Last week, just as the legislative session was drawing to a close, some cynical lawmakers launched a number of 11th-hour attacks on teachers, public education and working families.
NYSUT legislative staff stalked the Capitol day and night, meeting with lawmakers “to ensure the passage of good legislation and the defeat of bills that would have been very bad for our members,” said NYSUT Executive Vice President Andy Pallotta.
“And, thanks to a whirlwind of last-minute member activism, we were able to win several key victories in the waning hours,” he said. “We asked for your help, and you responded.”
Among those important victories, which will now go to the governor, whose signature would enact the laws:
- An extension of the APPR deadline — from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2016 — for school districts to implement and have plans approved, which has already been signed.
- The union protected public pensions. The pension forfeiture legislation that was ultimately passed included only elected officials and public officers … and not NYSUT members.
- Both houses passed legislation that would protect the collective bargaining rights of public employees with respect to negotiated health insurance buyouts (NYSHIP).
Just as important were the onerous things the union defeated, including yet another shameful attempt at a backdoor voucher that would take public tax dollars meant for public schools and give them instead to the wealthy and powerful.
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