A PUBLICATION OF THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETPAGE CONGRESS OF TEACHERS
Volume XXXV, No. 11 Feb. 13, 1997
We were saddened to learn of the untimely death of a relatively unsung hero of the PCT, one of its founders, Jerry Berger. Though his name is perhaps not as well known as other leaders of the PCT, his contribution to our cause was no less substantial and no less deserving of honored memory.
In the sixties, while there were teacher organizations, there was no collective bargaining, no contracts, no rights. The dream of unionists at the time was to win the right to bargain and obtain a contract specifying the rules by which people in education would work - to escape from being at the beck and call of any administrator.
To champion the cause of collective bargaining in those days required courage. To organize teachers to struggle their first contract was fraught with difficulty and danger. To strike to compel a school district to bargain was almost unheard of. Yet, this is exactly what Jerry Berger,
Paul Rubin and the other early leaders of the PCT did, and we continue to reap the benefits of their valiant struggle.
As President of the PCT, Jerry led the first teacher union strike on Long Island, a successful strike that led to the first contract, a contract that we have been building on ever since. A fearless union leader, an exemplary science educator, Jerry Berger will be missed in our ranks.
A FRIEND OF EDUCATION
MARIO COLLELUORI PASSES
Shortly after we received the news of Jerry Berger's death, we were informed of the passing of another important figure in the history of our school district, Mario
There has probably never been a more unusual member of a board of education than Mario Colleluori. How often do we find a board member who publicly advances the thesis that the trouble with American education is the administrators,
the bureaucrats who get in the way of the people who do the real work? How often do we find a member of management with an intuitive appreciation and respect for
the problems of working people? Mario was that rare board member.
Two generations of politically left PCT leadership found this self-styled conservative a friend who was always able to transcend ideology in the interest of the higher cause of helping people, children - their parents - senior citizens - anyone in need, especially if the need arose as a result of the action of some insensitive, uncaring authority.
Plainview has lost one of its finest, a courageous fighter in the only cause worth engaging, the betterment of the human condition. We will be hard pressed to find his like again.
EXEC BD VOTES TO AFFILIATE PUBLIC LIBRARIANS
At their February 4th meeting the PCT Executive Board approved a request from the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library Association (the union representing the professional staff at the Plainview Public Library) to become a functional unit of the PCT. This request came soon after the very successful assistance rendered by the PCT to POBLA in their recent difficult negotiations with the Plainview Library.
As the PCT's latest functional unit the approximately 30 librarians will become part of the PCT in much the same way as the Clerical and Substitute Teacher units joined our union. Their president, Marilyn Stolove, will become a Vice-President of the PCT and will have a seat on our Executive Board.
The affiliation of POBLA and the PCT will undoubtedly be helpful to both organizations. The addition of 30 members, many of whom live locally, is an obvious plus for our organization. As public employees working to provide an
educational service, their issues and ours coincide to a great extent. For POBLA, there will be a distinct advantage belonging to a substantially larger organization with deep roots in the politics of the community.
Efforts are also underway to organize the clerical employees of the Plainview Library. Recently, the PCT hosted a Sunday brunch for the clerical staff to provide
an opportunity to talk about our union and what we could do for the library clericals.
This organizing effort is being underwritten by our state organization, NEA/New York. It is a project that will take some time owing to the tactics of library management who have traditionally pitted the professional staff against the clerical thereby making for a troubled workplace.
Members who use the Plainview Library are encouraged to introduce themselves to library staff on their next visit. Conversations about the PCT and its years of accomplishments can be very helpful to our organizing efforts.
WELFARE FUND INCREASES
LIFE INSURANCE BENEFIT
At their last meeting in January, the trustees of the Welfare Fund voted to increase the Fund's life insurance benefit from $20,000 to $30,000.
This benefit increase is at no cost to the membership and requires no action to put it in place. Members should, however, make note of this change in their important personal papers.
Members are reminded that Welfare Fund Life Insurance is distinct from PCT Life Insurance. Members receive $10,000 of PCT Life with their membership and are eligible to purchase up to $90,000 of additional insurance at a very favorable rate.
NEA/NEW YORK CONVENTION
Each spring, delegates of the PCT attend a convention of our state organization, NEA/New York. This year's meeting will be held on the weekend of April 10th. At this meeting, delegates discuss the issues of the day and vote to create the policy for our state organization.
