As August winds down and September draws near the absence of the back to school stress that we retirees used to have this time of year is mostly absent. Yes, it still presents itself to us but the feeling is quickly dismissed with a sigh as we relaize, "Yay!! I'm retired!"
August has traditionally been the month of the NYSUT Leadership Conference and 2020 is no exception. NYSUT opted for a virtual conference using Zoom. So instaed of the usual 3 days away from home to learn and share, this year was 3 days at home for the Union leaders. With daily Keynotes and breakout sessions the Conference flowed much like the typical in-person conferences did except on the breaks you had to make your own snacks and drinks. The NYSUT team did a wonderful job of setting up the virtual conference sessions and discussion "Zoom rooms" and when it was over the inspirsational feelings of new ideas was evident in the participants reviews.
RC 45 was represented by its leaders as were retiree councils from the tip of Long Island to Buffalo. The theme of the Conference and the subject of the opening keynote was "Union For Life! The importance of strong retiree activist networks". The breakout sessions that followed throughout the three days were focused on creating, maintaining and leveraging these networks. Here are some of my take aways from the sessions that I attended:
1. The member email list is the heart of the member network. There are many ways to reach members today however there is no substitute for doing the hard work of creating and maintaining a database of member contact information.
2. Using the above mentioned Member contact list, there is a clear move toward digital communication among members.
3. Our pension fund is still fully funded even after the Pandemic.