R-UTN Board members Nancy Wine, Larry Ryan, Jane Flood, and Vickie Newell attended a business meeting of RC 23 Tuesday, October 3. It was held at Captain Bill’s Restaurant in Bay Shore, a beautiful setting, along with a delicious lunch and discussions of several topics important to all members.

Speakers Joan Perrini, president Ellen Burke, VOTE/COPE chairperson June Smith, and Jim Kinnier brought us up to date on a variety of topics such as the establishment of another charter school in Sachem and the campaign to Fix Tier 6. This tier in our pension system was added a decade ago, and since then over 100,000 NYSUT members earned SIGNIFICANTLY reduced pensions as compared to earlier tiers. See FixTier6.org  on the NYSUT website for more information.

It was announced that the NYSUT endorsements for Suffolk County offices in this year’s elections will be out next week. We were also reminded of the importance of supporting VOTE/COPE. New York State retired teachers have the “gold standard of insurance plans” with Medicare and NYSHIP and NYSUT works to keep it that way! VOTE/COPE contributions are used for mailing, phone banks, and supporting candidates who support education – everyone should consider an increase in contributions if possible.

The luncheon was very informative, and a pleasant way to spend a few hours with colleagues and friends!

Retiree Council 23 Luncheon, June 7

Larry Ryan, Jane Flood, Alberta Scot, Vickie Newell, Teddy Emmanuel

The view from the windows of Captain Bill’s Restaurant in Bay Shore was hazy and smoke-filled due to the Canadian wildfires, but the atmosphere inside a roomful of retirees was spirited and happy. Retiree Council 23 (RC 23) held its spring luncheon there June 7. Much was discussed and brought to our attention, including:  NYSHIP changes (recently published and distributed in the Empire Plan Special Report), Medicare, the need for continued VOTE-COPE donations, the state of Tier 6 employees in terms of pension and contributions, and how far we have progressed as a union over the years.

A special guest was recognized as well, as the RC 23 COMMUNITY SERVICES award-winner ~ Christine Pendergast, wife of deceased R-UTN member, Chris Pendergast. She offered us words of wisdom and much gratitude for supporting Chris’s legacy, the ALS Ride for Life.

It was an informative, enjoyable couple of hours! The next luncheon will be held in October, and the Retiree Conference will also take place that month at the Marriott on Route 110. Stay tuned for details later in the summer. 

VOTE-COPE Reminder

NYSUT’s non-partisan action fund, VOTE_COPE, coordinates the voluntary contributions of members and supports NYSUT-endorsed candidates and campaign committees that are pro-public-education and pro-labor.

No NYSUT dues dollars are used to support candidates or campaign committees.

NYSUT sends rebates to local unions based on a percentage (up to 40 percent) of the contributions VOTE-COPE receives from that local union’s members. Those rebates can be used in local activities such as school board races and for passage of school budgets.

All members should have received a mailing from NYSUT for this year’s VOTE-COPE contribution. Last year, your colleagues contributed over $11 million to VOTE-COPE. Plan to be part of the effort to make our public schools the best they can be by supporting candidates who support public eduction.

To contribute online, visit the NYSUT VOTE-COPE webpage and click the link at the bottom of the page.

In case you missed it – Member Benefits announces launch of Peer Support Line

This new program is now available to all NYSUT members and their families. A Peer Support Line has been created in partnership with NYSUT Member Benefits and Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care that is now available at no cost to all NYSUT members and their families. This confidential helpline — staffed by trained in-service and retired individuals who understand the challenges of NYSUT members — can provide answers, referrals, and empathetic support when you need it.

The Peer Support Line can assist with utilizing Employee Assistance Program (EAP) benefits, along with finding information and referrals for professional assistance within your community.

This service can help with the following topics and more:

• Finding mental health services or support groups
• Answering questions about Medicare and Medicaid
• Managing work-related stress

• Providing support to new members
• Sourcing elder care or caregiving services
• Assisting with marital, relationship, or child rearing concerns

• Reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness
• Accessing services for individuals with disabilities
• Finding help for victims of violence
• Managing planned or unexpected hospitalizations

Don’t go it alone. When stressful situations arise, look to the Peer Support Line to speak with trained peer support specialists who will lend a caring ear and connect you with community resources that can make a difference for you and your family.

Contact the Peer Support Line at 844-444-0152.