Welcome to the 2017–18 school year. I hope you took time out of your schedule to do exciting activities, visit new places or do a little bit of each! However you spent your summer, I hope it was productive and relaxing.
Our jobs as secretaries are vital to the daily operations at our schools, and so I'd like to thank you for keeping your schools on track and staying involved in our chapter. Here are a few issues we're working on and some useful information as we begin a new school year.
- Training for school secretaries: We have a lot of new secretaries, which is great news. However, our job often calls on us to do many different things, which requires training and support. This is essential for our new school secretaries and for those of us who are still learning new skills. We will continue our fight this year to obtain training for all titles under school secretaries, including those involved with accounting and payroll. I know training can be expensive, so you deserve classes and workshops at reasonable prices. Right now, many school secretaries are receiving the minimum level of training at Borough Field Support Centers. Pupil-accounting training is just one of the vital areas in which we need training. I want to make sure you have the support you need to perform any task that is expected of you on the job. Therefore, I will continue to update you on this issue throughout the year.
- Get involved in UFT events: I want to encourage you to stay active and join your fellow school secretaries at this year's Labor Day Parade this Saturday, Sept. 9. You can sign up online to walk with the UFT at the parade. I also want to highlight the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Sunday, Oct. 15. It's a great way to walk with fellow UFT members and join the fight to find a cure and support cancer research. Be sure to check the UFT website for more details as we draw closer to the day of the walk.
- Save the date for our seminar: Our School Secretaries Seminar will take place on Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018, at UFT headquarters. You’ll gain valuable information from presentations and hear from UFT representatives. You'll also have the opportunity to network with fellow school secretaries. Registration will be available at a later date.
- Use our new online inquiry form: I want you to feel as comfortable as possible asking me for information and answers to questions. Therefore, I've created an online form for school secretaries. Feel free to use this form throughout the school year. I or someone else from the School Secretaries Chapter will contact you with a response.
As we embark on another year, we have a lot of work to do as unionists. New Yorkers go to the polls on Nov. 7 to vote on whether to hold a constitutional convention. It is vital that we vote NO on this issue. Anti-union forces are committed to destroying our pensions as well as our right to organize and collectively bargain. Tell your family and friends to join you at the polls and vote NO!
Read more about why we must vote down a constitutional convention »
Watch this video about the dangers of a convention »
Public employee unions are facing an enormous challenge this year: The Supreme Court has agreed to hear the Janus v. AFSCME court case that seeks to debilitate unions by declaring fair-share or agency fees unconstitutional. These fees cover the costs a union incurs representing and providing services for people who do not choose to belong to a union..
As we brace for this decision, we need every single one of you to remind your colleagues about the benefits of belonging to a union: a defined-benefit pension, employer-paid health insurance, due process rights, tenure, a grievance process, and a voice in how schools are run. Unions, through our voluntary donations to COPE, also provide us a place at the table in Albany as well as at the City Council.
Help us keep our union the strong force it’s been for more than 50 years! Have a great year and keep in touch.
School Secretaries Chapter Leader
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