By PCT President Morty Rosenfeld

    As I write, it is unclear whether the Board of Education wishes to extend the existing contract, enter into full-scale negotiations or do a limited agreement as we did last year.  We are obliged to prepare for any decision they make.

    You will see below that we have taken the first step of appointing a Negotiating Committee which will set to work almost immediately to prepare for our General Membership Meetings.  Your colleagues who volunteered to serve have made a major commitment to the welfare of our membership by agreeing to put in whatever hours and effort it takes to win a fair agreement for all of our units.

     Throughout the negotiating process, there are times when all members need to demonstrate their commitment to the cause. Central to any negotiations is an assessment of the commitment of the opposition to its demands.  You can count on the Board of Education to calculate the extent to which our membership is behind our negotiating committee.  There will be times, therefore, when we have to show that they should entertain no doubt about our solidarity with our committee.

     The first such time is your unitís General Membership Meeting.  From the very beginning of the process, we want to show that we are determined to attain our objectives in negotiations and that we are organized to do just that.  To send that message requires that you attend your meeting.  This is one of the things that your union representatives canít do for you.  You must do it for yourself.

   The extension of our contracts with the District for the past three years may have created a false sense of security in some in our ranks.  Some of our members have not been through a difficult negotiations in their short tenure with us.  While we hope that the spirit of cooperation that has characterized our recent contract extensions continues, there are no guarantees that it will, and we must be prepared and united for any eventuality.  Your membership meeting is an important part in that process.  Be there!

                                NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE APPOINTED

    President Morty Rosenfeld has recommended and the PCT Executive Board has approved the appointment of a Negotiating Committee for the 2006 round of collective bargaining with the District.  The membership of the committee is as follows:

             Morty Rosenfeld, President

            Judi Alexanderson, Secretary

            Cindy Feldman, H.S. VP

            Vicki Ahlsen, M.S. VP

            Robin Glick, Elementary VP

            Lillian Feigenbaum, CUPCT President

            Eileen Vein, SUPCT Chairperson

            Lucy Pedone, CUPCT VP

            Nellie Hirshman, CUPCT

            Karen Goldberg, KC, RN

            Nina Melzer, KC, Head Rep

            Kristin Goetz, OB

            Maureen Egglinger, Píkay, Head Rep

            Kristie Walsh, Píkay, SRC

            Diane Panetta DeLuca, Pasadena

            Dave Gestwick, PMS, Head Rep

            Kevin Dugan, Assít Head Rep, JFK

            Jane Behrens, Head Rep JFK

            Wendy Schwartz, Strat.

            Meg Fessel, Strat.

            Ed Broad, HBM

            Joe Marcal, Retiree Unit


    Though this yearís negotiating committee is somewhat larger than usual, it was put together to permit all those who volunteered to participate directly in negotiations and thereby increase the organizationís knowledge of this important area of union work.

    The first meeting of the Negotiating Committee will be on Thursday, February 2, 2006 . Committee members will receive an orientation to the negotiations process and begin working on the package of demands to be submitted to the membership at their meetings which are scheduled as follows:

             March 1 - Clerical Unit General Membership Meeting ( 4:15 P.M. , Library POB Middle School ) considers proposed demands and votes final package.

             March 2 - Teacher Unit General Membership Meeting ( 4:00 P.M. , Kennedy High School   Auditorium) considers demands and votes final package.

             March 8 - Substitute Unit General Membership Meeting ( 4:00 P.M. , PCT Office) considers demands and votes final package.

       While the deadline for submission of demands has passed, members are reminded that they will be able to introduce additional demands at their General membership meeting.              



      At its January 10th meeting, the PCT Executive Board unanimously passed a motion condemning the Bush Administrationís policy of warrantless spying on the phone calls and email of American citizens in the name of national security.

    Speakers on the motion addressed their fears about what they saw as the erosion of our constitutional liberties by the executive branch that appears to believe it has unlimited power to ignore the Constitution and the law when it sees fit.   They pointed out how historically the creation of fear about the security of the nation has been used to justify the suppression of freedom.

      Passage of this motion was in keeping with the long history of PCT opposition to attempt to curb the civil liberties of Americans.  One of the core beliefs of the PCT has been that the workplace is the best place to organize around progressive ideas.  Now that our policy is to oppose government spying on Americans without a warrant, our officers are empowered to communicate our position to our elected representatives.



     This is the time of year when people start calling the PCT Office to see if there is any serious talk of retirement incentives in the air.

     The Governorís just announced budget message contains a proposal for a legislative incentive, the same proposal he has made for the last four years.  Under this proposal, always rejected by the Plainview Board of Education, the employer must show a savings of 50% between the retiring and the replacement teacher and would provide up to  three years (6%) additional service credit to those retiring within the window it provides.

     The state public employee unions are championing a bill that would allow all tier members to retire at age 55 with 25 years of experience.  Ultimately for there to be a legislative incentive, Governor Pataki, Assembly Speaker Silver and Senate Majority Leader Bruno have to agree.  Watch the Pledge as the legislative season unfolds.

     Members considering retirement are reminded of the contractual requirement to submit their letter of resignation by May 15 in order to assure payment for their accumulated sick leave during the first payroll in July.



     A study of a population of eighth graders out of the University of Pennsylvania and published in the journal Psychological Science        points to what most teachers know - that self-disciplined students often do better academically than those with higher IQs who lack this attribute.  In fact, in this study,  it turned out to be twice as important a factor as IQ. 

  This study raises the question of what districts like ours are doing to promote the development of self-discipline in our students?   These days one doesnít hear too much about any kind of discipline, let alone self-discipline.  Many suspect that what is often really meant by the expression ďneedyĒ when referring to the current school population is really the lack of self-discipline and increased impulsiveness.  This research would seem to indicate that when we cater to this ďneedinessĒ by instantaneously meeting student demands, we retard  their academic accomplishments by weakening their ability to grapple with the demands made of them.



    Members of the PCT Technology Committee met on January 24 to begin a process of trying to put together a coherent approach for our union to take to advocate solutions to the many technology problems our membership is experiencing.  It is indeed rare for a union meeting to take place at any level that does not involve some member complaint or frustration over some technological obstacle.

   Committee members will be exploring problems and solutions in their buildings in preparation for the first working session of the PCT Technology Committee of February 8, 2006 .  The members of the committee are :


            Jessica Walsh - K Center

            Nancy Klein - Old Bethpage

            Melissa Walsh - Parkway

            Joanne Levy - Stratford Rd.

            Deborah Rothaug - Pasadena

            Kathy Abbene - Mattlin

            Carolyn Arcuri - POB Middle

            Lauren Harple - JFK High        


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