Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Farmingdale Federation of Teachers,
As we get ready to move into spring, it's good to have some uplifting news. I'm pleased to officially announce that we ratified our new contract on March 14, 2018. You overwhelmingly showed up and voted for the contract with a 97% yes vote. After spending over 250 days dealing with an expired contract, and still being extremely professional during that time, I was happy to see the turn out to vote. The Negotiations Team was pleased to present you with an MOA that had NO GIVEBACKS- no increase to our school day or year, and no increase to our health insurance contribution. I was so proud of your activism during the "no contract" period of this school year. You wore buttons, you wore shirts, and you showed up when asked. This was definitely a hard fought negotiations cycle, and your support of the Negotiations Team was unrivaled. The team greatly appreciates your sacrifice and time. When you showed up to the school board meetings, and also let your presence be felt in the community, it made a big impact. We need to understand how important our collective voices are in preserving unionism. We are a force that, when unified, can enact change.
Even as we celebrate our win to ratify our local contract, we must be ever aware of the on going attacks on unions in this country. As we wait for the ruling on the JANUS case, anti-union groups and the like have already begun their mail, email, and door-to-door solicitations, urging union members here in NY to opt-out of unions.
In a fundraising appeal last fall, the Freedom Foundation announced its intention to expand these efforts in the wake of the Janus v. AFSCME ruling. Here is a snippet of their agenda:
"If and when Justice Gorsuch gives the side of freedom the fifth vote, and mandatory public-sector union dues are tossed into the scrap heap of failed Big Government schemes, it will be our job- a job we undertake with great pleasure to let employees know their rights... We know the unions won't go away without a fight. They won't go away even with a fight. They won't go away until we drive the proverbial stake through their hearts and finish them off for good".
This is what these organizations are really trying to do-strip us of our power and voice. As we continue to inform you aboutthe Janus case and what the FFT, our state, and federal unions are doing for you, we ask that you also share this information with others. We will continue to be activists and we need your help to make phone calls, send mailings, and commit to voting. Although our local fight for a contract is over, our need for continued activism is not.