Friday, March 16, 2012


    As a former teacher, I was a NYSUT member and, in addition, I come from a family filled with teachers (brother, both sisters-in-law, nephew, niece, cousins) all of whom are or were members of NYSUT. My father, as an immigrant to this country, was in a laborers' union. I understand the need for unions. At their best, they provide much needed representation for members.
    For many years, I thought that being a member of a union meant that the union leaders would certainly work hard to try to save the jobs of members who are at or near the bottom of the seniority lists. I now know this to be untrue. A union president even stated, in my presence, that it wasn't his/her job to be concerned about job losses. Another union president was equally unconcerned about the loss of jobs. That not only surprised me - it shocked me.
    My advice to union members, either Teachers' Unions or CSEA who are at or near the bottom of the seniority list, is to unite and run for officer positions, join the ranks of union leadership committees, and position themselves on negotiations committees. Don't be naive, like I once was, and assume your interest is being represented.


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