some positivity back to our school communities. We will ask teachers, admins, students and families to emphasize why they love their schools. We know how integral schools are as a major hub in communities. We provide so many wonderful educational and extracurricular opportunities. We provide counseling and even basics like food. We come together in difficult times for one another and even for the families when they are in a crisis. These are the messages that should be dominating the conversations and we all should get the word out.
In the local and national union arena I want to let you know the anti-union forces are still hard at work. This week I was made aware of anti-union legislation in other states as well as a media campaign funded by national network groups that are making their goal to be union-busting and privatization of schools. They are bold in their discussion and messaging about breaking unions and that they want to cause a ‘mass exodus' of members out of teacher unions. Please don’t let the entities that tried to break us by using Mark Janus and others continue to try to divide the strong unionized working class. We see what happens to employees in industries that are not unionized. We are seeing the lengths that companies go to in order to prevent workers at businesses like Walmart, Amazon and Starbucks from forming unions. On the education front, they will use disinformation, and political ploys framed in the guise of protecting families, protecting students, and parent choice. If unions are broken by these tactics and our union rights are voided, no middle-class family is protected! It seems like a good idea to drop union contributions, not allow employer dues deduction, and not support your union because there are things that you disagree with, but when the anti-union millionaires get an opening they have and will use their well-funded lobbying to try to pass laws and before you know it we are right to work state like Florida or Wisconsin. Pay very close attention to this and don’t let it happen here in NY.
Soon the other officers and I hope to resume our pre-COVID building visits to come by and see some of you in person and check-in. We constantly share what the union is doing locally and statewide via email or social media. We explain your union benefits as best as we can in messaging and via your reps but we will happily come by a building or a meeting and answer any additional questions. As always feel free to contact us with issues arising and we will respond as soon as possible. We are here for you!