Question – What are the Benefits to being in a Union?
1. Salaries are higher when you are in a union. The median weekly earnings of union workers are nearly 30 percent higher than non-union workers.
2. You are protected by a contract. You have peace of mind knowing your salary, benefits and working conditions are established and defended.
3. You have better access to comprehensive, affordable health care, along with lower out-of-pocket costs.
4. Your rights to a secured retirement are defended. The most recent statistics show that 77 percent of union members qualify for defined benefit pensions, compared to less than 20 percent of non-union workers.
5. You have a strong voice at work and workplace safety is strengthened.
6. You have an advocate by your side ensuring that your rights are protected through the collective bargaining process.
7. A top legal staff at NYSUT defends your rights.
8. Strong unions raise the standard of living in our communities.
Question – How many sick days do I get?
Answer - Sick leave will be granted to all professional teachers on the basis of one day per month for each month of service rendered, with no limit on how many days may be accumulated. Sick days are to be used when you are sick/have an illness. Upon retirement, you will be awarded $50 for every sick day accumulated.
Personal days are to be used for matters which cannot be attended to on a day other than a school day. Teachers are allotted 3 days in one year to be used for legal, medical or immediate family. One of the three days may be taken without a reason, as long as it is taken before May 31st, does not extend a vacation or is on a Friday. Personal days must be requested at least five days in advance by completing the appropriate form found in your school’s main office. They require administrative approval.
Family days are granted for reasons of death or illness within the immediate family. You may not exceed three days in one year.
Question – What is a flex plan?
Answer – Flexible spending accounts allow you to deduct pretax money from your paycheck and get reimbursed for health related expenses as well as child care expenses. This includes any out of pocket deductibles for dental or health as well as certain over the counter drugs. For more information contact Lori Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Answer: FERPA vs. Weingarten - If a meeting is convened to discuss concerns about a student, a staff member probably does not need Union representation. However, if the tone of the meeting changes from conciliatory to more of a teacher reprimand, the staff member has the right to end their part of the meeting and may ask for a future meeting with a Union rep. present.
Question – Where do I find information about how to get involved with different CSTA committees/teams, like Negotiations or the Scholarship Committee?
Answer – You should look at your copy of the CSTA Constitution and Bi-laws. If you have misplaced your copy, you can find one here. If you still have questions, contact a Building Representative.
Question – What types of benefits do I have as a union member?
• Members can invest in 403(b) tax deferred annuities to save for their retirement. You can arrange for this to be taken directly out of your pay and directly deposited into your chosen account. A list of companies serving Central Square is available from Maryellen Commisso at 668-4249. Financial advisors are available through NYSUT or contact the professional of your choice.
• You also have access to the Oswego Teachers’ Employees Federal Credit Union located in Oswego. They offer several ways to save money and offer loans with competitive rates. Contact them at www.oswegoteacherscu.org
• Prescription mail order is available through Prime Mail. They offer a 90 day supply for the cost of one co-pay. Forms are available on their website www.myprimemail.com or from Marie Eldred at the District Office.
Question – What is VOTE / COPE?
Answer – VOTE / COPE is the fundraising arm of NYSUT’s non-partisan political action lobbying group. NYSUT works in Albany and Washington to improve public education and protect the rights of its members. Member support makes NYSUT’s political action committee a highly effective voice in government. You will have an opportunity to contribute to VOTE / COPE during our annual fund raising effort. If you have questions about how VOTE / COPE works you can contact the VOTE / COPE coordinator, Heather Gullo at email@example.com.
Answer – CSTA dues are automatically deducted from your paycheck and are used to support our local union as well as NYSUT/NEA and AFT.
Question – What is NYSUT?
Answer - New York State United Teachers is 550,000 people who work in, or are retired from, New York’s schools, colleges, and healthcare facilities. We are classroom teachers, college and university faculty and professional staff, school bus drivers, custodians, secretaries, cafeteria workers, teacher assistants and aides, nurses and healthcare technicians. NYSUT is a federation of more than 900 local unions, each representing its own members. We are part of the American Federation of Teachers, the fastest growing union in the United States. We are also part of organized labor – the AFL – CIO – and the Education International, with more than 20 million members worldwide. NYSUT is dedicated to improving not only our working conditions, but also our professions. We’re united in a common commitment to improve the quality of education and healthcare for the people of New York.
Question: – Why should I be an active member?
Answer – By becoming a member of CSTA you help to make our union stronger. You have the right to attend union meetings, vote on contracts and union leadership depends on its members for promoting educational excellence and working to improve our schools and communities. We are involved in board policy, political action and professional development.
Question: Where do I find information about how to get involved with different CSTA committees/teams, like Negotiations or the Scholarship Committee?
Answer: You should look at your copy of the CSTA Constitution and Bi-laws. If you have misplaced your copy, you can find one here. If you still have questions, contact a Building Representative.
Question: I have an expense that is approved to be reimbursed by the CSTA. What form should I use?
Answer: Download the reimbursement form here and follow the directions on the form.
Question: I have a contractual question. Who should I contact?
Answer: First review your contract. If you have misplaced your copy, you can find one here. If you cannot find your answer by reviewing the contract, please contact a Building Representative in your building. Building Reps (BRs) are teachers who have been voted by their peers to represent their building at the executive union meetings each month. He or she will do his/her best to help you. If need be, your BR will contact an officer for further assistance.
Continuing a Tradition of Partnership, Innovation, and Educational Excellence
Question – How am I evaluated?
Answer: The purpose of the professional staff evaluation process within the Central Square Central School District is to foster continuing improvement of performance. Your APPR or Annual Professional Performance Review is the process by which you will be evaluated. Working together with your administrator on goals and using the rubric provided can help you assure that you meet the goals you have set for yourself. You may find a copy of our negotiated APPR document here.
Question – What is disability insurance?
Answer – Disability insurance is an option you can purchase through NYSUT.
Question – How do I apply to get paid during the summer (with a balloon check)?
Answer: Contact the Personnel Office (a form needs to be filled out and turned in.)
Question - If I am a probationary teacher and I get a pink slip from this district, what are my chances of being hired back?
Answer: You will be on a preferred list for 7 years. If a job opens up in your tenure area within this time period, the district must offer you the position first over other outside prospects.
Question – What are my health benefits?
Answer - As a CSTA member, the school district pays for 90% of the premium for health insurance. Our health benefits for medical, dental and vision have been negotiated for you and they are a valuable part of your compensation. All health insurance benefits are coordinated by the school district and there are several options available for members to choose from.
Question – Can I get insurance coverage for my family?
Answer - It is possible to cover your spouse and / or dependent children for medical benefits. To sign up complete an enrollment form during the open enrollment period and submit it to Marie Eldred in the Personnel Office. The open enrollment period ends September 1st and February 1st. The payment is deducted automatically from each paycheck.