The PCT has historically been very active at our state conventions. This year will be no exception. Our Executive Board has approved twelve resolutions which our
delegation will put before the convention. The approved resolutions are as follows:
1- NEA/New York shall oppose Governor Pataki's property tax reduction plan which would cap local expenditures for education.
2- NEA/New York and the NEA shall oppose changing the method for calculating the Consumer Price Index as a method for solving the financial problems of the Social Security System.
3- NEA/New York shall oppose the creation of Charter Schools in the state of New York.
4- NEA/New York shall seek legislation providing due process rights for probationary employees of school districts.
5- NEA/New York shall oppose the calling of a New York State Constitutional Convention.
6- NEA/New York shall seek legislation to change the method of calculating service credit in ERS and TRS such that part-time employment will not be penalized.
7- NEA/New York shall oppose a balanced budget amendment to the federal constitution.
8- NEA/New York shall develop an active organizing campaign to attract public librarians and public library support staff to our organization.
9- NEA/New York shall, as part of its public relations efforts on behalf of public education in the State of New York, highlight the expenditures of the New York State School Boards Association and identify the taxpayers of the state as the source of the association's revenue.
10- NEA/New York and the NEA shall support efforts to amend the welfare reform legislation of 1996 to provide a
job opportunity for welfare recipients before they may have their benefits cut off.
11- NEA/NY is opposed to any school district technology plan which does not include teachers as an integral part of the planning process.
12- NEA/New York and the NEA shall oppose all attempts to privatize Social Security.
Additionally, we will be bringing a new business item which calls upon the state organization to seek legislation and work with other organizations to correct the current situation where utilities like LILCO are able to factor into their rates the
costs of nuclear reactors that were started and never completed.
CHILD CARE COMMITTEE
The members of the Child Care Committee would like to thank the 71 staff members who responded to our survey.
At this time, 26 members have indicated that they would be interested in utilizing a PCT child Care Program. We are currently exploring offering infant care in September, 1997, with the possibility of expansion to serve toddler aged children as well.
Thank you again for your responses. If you have any questions, contact a committee member: Vicki Ahlsen - PMS, Judi Alexanderson - HBM, Sally Antman-Gleicher - Adm, Cindy Duboff - PMS, Adam Frankel - OB, Betty Iannotti, Donna Jahn, Debra Kirkup, Debbie Nieman, Claude Szajna and Jane Weinkrantz - at POBJFK.
If you are thinking of retiring soon, you need to have a personal pre-retirement conference with a representative from the NYS Teachers Retirement System. Call one of the following sites for your appointment:
Huntington: (516)549-4900 - Western Suffolk BOCES, 507 Deer Park Ave , Dix Hills
Appointment dates: Feb. 26, Mar. 12, 26, Apr. 1, 16, May 7, 27 and June 11.
Patchogue: (516)289-2200- Eastern Suffolk BOCES, 201 Sunrise Hwy, Patchogue
Appointment dates: Feb. 19, Mar.5,19, Apr. 9.30. May 14 and June 4.
Westbury: (516)997-8700 - Nassau BOCES, Salisbury Center, Valentines Rd. &
The Plain Rd., Westbury.
Appointment dates: Feb.18,25, Mar. 4,11,18,25, Apr. 8,15,29, May 6,13 and June 3, 10.
Westhampton Beach: (516) 288-9568 - Eastern Suffolk BOCES, 215 Old Riverhead Rd., Westhampton Beach.
Appointment dates: April 2, May 28.
House For Sale: Babylon Village-South Montauk, dormered 4 bd, 2bth, den,
v/sided, Anderson windows, fenced - 1 1/2 gar., deck, brick driveway, dock rights.
$ 169 K - Call 422-4036.
For Sale: Baby Grand Piano - best offer - Call Adrienne - (H) 433-8916, (W) 937-6441.
THEATER DISCOUNT TICKETS
The following theater discount tickets are available at the PCT office: Present
Laughter - thru 2/23; Phantom of the Opera - thru 3/6; New York City Ballet -
thru 3/2; Cats - thru 3/9; Tony & Tina's Wedding - thru 3/30.