| RA first-timers get the
Judy McInerney of Horseheads TA has years of teaching experience,
while Lauren Lavoie of the Massapequa FT has six.
But one thing they lack is experience as a delegate.
They are not alone. Almost 70 of the 1,950 delegates this year
are first-timers. To help them navigate the next two days of union
business, they attended an orientation for new delegates and
alternates led by Tony Bifaro, assistant to NYSUT President Tom
Hobart. Executive Vice President Alan Lubin also welcomed the
First, the new delegates received red ribbons to put on their
badges. "This way, if you make a mistake people will say 'That's OK.
They're new.' So take advantage of it," Bifaro said.
The session, and advice from veteran delegates, provided just the
reassurance the first-timers needed.
"I really need to figure out what I'm doing," McInerney said.
"As somebody who is just getting involved," said Lavoie. "it
would be overwhelming. But then you see the network of help there
One source of help is mentors. Steve Zahurak, a 20-year
delegate, met with new members. His advice: "Plan ahead. Know
what's on the program. Know what resolutions are going to be coming
up so you can be on the floor to vote, or give your opinion."
Delegates will consider 94 resolutions on educational and
fairness issues and seven constitutional amendments.