Best Wishes for an Amazing Summer Vacation!

Thursday, June 27, 2024

Good afternoon Sisters and Brothers of the Plainedge Federation of Teachers,
As we bid farewell to another school year in Plainedge, I wanted to take a moment to extend my heartfelt congratulations on another successful year and warm wishes to each of you for a summer vacation filled with lots of friends and family. The end of the school year marks not only a time of reflection on all our accomplishments, but also a well-deserved opportunity to recharge and rejuvenate during the summer recess. Please take a moment to enjoy a brief recap of all the activities our union has been involved with during the 23-24 school year. 
Even before the 23-24 school year began, the PFT leadership was hard at work speaking to new teachers and educating them on the importance of signing a union card and joining the PFT. Through the effort of those at New Teacher Institute, we were able to convince all the new hires to become part of our organization and therefore continue to maintain a 100% membership in our union! During the fall, we returned to Field 5 at Jones Beach for our historically successful Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Thanks to the tireless efforts of our Making Strides Coordinator, Lynn Mudryk, we were once again able to raise thousands of dollars for this worthy cause from raffle baskets made in every school building and very generous donations from both current members and members of our PFT Retiree Chapter. 
As the fall continued, we once again hosted the Wizards event which was expertly coordinated by HS science teachers Erin Lehane and Michael Mongiovi. Our sold-out gymnasium played host to the basketball stars who continued to dazzle the crowd with their unique brand of tricks, hoops, and ally-oops! All the children left smiling, and we managed to raise close to ten thousand dollars for both the PTA’s and PFT’s college scholarship funds. 
In December, our union once again welcomed in the holiday season by giving away gifts at the Holiday Tree Lighting Event. Many of our members braved the colder weather to join the leadership as we made the evening extra special for Plainedge children with our toy donation.  
As the warmer weather of spring approached, we were incredibly excited to host our 25th annual We Make a Difference Awards Ceremony. Since this was the event’s silver anniversary, the theme focused around the many important life lessons that can be learned from the silver screen movie era. We rolled out the red carpet for over 180 well-deserving students who make Plainedge a more enjoyable experience for all.  The smiling faces on all those honored and the reactions from all family members in attendance proved that our union continues to be a highly valued organization within the Plainedge community.  The amazing success of such an event would not be possible without Erin Lehane and Bess Degaray, who dedicate an incredible amount of time throughout the school year in order to make this evening a monumental success for our union.
In addition to our We Make a Difference event, the spring also brought about our Adventureland fundraiser, which we gladly do in conjunction with the PTA. For one night, we shut down the entire park for the exclusive use of the Plainedge community, and our Plainedge family couldn’t have been more excited about the evening. It was so successful as a fundraiser for both the PFT and PTA college scholarship funds that we already reserved the night of Monday, June 9th 2025 for next year’s event. If you weren’t able to make it this year, please consider being a part of this amazing event next year! 
Finally, as I’m sure you are all aware, this year our contract was set to expire on June 30th. Thankfully, due to the hard work of our PFT negotiating team, we were able to successfully negotiate a successor agreement prior to the expiration of our current contract. For those keeping track, the members of the PFT have not had to work under an expired contract for over 25 years, a feat that very few unions on Long Island can claim. Our new contract will certainly benefit every single member, as we will receive higher raises than we have seen over the last decade. We were also able to secure an enhancement to retirement incentive B that will make it much more equitable to the other retirement incentive in our contract. In addition to the hard work of the negotiation team, the excellent contract would not have been possible without all the feedback and support from the PFT membership at large. Thank you for taking the time to complete all the surveys and attend the general membership meeting in the fall. None of the benefits gained by our new contract would be possible without the hard work and dedication of our union’s members! 
In closing, as we embark on this summer recess, I encourage each of you to take this time to rest, relax, and prioritize self-care. Whether you plan to travel, spend time with loved ones, pursue personal interests, or simply enjoy moments of tranquility, remember that this break is essential for replenishing your energy, creativity, and overall love of education. On behalf of the entire PFT leadership team, I wish all of our PFT members a very safe, healthy, and enjoyable summer vacation. Enjoy the rest; you’ve earned it!!
In solidarity.