September - October 2021 View online
FUSEdays! Like Tuesdays... only better!

Solidarity matters! Proudly wear your FUSE gear on the first and third Tuesdays of every month. 

October 19

November 2

November 16

December 7

December 21

January 4

January 18

February 1

February 15

March 1

March 15

April 5

April 19

May 3

May 17

June 7

June 21


FUSE Merch is Available Again!
FUSE Apparel

Open through Monday, November 15
 FUSE is the access code


Frontline workers, from the people who package our breakfast cereal to those who make the equipment that builds our roads, have risked their lives to keep communities and corporations afloat through the pandemic. 


Now, workers at giant corporations that include Kellogg, John Deere and major film and television studios, are walking picket lines demanding economic justice from their employers.  


At a time of record revenue for the corporations and businesses they work for, our sisters and brothers in the BCTGM, UAW and IATSE strike for fair wages and working conditions.  


As workers from across the country join picket lines, we want to make it clear where New Rochelle FUSE stands.  We stand in solidarity with our fellow workers at Kellogg, Deere, and in the entertainment industry and beyond. Their struggle is a struggle for basic rights, for a living wage, for health care that sustains families, and for workplaces that are safe and responsibly run. 

And we join them in the larger struggle to lift up and support all working people in our country and elsewhere.







Vaccination Updates

Thank you to everyone who has turned in their vaccination information to the district.  If you are vaccinated and have NOT notified the district, please make every effort to notify them as soon as possible.  New Rochelle High School staff should come prepared to share that information when they return.

Booster shots added to paid leave for COVID vaccinations 

If you are going for your booster, please know that you are entitled to four hours of paid leave time.   NYSUT, working with the New York State Department of Labor, updated the guidance for Labor Law Sec 196-C, which allows paid leave time for COVID vaccinations, to include vaccine booster shots.

In the updated guidance (here) DOL states in unambiguous terms that booster shots apply to the existing paid leave law.

Planning to Retire?

Pedagogic staff will now only have one opportunity to retire with compensation for unused sick days.  Under the new contract, if you plan on retiring in June 2022, you must notify the district no later than January 1, 2022 in order to be compensated for unused sick days.  See the contractual language below to calculate possible compensation for your sick days.


The retirement requirements for Staff Related Professionals have not changed.  They can retire at any time but must provide four months notice in order to be compensated for unused sick days.

FUSE Committee Openings

All committees have now successfully fulfilled their annual requirements, and it is time to begin reorganization.


If you would like to be considered for a specific committee, please send a letter of interest by October 31st.  Please include your job title and the building(s) you work into  Please note that the Negotiations Committee will not be formed until the Spring.


The Standing Committees are: 


Negotiations Committee              Grievance Committee

Health and Safety Committee    Professional Issues Committee

News from NYSUT
NYSUT Certification Webinars

We know that certification in New York State can be complicated and stressful. That's why NYSUT has an office that's entirely devoted to helping our members navigate the certification process. While the State Education Department manages all certifications, our certification experts are here to give you honest answers and help you through the process.

NYSUT is pleased to offer a new range of free webinars to help our members with their certification questions. These webinars are designed to help NYSUT members with specific challenges they encounter understanding and managing their certifications.

Space in each webinar is limited. Please sign up only if you plan to attend.

Webinars are free for NYSUT members. Go to the NYSUT page for more information and to register.  

NYSUT Disaster Relief

Apply for Tropical Storm Relief

FUSE members living in one of the areas impacted by this summer's tropical storms may apply for relief from the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund, the union’s 501(c) 3 charitable organization.   Contact Mary Claire Breslin to arrange a time for the necessary signatures.

Please download and submit one of the following forms below.

For those impacted by Tropical Storm Henri, remnants of Hurricane Ida, or another FEMA-designated disaster area:

For those impacted by a tropical storm but NOT in a federally declared disaster area:

  • Please use the General Assistance Application below.

Apply for Relief: General Assistance

Please read the checklist and directions before completing the application.

Should you have any questions regarding the application, please contact the NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund at 1-800-342-9810.

