I’m writing to you with only a few hours to go before the kickoff of February break! I’m sure you share my excitement. I’ll start by sharing some good news… we will be receiving our midyear raise! It will take a little while for payroll to catch up, but members will soon see an increase in their paychecks retroactive to February 1.  I’m also happy to report that the nurse’s unit has a settled contract. A special thank you to Maryann Ersboll and Julie Naftal for their work on behalf of the nurses.

There is always so much to share these days, but I’ll try to focus on just a few issues.

The district’s efforts to vaccinate teachers on our campus has been stymied by the limited supply of vaccine available. Many teachers have gotten their first dose elsewhere and are on their way to getting a second. To make it easier for teachers to get vaccinated, NYSUT has been lobbying for teachers to have up to four hours off from work without charge to personal leave to get the vaccine, as they do for annual cancer screening. If you want to help in the lobbying effort, please visit the NYSUT Member Action Center (MAC) to send a letter to your legislators. NYSUT has also been lobbying for the elimination of state tests this year. Sign a petition here.

Next month the Long Island President’s Council is promoting a day of solidarity for educators across Long Island. On March 12, 2021 teachers are asked to wear red and to share photographs of themselves and fellow members doing the hard work that has held our communities together during this time of global struggle against the pandemic. We hope to use these photographs in our promotional campaigns. Look for flyers coming shortly with additional information.

In our modern world data breaches are a near-constant threat as are the scammers who rely on them. You may recall that last year some of our members had scammers apply for unemployment benefits in their name. This scam has resurfaced recently. If you are notified that you are a victim, please don’t hesitate to contact us. You should report the fraud to the Department of Labor. You will also find good general advice in this article from USA Today.

Finally, at the risk of getting people’s hopes up, those of you with 25 years of experience may want to watch the progress of early retirement legislation introduced in the NY State Senate by Senator Pete Harckham. While many bills of this nature have been introduced before without becoming law, there’s always a chance that something may come of it this time.  Once again watch the MAC Center or write to your senator on your own to urge support of this legislation.

I wish you all a joyful and restful February break.

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