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Become politically active

How UFT members can fight for schools and students
New York Teacher
Become politically active

It’s important to register to vote so you can cast your ballot for candidates who stand with the union on education and labor issues.

All teachers, even brand-new ones, have a stake in political matters. After all, it takes an active and dedicated community to strengthen public schools.

That’s why the UFT and many thousands of its members, often in collaboration with parents and child advocates, get involved in lobbying and other political activities. We make lawmakers and candidates running for elected office aware of what public schools and educators need.

As you approach the end of the school year, consider the ways in which you might deepen your engagement with issues outside the classroom that matter to public school educators.

Here are the main political activities the union engages in:

  • Lobbies for education policies that protect you, your classroom and your students and that ensure you have the support you need as an educator;
  • Lobbies for education funding so you have the resources you need to teach and your school can offer the programs and services your students need;
  • Supports political candidates who stand with the union on education, labor and other policy issues; and
  • Fights proposals to end or weaken tenure, privatize the school system or strip workers of hard-won pension benefits.

A crucial primary election is approaching in June, followed by the general midterm election in November. Here are some ways you can stay informed and get involved:

Register and vote. New York’s primary election will take place on Tuesday, June 28; the nationwide midterm election will take place on Nov. 2. You should register to vote if you have never voted in New York, if you have not voted in the past five years, or if you have moved since the last election. To vote in the primary, you must register by June 3. If you have a valid New York State driver’s license or ID issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles, you can register to vote online on myDMV. You can also download and mail a voter-registration form.

Not sure if you’re registered to vote? You can check your status online.

Contribute to COPE. Sign up for automatic contributions to COPE, the union’s Committee on Political Education. It takes money to support the UFT’s lobbying efforts to make elected officials aware of our education agenda and to safeguard the professional and economic interests of UFT members and students. Through small voluntary contributions to COPE, you can make a big difference. It is these small voluntary payments — not union dues — that fund all the UFT’s political and lobbying activities. If you do not already contribute to COPE, see your chapter leader to sign up or contact the UFT’s COPE Coordinator Melody Rondinelli at 212-598-6850 or mrondinelli@uft.org.

Follow UFT Action. Learn about the UFT’s legislative priorities and ways to act by visiting action.uft.org and uft.org/political-action. Contact the UFT political action coordinator for your borough to volunteer.

Follow the UFT on Facebook and Twitter for news and updates. Sign up for UFT text messages or by texting UFT to 30644.

Related Topics: Political Action