Members often travel hours to attend these gatherings in Raleigh, Atlanta, Phoenix, Nevada, eight spots in Florida, two in New Jersey and many just outside New York City, including a brand new Mid-Hudson Section.
We bring news of our in-service colleagues and our contracts, notably the one with all that retroactivity for recent retirees — the contract that keeps on giving. They all appreciate learning about how paraprofessionals, on their 50th anniversary, have won contractual due-process rights. Members are also eager to hear about how the Janus Supreme Court decision ended the traditional labor law provision that required nonmembers to pay an agency fee as their fair share of the cost of negotiations. They are heartened to learn that only a minuscule number of members have abandoned the UFT and NYSUT.
We discuss how many of our retirees volunteer across the country to help fellow unionists organize and engage in political action based on the UFT model; how we assist our in-service colleagues in what UFT President Michael Mulgrew calls his daytime union at rallies, in lobbying and at legislative hearings.
They welcome the news that midterm election victories flipping the House of Representatives now provides protection against attempts to weaken Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, health coverage and other earned benefits. For all of us who remember unfair teacher evaluation schemes, we discuss our latest state political wins that are now bringing about rational evaluation plans.
Understandably, most of our road trip questions are about benefits and how to navigate toward a more effective awareness of how to attain them.
Many of the questions we are asked can be answered by accessing the benefit tree [see image, bottom left] on the UFT website at www.uft.org/feature-stories/union-proud-your-benefits. Click on the leaves for the topic that interests you and up will pop all the details you need.
You can have fun with it and be informed at the same time!
We’re on the road again. See you along the way.