The group actions will support food pantries in Dutchess, Sullivan and Ulster counties. Local unions taking part include SUNY Ulster Faculty Association, Rondout Valley Federation of Teachers, Onteora Teachers Association, Eldred Central School District Faculty Association and Poughkeepsie Public School Teachers Association.
“Food collections such as this do shed a light on what the community needs,” said Stephanie Zub, president of the Eldred CSDFA. “Sometimes people may feel embarrassed to ask for items from the school directly, but if food items are donated to local places such as food banks, they can pick items up in private.”
The 55-member local also supports a backpack program that provides food to needy students on a weekly basis. For the joint Hudson Valley effort, the local collected 13 boxes of food and donated them to two local food pantries.
“Schools are at the heart of their communities,” Zub said.
The Poughkeepsie PSTA is donating boxes of food to Dutchess Outreach. Members in each of the seven school buildings brought in grocery items. The outreach program provides food, emergency relief, and advocacy for those in need.
“It is important as our union to give back to our community and this is just one way we can do that,” said PPSTA President Kim Popken.
Nearby, teachers, school-related...
Both women are the first Latinas to hold their respective positions. “You each have done so much to uplift us and to represent Latinx individuals throughout the country,” said Abraham in opening remarks at the virtual October celebration. “I am honored to welcome you to this event.”
The pair took part in a lively panel discussion co-moderated by Abraham and Maria Elena Guzman, a UFT member and educator. Andy Pallotta, NYSUT president, thanked both for participating and welcomed viewers. “It’s good seeing so many friends here today and to celebrate the many contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans.”
Both women stressed the importance of staying true to yourself. “I learned early on that you have to define who you are and to always be a woman of integrity,” said DeJesus who overcame great personal challenges. “You have to know that you matter and that you are valued.”
“I don’t allow others’ expectations to define my worth — I reject rejections,” said Rosa who advised...
Unions have been pushing hard for the changes, which are expected to help more than half a million borrowers move closer to loan forgiveness. The U.S. Department of Education estimates 22,000 borrowers will become immediately eligible to have their loans erased automatically — and another 27,000 borrowers previously declared ineligible could see their debts disappear if they submit employer information.
The PSLF program is infamous for denying student loan forgiveness to thousands of public servants, dismissing applications due to administrative errors and other technicalities. Unions have filed lawsuits and fiercely advocated to force the federal government to fix the problems and fulfill the bipartisan promise of public service loan forgiveness.
“This is a game-changing victory for educators, healthcare professionals and public employees struggling with student debt,” said American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. “We breathe a collective sigh of relief as the Kafkaesque system that dashed the dreams of far too many finally starts to be dismantled.”
National Education Association President Becky Pringle said NEA research shows that nearly half of current educators borrowed to pay for college and they still owe an average $58,700. “This will be life-changing for so many...
Although they met behind computer screens rather than around conference tables, Florence McCue, NYSUT ED 51-53 at-large director, welcomed retiree activists to the 2021 Fall Virtual Contiguous Retiree meeting in October. She encouraged attendees to stay involved with their in-service locals and “get new delegates involved in your retiree local.”
Ron Gross, NYSUT second vice president, reminded attendees to submit pictures and stories about days gone by as the union celebrates the 30th anniversary of retiree councils throughout the year. “I’m encouraging the NYSUT retiree councils to prepare a PowerPoint about what’s going on in their retiree councils so we can incorporate it into NYSUT United,” he said. “I’m also exploring the possibility of opening a swag store to allow retirees to purchase 30th anniversary stuff — I’m a big supporter of wearing your union colors and celebrating our longevity.”
A big part of the anniversary celebration is the NYSUT Legacy Fund, a new NYSUT program that enables locals, chapters, retiree councils or members to honor activists with statewide recognition. Fund ambassador Pat Puleo, RC 16, presented about the initiative during the event. “It’s a wonderful way to honor people who worked hard for our union and to continue to build and enhance our union,” the former Yonkers Federation of Teachers president said.
Ken Ulric, RC 17, inspired a lively...