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Public education is under attack.

Updated: Jul 27, 2021

With the pandemic as pretext, those who have been working for years to defund and privatize our education system have kicked into full gear, inviting unelected technology business leaders with failed track records of 'reform' to attempt to transform our system.

On June 10, Labor-Religion Coalition hosted an online forum to discuss the stakes of this struggle and how unions and communities are pushing back on these attacks.

Education worker unions have been, and remain, the strongest line of defense against these attacks on our rights to a quality and accessible public education for all. This is not just a labor or education struggle, it is a moral one. It is about defending and improving our school systems to win the public schools that all people deserve.

This panel discussion featured: Frederick Kowal, president of United University Professions Andrea Vasquez, First Vice President of the Professional Staff Congress at CUNY Laura Franz, president of the Albany Public School Teachers’ Association Donald Nesbit, the executive vice president of DC 37 Local 372 Andrew Dobbyn, Campus Chair/Business Agent of the Stony Brook chapter of the Graduate Student Employees Union-CWA Local 1104 The Reverend Dr. Liz Theoharis, Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival and the Director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice at Union Theological Seminary.

Our panelists offered several ways to take action right now:

  • Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival Digital Justice Gathering: On June 20, across the internet and the airwaves, the Poor People's Campaign will drive the vision and agenda of our communities into the heart of the national narrative. The Poor People's Campaign unites poor an impacted people, labor, moral leaders, and activists in a movement to end systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation and militarism. In the midst of pandemic, economic collapse, climate change, racist state violence, and more, the key to real and lasting change lies within our communities — within our ability to come together in new and bold ways. Join with us by registering for June 20, 2020!

  • Sign GSEU's COVID-19 Petition: Support graduate students across the SUNY system by signing onto their demands.

  • Show support for the NY Heros Act: Tell Gov. Cuomo to protect essential workers and issue a health and essential rights order by signing this petition.

  • Demand that legislators and the Governor #FundOurFutureNY: Use NYSUT's political action tool to demand that New York raise revenue from the wealthiest, rather than cut funding for education and other critical services.

  • Workers First Caravan for Racial and Economic Justice: This massive national day of action is organized by the AFL-CIO to confront the three crises facing America: a public health pandemic, an economic recession and social upheaval caused by institutionalized violence against people of color. There will be caravans across all 50 states, and Puerto Rico will be participating in solidarity actions as well. In Washington, D.C., a 1,000-car caravan will make its way through the city on June 17. More information on the timing and location of all planned caravans and the event toolkit can be found here. The following caravans are currently scheduled in New York State: Albany (June 14), Buffalo (June 17), Kingston (June 20).

  • Support the #CUNYSummerofStruggle: Visit to find opportunities to learn more and take action to fight back against cuts, protect worker and student safety, and support public higher education in New York City!

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