We did it! Thanks to the tireless work of thousands of NYSUT member activists statewide, scores of pro-public-education candidates won state and congressional seats throughout New York this November. From Long Island, to Buffalo, to the North Country, NYSUT activists worked phone banks, distributed literature and knocked on doors, to encourage members to support candidates who support public education.
The scale of union efforts was staggering, noted NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. NYSUT members made 127,412 phone calls, sent out 338,904 texts and knocked on “thousands” of doors in concert with the AFL-CIO. The statewide union also sent out 236,087 mail pieces and published a stand-alone voter guide.
“We need lawmakers who are committed to making public schools the center of our communities,” said Pallotta who thanked members for their activism, particularly the union’s ‘daytime army’ NYSUT retirees, who penned 57,000 hand-written post cards. “With these victories, I’m excited for the work ahead.”
'How union muscle helped drive Hochul's gubernatorial victory.' Via Newsday
“I think [Hochul]'s right in thanking labor. In the last couple of weeks, when people saw what was going on in the polls, we knew we had to kick it into gear even more,” NYSUT President Andy Pallotta told Newsday Wednesday, the day after Hochul posted a narrow win of 5 percentage points in New York’s closest gubernatorial election in 28 years. Pallotta noted NYSUT had not endorsed a gubernatorial candidate since 2006. The union jumped in with both feet this time in part because Hochul delivered a 7% increase in state aid to schools earlier this year as part of the state budget. NYSUT leaders stressed that in a series of leaders’ meetings in the homestretch. “We spoke to our members about how important it was to put a pro-education governor in office and not to get distracted by all the other narratives out there,” Pallotta said.
Elected to statewide office were Gov. Kathy Hochul, Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado. Voters reelected Attorney General Letitia James, Sen. Charles Schumer and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. Gov. Hochul made history by becoming the state’s first female elected governor.
Hochul is a proven champion for public school students, educators and families — from pre-K through post-grad — and her win will ensure that educators have an ally in the Capitol who will continue to stand up for the resources, staffing, programs and policies that NYSUT members need to deliver for New Yorkers, explained Pallotta. “We’re thrilled to congratulate her on her election and look forward to working with her to take our state’s public schools, colleges and hospitals to new heights in the next four years,” he said.
Pallotta noted that with Sen. Chuck Schumer and pro-public-education House members fighting for working families in Washington, Attorney General Tish James and Comptroller Tom DiNapoli serving as strong watchdogs here in New York, Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado working closely with the governor in Albany, and strong advocates in the state Senate and Assembly, NYSUT members and the New Yorkers they serve know they’ll have allies at every level of government. “We’re excited to continue our work ensuring the voices of hard-working professionals in public education and health care are heard in the halls of power,” said Pallotta.