PCT PLEDGE

THE PCT PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF

THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE CONGRESS OF TEACHERS 

VOL. XXXXIV, NO. 1  SEPTEMBER 11, 2006

 

TAKING SOME PRIDE

By PCT President Morty Rosenfeld

   Fundamental to any organization, but especially to unions, is the need of individual members to subordinate their individual needs to the welfare of the entire group.  Members must be clear that a greater good comes to all from acting in the common interest, even though that may require individual sacrifice.

   Wherever I go in union circles, I invariably hear the plaintive cry of union leaders lamenting the lack of support by union membership for their union.  This lament is often expressed in generational terms as, ďThe young people donít want to do anything.Ē

   In speeches that Iíve made and workshops that Iíve run, I have expressed my conviction that the membership of  todayís unions  do not represent some mutated form of humanity, that just as their predecessors they want some workplace dignity and some say about the content and quality of their work lives.   Shown by their leaders how to achieve that, they would be as strong supporters of their union as any who came before them. 

   The just completed round of negotiations put my beliefs to the test.  Our membership confirmed my beliefs and then some.  They took an already  high level of solidarity to new levels.  In the almost 40 years that I have been a part of the PCT, I canít recall a difficult negotiations where we were more together, where the leadership could concentrate on the negotiations process instead of keeping the members on the same page.  I donít know of another education union that could have asked its teachers to supress the need to come to school the week before Labor Day to set their rooms up for the start of the school year and get the 99.9 percent compliance that we received.  Itís simply outstanding.

   Beyond any question we are witnessing the payoff of the leadership development work that we have been doing for the past few years, especially building leadership work.  That endeavor has us organized better than we have ever been.  There is no telling what we can accomplish in the future.  We can all take pride that a new generation of PCT membership is prepared to carry on the glorious tradition of our union.

 

MERGER AT LAST

   On September 1, the PCT became a proud member of  NYSUT, NEA, AFT, AFL-CIO, the one statewide union formed by the merger of NEA/ New York and New York State United Teachers.  For the first time in many years, people working in education in our state will speak with one strong voice to the powers in Albany .  At long last, the energy and resources that went into the organizing rivalry between the two unions will be put to the benefit of our members. 

   One of the first benefits of merger will be our united political action work in Novemberís very crucial elections.  While the PCT has always been politically active, our efforts here on Long Island have been constrained by our isolation as one of a handful of NEA/ New York locals.  Thatís all going to change now with the PCT becoming a leader in an already vital NYSUT political action program throughout the state.

   We have already participated in the development of that program.  PCT officers Morty Rosenfeld and Judi Alexanderson, both members of the NYSUT Board of Directors, took part in the NYSUT endorsement meeting held in Albany in August.  Also at the August NYSUT Board meeting, Morty Rosenfeld was appointed to the Political Action Committee of the new merged organization.

   There will be much more for the membership to do this fall.  First of all, we will be conducting a NYSUT VOTE/COPE fund raising drive.  Like the PCT, NYSUT raises all of its very considerable political action money through voluntary contribution.  That money is used to support candidates with a pro-education, pro-labor agenda in Albany and Washington .  The NYSUT political action program has been successful in the past.  Merger with NEA/ New York should make it an even more potent political force.

   Money alone wonít get us the changes in Albany and Washington we need.  PCT members are accustomed to phone bank work, and that will continue in the merged organization on an even grander scale.  PCT members will be recruited this fall to make phone calls from our phone bank in Jericho in support of the NYSUT slate of endorsed candidates.  Members are asked to start thinking about giving some time in October to the cause.  

 

NEW MEMBER MEETING

   Staff new to the Teacher and Clerical Units are reminded of their invitation to attend a meeting at the PCT Office at 4:00 PM on Monday, September 18.

   Officers and staff of the PCT and Welfare Fund will be on hand to assist new staff to put their benefit packages in place and to find out about our union and the work it does for its membership.

 

403b CHANGES

    PCT members wishing to start a 403b account or  change their contributions to  existing accounts (tax sheltered annuities) are reminded that they have until September 15, 2006 .  The next contractual deadline for changes is January 15, 2007 .                                                                   

  Members should further understand that recent changes in the tax code permit an increase in the yearly amount that may be contributed to an account.  Effective for the 2006 tax year, contributions may be increased to $15,000 per year under age 50 and $20,000 per year over age 50.

   

FLEX  BENEFITS CHANGES IN NOVEMBER

  Changes in flex benefits deductions are made through the Business Office in November for the year beginning January 1, 2007 .  It is not too soon, therefore, for members to start thinking of changes they may wish to make.  Now is a good time to review medical expenses not covered by insurance which could be paid for with pre-tax dollars from oneís flexible medical spending account.

 

PCT PARTY SET

  On Thursday, October 26, 2006 , the PCT will hold its annual party to welcome its newest members and to honor those who retired during the 2005-06 school year.

  This yearís party will  be held at Antunís on Old Country Road in Hicksville .  Speeches and ceremonies will be kept to an absolute minimum, while beer, wine, soft drinks and finger foods and music will be maximized from 4:00 to 7:00 P.M.  

  There are no school meetings or staff development on this date, so it should be easy for every member to attend.  Honored retirees and new members will be our guests.  Because of a healthy PCT subsidy, the charge to all other members will be a very low $15.

  Our annual party is one of the few opportunities we have for all of us to get together during the year.  It will also be an opportunity to celebrate our recently negotiated contracts. The officers of the PCT are looking forward to this being the best attended party yet.

 

CONTRACT SURVEYS

  Within the next week, members should be on the alert to receive a PCT Contract Survey Form.  It is through this form that PCT Secretary Judi Alexanderson gets the information she needs to make sure that the contracts of all of our units are being implemented as they should be.

  PCT Members are asked to spend the few minutes necessary to complete this very important form and to return it promptly to the PCT Office via inter-office mail or by giving it to a building SRC Representative.

 

NYSUT ASSOCIATE MEMBERS

  The PCT Office is aware of the fact that some of our members have maintained Associate Memberships in NYSUT in order to keep some benefits purchased when they worked in another district whose local union was affiliated with NYSUT.

  Members of the PCT will no longer have to maintain their Associate Membership.  Their membership status has been automatically changed to reflect the merger of NEA/ New York and NYSUT.

             

NAME AND ADDRESS CHANGES

   If your family status changed over the summer, or if you have moved or changed your email address,  please make sure you give the PCT Office your updated information immediately.

 

IN MEMORIAM

  We were saddened to learn of the passing of several members of the Retiree Unit of the PCT.  We remember the contribution they made to the children of Plainview-Old Bethpage and their sacrifices to build our union.  They are:

                       Frank Matlack

                   Sy Rubin

                        Gladys Stevens

                        Mae Bermann

                        Kathy Barash

                      

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