For more than 20 years, I have had the pleasure of serving as a union representative.  Whether serving as a building representative, vice president or president, I would be approached numerous times throughout the year.  People would offer suggestions.  They would often explain to me how things are done differently in another local.  “In my friend’s union….  In my husband’s union….  In my wife’s union….”  Allow me to explain a few things about my wife’s union.

One week prior to the closure, the superintendent contacted my wife’s union president about putting together a plan for remote learning.  The goal was to create a plan that would allow teachers, administrators, parents, and students the ability to work collectively and successfully during the pandemic.  The plan allowed for teachers to have a tremendous amount of discretion.  It was a success, and many teachers appreciated being able to balance the challenges of being not only teachers during the closure, but of also being parents, sons, and daughters.  It was the perfect example of what may be accomplished when all stakeholders work together.

Over the summer, my wife’s union was once again faced with additional challenges.  Several committees were formed, on which teachers and administrators worked tirelessly to develop a remote learning plan that would be utilized this year.  Although the two sides did not always agree, a plan was developed that would once again allow teachers to use much of their own discretion.  This could never have been accomplished if either side insisted on being unreasonable.

In addition to the remote learning plan, the school calendar was adjusted to allow teachers the opportunity to receive necessary training.  The training was also made available to teachers remotely if they were unable to attend in person.  And when the union was not working on the many components of the district’s remote learning plan, they were negotiating a five-year contract for their members.  A ratification meeting is expected soon.

For over fifty years, my wife’s union, the Teachers’ Association of Lindenhurst, has faced many challenges.  In these most recent challenging times, we are not alone.  I have spent a tremendous amount of time communicating with the President of LASA, Superintendent and Board of Education President over the summer.  We will continue to build on what we have accomplished in the months ahead, with the understanding that we are all facing exceedingly difficult challenges together.  I wish you all a very happy and successful 2020-2021 school year.

Stay strong.  Stay vigilant.  Be well.

Respectfully Submitted,
Michael Pastore