THE PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE PLAINVIEW -OLD BETHPAGE CONGRESS OF TEACHERS
Volume XXV No. 15 May 2, 1997
by Morty Rosenfeld
I recently had the pleasure of attending a meeting of the Retiree Chapter of the PCT. I try to go to these as often as my schedule permits in that they give me a chance to catch up with old friends and to get directly involved on the many wonderful things our Retiree Chapter does. These opportunities almost always have me reliving some of the history of the PCT with those who made it on the frontlines of the many battles we have fought.
At this particular meeting I ran into Joan Hoerger, a retired librarian from the Jamaica Avenue School, who has maintained her union activism in her retirement. It turns out that Joan was cleaning out some of the files a teacher collects over a career, one of which she wanted me to see, a graphic presentation of average teacher salaries in June of 1963. Rarely has a document viewed with the advantage of hindsight summarized the accomplishments of our movement as poignantly as this one. Here it is. See what it says to you about what unions have done for teachers.
1963 AVERAGE TEACHER SALARIES
New York - $6950 New Jersey - $6308 Pennsylvania - $5660
Alabama - $3610 Georgia - $4637 Virginia - $4950
Ohio - $5757 Wisconsin - $5650 California - $7050
SCHOOL & LIBRARY
On Tuesday, May 20,1997 voters in the Plainview-Old Bethpage School District will elect two (2) members of the Board of Education and one (1) Public Library Trustee. They will additionally be asked to pass on the 97-98 budgets of both institutions.
In the School Board race, incumbents Evy Rothman and Eric Schultz are being challenged by Mel Leone, an unsuccessful candidate in last year's election, and Cathy Schapp PTA Unit President of the Stratford Road School.
The PCT is in the process of determining its position in the upcoming election. By next week, the Political Action Committee and the Executive Board will have met to take a decision.
In the meantime, there is a need to take up a collection for the PCT Political Action Fund. Building reps will be asking members to contribute $10.00 ($5.00 for clericals) to finance this essential activity of our union. Remember, dues dollars are not used to finance political activities. We must raise this money by contribution if we are to maintain our political presence in the community.
Collecting money is one of the most troublesome tasks a building rep has to do. Please make their jobs a bit easier by making your contributions quickly. Please make checks payable to PCT PAC.
The weekend of April 13th, delegates to the 1997 NEA/New York Delegate Assembly gathered in Syracuse to map the agenda for our state organization for the coming year. The PCT was represented by Morty Rosenfeld, Judi Alexanderson, Vicki Ahlsen, Cindy Feldman, Tom Syrett, Jolynn Gable, Cathy Reagan, Mary Ann Bruder, Kermit Wilson, Helen Cohn and Jackie Pekar.
Much of the convention's business was provided by the resolutions brought by the PCT (previously reported in the Pledge). All but one of our resolutions passed. Two of the most significant were those calling upon our state organization to seek legislation to change the rules of the Employees Retirement System to end the unfair crediting of service time to part-time employees and a statement of strong opposition to the efforts of NEA President Bob Chase to "reinvent the NEA," to transmute it from a union to a more professional organization. The latter item received some very passionate debate, but in the end the PCT prevailed.
Somewhat disappointing was the failure of the convention, by a narrow margin, to endorse the PCT's call for the aggressive organizing of public library workers throughout the state. While this motion failed by a handful of votes, it will have no impact on our recent organizing of the Plainview Public Library. It simply means that for now, our state organization will not commit significant resources in this effort. The PCT will probably bring this motion back to NEA/New York next year. Experience suggests that thinking about this issue may yield a better result next time.
PCT WEB PAGE UPDATED
On May 1st, an updated edition of the PCT Web Page will make its appearance. On the Web for about two months, our page has had about 230 visitors. We are led to understand from others who are more experienced that this is a good beginning. The officers are hoping to develop this resource as an important vehicle for our union's message.
The May edition will update existing features and introduce such new elements as an audio message from PCT President Morty Rosenfeld, an e-mail utility to our elected representatives at the state and national level, introduction of our newest members, the Plainview-Old Bethpage Library Association and coverage of the upcoming school and public library board elections. The appearance of our page has also been improved with some interesting animated graphics ( for those whose browsers support them). Check it out! We believe you will be proud of our union's presence on the Internet. The URL, in case you have forgotten, is: http://members.aol.com/pobct/index.html
Just before our recent holiday, the New York State Legislature quickly introduced and passed a legislative retirement incentive. The bill, currently awaiting the Governor's signature, is the exact same law as was passed in the last session of the legislature. It gives employees retiring under its provisions one month of additional service credit for each year of employment to a maximum of 36 months or three years. Unfortunately, the bill also contains the exact same ambiguous language on what the employer must save on each retiree. While the law clearly states that the employer must save 50% of the difference between the salary of the retiring employee and his/her replacement, it is completely ambiguous as to whether that savings must accrue to the employer over one or two years. It was this ambiguity that caused our Board Of Education to not accept the incentive last year.
The PCT is currently working with our representatives in Albany to see if we can get the intent of the bill publicly clarified so that our Board could be more comfortable about accepting it.
In the meanwhile, teacher members who are contemplating retiring this year are reminded of the Board's position on the payment of one for three for accumulate sick leave. The Board believes that it has the right to withhold payment of these monies if notification of the intent to retire is not submitted to the district by May 15th. This could be very important to someone with a significant number of sick days which could be used in a five year final average salary to boost one's pension.
Members are advised to call the PCT office with any retirement questions they have.
END OF YEAR PARTY
Arrangements are being made for the PCT annual end of year party at which we celebrate the passing of another year and honor this year's retirees. At the moment it looks like the party will be held on Wednesday, May 28 1997. Please save the date and watch for the party announcement flyer.
NASSAU TRACT TEACHERS CENTER
It's never too early to begin thinking about next year.
TRACT will be changing the calendar of its in-service course offerings for 1997-1998. Instead of sending a brochure of fall courses early in September, TRACT will be offering courses that will be held over the winter with the brochure coming to you later in the fall.
Therefore, you still have plenty of time to tell TRACT what courses you would like to take for in-service credit.
Remember TRACT stands for Teacher Resource and Computer Training. An instructor can be found to teach just about any beginner, intermediate, or advanced computer course providing that some building in the district has the capability. But, even if our district cannot accommodate the course you want, one of the other districts in our consortium probably can. The other districts are: Oyster Bay, Carle Place, Locust Valley, West Hempstead, East Rockaway, Mineola, Sewanhaka, Garden City, Hewlett-Woodmere and BOCES.
Don't be shy! Send your course requests to TRACT, c/o PCT.
If you have questions, contact our Policy Board members (Judi Alexanderson, Richard Galetti) or your Building Ambassador (Mike Pavlovich - JFK; Diane Zaretsky - Mattlin; Vicki Ahlsen - PMS; Sandy Bennardo - Pky; Diane Iannaccone - Strat/Kg; Jeanne Candal -OB.)
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