Date Posted

A Message from the Political Action Committee 

Election Day is this Tuesday: November 8, 2022.  Have you considered how you will cast your vote for New York State Governor?  

As a state employee, a public school educator, and a member of our local and state labor unions, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with where each of the candidates stands on issues that directly impact your employment, pension, and health care.  

Kathy Hochul was sworn in as Governor of New York State in August 2021. In her brief tenure, Governor Hochul’s actions have demonstrated her unwavering support of public education and labor unions.  Last April, she announced and enacted an unprecedented statewide school aid increase of over $2 billion. This represents a 7.2 % increase in school aid, which is the largest percent increase in NYS history. Some of this money is earmarked for recruiting and retaining quality teachers. Grant money has been set aside in this state budget for paraprofessionals and teaching assistants who remain employed to pursue a teaching degree. In addition, Governor Hochul has temporarily waived the retiree income cap with the hope that these experienced teachers may rejoin the workforce where there is a shortage of teachers.  

Governor Hochul has also taken aggressive measures to provide the necessary support to close the learning gap caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes support for extended school day or school year programs, after-school programs, and mental health professionals. In addition to the direct school aid Hochul has outlined in her budget, she has also made steps to correct one of the several egregious provisions of the Tier 6 New York State Retirement System.  Hochul has reduced the vesting period from 10 years to 5 years and has changed the overtime calculations for salary and wages earned during COVID-19, so lost wages do not punish members. Hochul also supports NYSUT’s effort to extend the moratorium on APPR, and she has signed legislation to extend COVID-19 death benefits for public employees through 2023. Governor Hochul recognizes that an investment in public school teachers and public education is an investment in the future of New York State.  

In stark contrast to Hochul, her opponent, gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin has voted in Congress to decimate programs that fund public schools, early childhood learning, and after-school programs by slashing $25.6 billion from the federal budget (HR 2740, Amdt. 306, Vote #289, 6/13/2019).  He recently voted against the “Protecting the Right to Organize Act” of 2019 (PRO Act).  This bill would strengthen workers' rights and protect collective bargaining, so they can negotiate for higher salaries, better benefits, and a secure retirement. The PRO Act would also eliminate state "right to work" laws, which limit workers' ability to bargain collectively. The PRO Act also prohibits employers from holding “captive audience meetings,” which helps employers stop organizing campaigns.  Ultimately, the bill would ensure that all workers have the right to join a union. Lee Zeldin voted against the PRO Act. As if voting against that bill was not enough, Zeldin voted in favor of 3 amendments to the PRO Act that would have undercut workers’ ability to unionize and bargain (HR 2474, Vote #50, 2/6/2020).

During Zeldin’s campaign, he unveiled his educational plan, “Student First.” This plan is hostile to public schools and includes the expansion of charter schools. Charter schools are subsidized with taxpayer dollars but are not held to the same rigorous academic or financial standards as our traditional public schools.  Expansion of the charter school industry or “for-profit” education robs scarce financial resources from the public school system with little accountability.  

Actions speak louder than words, and it is evident by the actions of these two candidates that only one is pro-union, pro-public education, and pro-teacher: Kathy Hochul.  

Kathy Hochul is the first gubernatorial candidate in fifteen years to earn a NYSUT endorsement, which should speak volumes to all public educators. When you vote on November 8th,  please consider which candidate is best for your profession and for our kids.  Kathy Hochul is working hard for what’s right for teachers and families.

We urge you to vote for the only candidate with a commitment and record of investing in public education and public educators.

Please vote for Kathy Hochul for Governor this Election Day, Tuesday, November 8th.

Your job is your livelihood.  It pays your mortgage, provides for your children’s future, and delivers security in retirement.  Do not underestimate the importance and power of your vote on November 8th!


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