THE PCT PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF
THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE CONGRESS OF TEACHERS
VOL. XXXXIV, NO. 2 SEPTEMBER 28, 2006
PCT TO LAUNCH
By PCT President Morty Rosenfeld
Beginning in October, the PCT will continue its historical political activism by launching its annual political action fund-raising drive. It will do so, however, a bit differently owing to its participation in the merger of NEA/New York and NYSUT.
What wonít change is our support for candidates who support public education, the rights of working people and socially progressive policies. We know that we need some significant change at the state and national level. Like most Americans, we sense that our nation is headed in the wrong direction.
Beginning in October, SRC Reps will be calling on you to ask for your voluntary contribution to VOTE/COPE, the political action fund of NYSUT. Like the PCT, all of NYSUTís political action activities are financed through these voluntary contributions. Your Reps will be asking you for a suggested contribution of $35. Needless to say, you can give more. I know I and the other officers intend to. That may sound like a lot, but it really isnít. Up to 40% of that money will come back to the PCT to finance our local campaigns for Board of Education and school budget. The remainder of it will go to making the changes we require in our state and nation. It will go to supporting political leaders who support us. The simple truth is that it is impossible to do effective political action today without raising considerable money. We all benefit from NYSUTís political action work. We have to raise our fair share of the money it takes to achieve the legislative accomplishments they make.
While I know that we will succeed in reaching our goal of $35 per member, we will not be any where near the best fundraisers among the Long Island Education unions. Many of them collect in excess of $100 per member through a payroll deduction plan. Please give, and give as generously as you can.
In addition to our money, the politicians we support need our labor, labor to make thousands of phone calls and stuff mailing envelopes and do the endless things that go into a successful political campaign. While we have done all of these things before, we will be doing it this election season with our NYSUT colleagues from across the Island. To date, most of the PCT Executive Board and many of our Alternates have signed up to staff the NYSUT phonebank on the three nights that have been assigned to the PCT. Thatís about 50 people at this point. But we can use even more on October 10 and 16 and on November 2. We will be working from 5 PM to 8 PM at the Jericho office of NYSUT. Why not volunteer to your SRC Rep today.
We will be raising money and doing other campaign work for the following slate of NYSUT endorsed candidates. Letís see what we can do to win the political battle to save public education and change the course of our nation. A final word. None of this work matters if you donít vote. If you arenít registered, there is still time. Your SRC Reps have voter registration forms. See them today.
UNITED STATES SENATE
Hillary Rodham Clinton
US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
1st CD Tim Bishop
2nd CD Steve Israel
3rd CD David Mejias
4th CD Carolyn McCarthy
5th CD Gary Ackerman
NEW YORK STATE SENATE
1st SD Kenneth LaValle
2nd SD John Flanagan
3rd SD Caesar Trunzo
4th SD Owen Johnson
5th SD Carl Marcellino
6th SD Kemp Hannon
7th SD Michael Balboni
8th SD Charles Fuschillo
9th SD Dean Skelos
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
1st AD Marc Alessi
2nd AD Fred Thiel
3rd AD Patricia Eddington
4th AD Steven Englebright
5th AD Ginny Fields
6th AD Philip Ramos
7th AD No Endorsement
8th AD Philip Boyle
9th AD Andrew Raia
10th AD James Conte
11th AD Robert Sweeney
12th AD Joseph Saladino
13th AD Charles Lavine
14th AD Robert Barra
15th AD Rob Walker
16th AD Thomas DiNapoli
17th AD Thomas McKevitt
18th AD Earlene Hooper
19th AD David McDonough
20th AD Harvey Weisenberg
WHY OUR VOTES ARE IMPORTANT STATE PENSION
PLANS UNDER ATTACKBy Joseph Marcal, President PCT-Retired
Some years ago there was one pension plan. As new plans were designed to reduce employer costs we developed a "tier system". Tier one was the original plan. There are now four "tiers." Each new tier when added was designed to reduce costs and benefits. There has been talk of a fifth tier. Now one candidate for governor is supporting the reduction of costs and thus changes in the pension system for new employees. Our pension system is under attack again. Republican, John Faso is running for Governor and wants to change the basis of our retirement plans. He wants to allow localities and school districts to replace defined benefit systems with 401(k) accounts to lower state and local costs of retirement pensions. Fasoís plan is to reduce employer costs not to improve our pension plan. If this reduces pensions of public employees so be it. Current public employees had better pay attention or incoming employeeís benefits could be reduced. Since pensions are guaranteed under our state constitution only future employees would be hurt. A responsible union and its members must protect future employees who have no way to protect their future interests.
Our current plan is based upon our final average salary over the last three or five years, whichever is higher. As you move up on the step ladder of the salary schedule your salary increases. In addition the salary schedule is changed with each contract renewal. In the last ten years our salary schedule has gone up about thirty percent. So when you finally retire the calculation of your pension is based on the highest end of your earnings both in the high end of the salary schedule and also in the highest contractual salary.
Our state plans are managed by professionals and are generally managed with lower expenses and often earn more than a 401(k). Often workers lose when they switch plans.
Our current plan guarantees a definite amount at retirement. As long as the stock market goes up the contributions by public employers to the retirement system goes down. If the market goes down then the public employers must contribute more towards your pension. The amount a retiree will get under our current plan will not fluctuate according to the business cycle. It is defined in advance. Under 401(k) plans the amount of future employeeís pensions is not defined. That means that pensions would be subject to market movement up or down. Under the 401(k) plans individuals invest money. Your costs are greater than the stateís pension plans and retirement income is not guaranteed.
The last thing a new employee asks is, "What is my retirement plan?" Those who are currently employed and retired must protect the rights of future employees. That is what a union does!
PCT SAFE DRIVER COURSE
The PCT will offer a Safe Driver Course on Monday November 27 and Tuesday November 28 from 4 to 7 PM in the library of Kennedy High School. Participation is limited to 40 people, so reservations will be on a first come first serve basis. This will be the only time the PCT runs the course this school year.
Participation in the Safe Driving Course provides members with a 10% reduction in the cost of their auto liability insurance and can be used to remove up to 2 points from oneís license.
Those wishing to attend should send a check for $25 made payable to the PCT.
Members are reminded of the PCT annual party to honor our June retirees and welcome our newest members. This year, it also seems appropriate to celebrate our new three year contract by getting together to remind ourselves of the solidarity that made successful negotiations possible.
The party is on Thursday, October 26, from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Antunís on Old Country Road in Hicksville. To reserve your place, simply give a check made payable
ATTENTION PCT COACHES
With the increase of Plainview team buses being late on their pickups, we would like to put a new procedure in place which aids us in documenting this problem for the administration and Board of Education. When your team bus is more than 15 minutes late, please send the following information to Tom Syrett at Savate7@aol.com -- your name, team name, level you coach on, date of the event, and other pertinent information regarding the lateness. We will make a compendium of these problems and have the district take action to end this abuse.