POSITION ON NYSUT DEMOCRACY
Please contact ST CAUCUS with questions on our position.
NYSUT’s leadership and decision-making bodies are hampered by an undemocratic power structure that rewards a local’s size rather than ideas. The current Unity Caucus domination of NYSUT’s agenda prevents an inclusive vision in which all locals matter. The 2014 NYSUT election and the current endorsement process in the UNITY Caucus have illustrated that the sensitive balance that allowed NYSUT to function so successfully for so long has become corrupted and imbalanced. In fact, with all their talk of bringing change to NYSUT, infusing more democratic practices within our union’s governance is one principle the current officers never mentioned. As a union, we support measures to democratize balloting within New York State, yet within our own union, we face resistance when seeking to create processes and procedures that will allow and encourage all locals, regardless of size or financial ability, the opportunity to participate in NYSUT governance. They stated their belief that “members need to drive how we operate as a union and have major input on statewide decisions,” but their actions do not support this statement. ST Caucus, with the support of hundreds of NYSUT members, has repeatedly brought forth NYSUT Constitutional Amendments that would address these undemocratic processes, including but not limited to At-Large members of the Board of Directors being elected by the entire state delegation, rather than the constituencies to which they are assigned. Our current system of voting for officers and At-Large Directors gives large locals an oversized representation in our democracy. Only 30% of all locals participate in the election process, in large part due to the expense of traveling to and lodging in New York City in order to vote. This requires, at minimum, a $500 “poll tax” per delegate. We will make it a priority to engage locals that have traditionally (or more recently) been disengaged from NYSUT because they feel their voices have gone unheard and their concerns unheeded. We will continue to support change that empowers ALL of our members to be the voice of NYSUT.