The fund provides relief support for eligible losses stemming from: (a) man-made occurrences (such as an accidental house fire); (b) natural disasters not designated as federally declared qualified disasters; and (c) federally declared qualified disasters. 



FUSE is encouraging our members to make a contribution to NYSUT's Disaster Relief Fund to promote and enhance the welfare of NYSUT members who are in need of assistance because of the occurrence of a natural or man-made disaster.  


The NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund (EIN: 11-3761261) is an IRS-registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Your contribution goes directly to provide assistance to those in need.  


You can get more information on the NYSUT webpage or you can donate by check to the information below.


If you are donating by check, please make your check payable to NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund and mail to:

NYSUT Headquarters
Attn: Disaster Relief
800 Troy-Schenectady Road
Latham, New York 12110.

Meet Our Leaders
Lily Psychopedas

Reading Specialist, Davis Elementary
Vice President of Pedagogic, Grievance Chair

How long have you been working in the district?

I have been working in the district since 1998. 


What do you do in the district? 

I am currently the reading specialist in Davis Elementary School. 


Are you from New Rochelle?

I am not from New Rochelle but I grew up close by in the Mamaroneck Rye Neck area. But I currently reside in Stamford. I’ve been in Stamford since 2005.


How long have you been active in the union?

I have been active for approximately 20 years.. I have been in the district 25 and I became ab building rep after I received tenure?


What encouraged you to become a building rep and become involved in the union?

At my building, I had a teacher who was actually the VP of the union at the time and she was my mentor because I taught 4th grade there originally and then became a reading specialist for last 5 years. And she was the one who encouraged me to become a building rep and she saw that I had a tremendous amount of passion and good intent in wanting to support my members. And she said that it was something that I would be good at and that I should absolutely try it. 


I was going to ask this question before.. Can you tell us a time that you feel proud of that you were able to help a member.. Without getting into disclosure?


I don’t think it’s an invaluable question but I do have to think about a time that I can speak to. Because a lot of it becomes confidential. You can go very deep with that question. What is something that I’m proud of that I helped… My head goes directly to helping people keep their jobs… I have to think about which ones I can speak to.  


Even if it’s not something like keeping a job..  other things come up… Can you tell us about a time when as a building rep you felt that you’ve had a positive influence?


Yes, I can tell you about a time when I think I had a positive influence and that would be when I was able to get my members who were working outside of contractual hours compensated for their time.


Also… building camaraderie. I organize, and I think this is huge... a lot of the buildings don’t do this and I think it is something we should be doing. I organize breakfasts (pre-pandemic) and it is a big deal because it brings the staff together.  It’s important. And it is something you can do as a building rep. It’s a great time to be with your members. We do breakfasts; we do them once a month. The grade levels rotate who brings the stuff. It’s a great time for everyone to come in and see each other and build relationships.  That is also something that I think is important.  I do luncheons. I used to set up outside events for us.  I think it’s important that we don’t lose sight of the fact that we need to build relationships outside of the work relationships that we have with one another. And that is what helps us to become strong and that is something that I like about my role.


That’s important. That’s definitely important.


What do you think is the most serious issue facing our union today?

I do believe there are numerous serious issues facing our union today because as we know are under attack and many out there do not respect our profession in the way it deserves to respected. In New Rochelle, the turn over in administration and instability has led to a lot of broken relationships and lack of trust on both sides.  As the superintendent has said, we will advance our commitment to the whole child by listening to and learning from our community. So for me, relationships are crucial. In this regard, we need to work positively with FUSE so we can establish the trust that has been broken. The only way that is going to be done is to working together which is always for the best for our children.  And that is everyone’s goal.  


Can you tell us a little bit about the position you hold in leadership, what you do in it and why it’s an important position for our members?


I currently hold two positions. I am the vice president of pedagogy and I’m also the grievance chairperson. As Vice President, I am responsible for day to day support of the union president communication and support of the members and know their issues and concerns. As . Grievance Chair, I am readily available to discuss member contract issues, and pursue member concerns and violations, misinterpretations or inequitable application of any provision of our contract with the district. This was a particularly important year as we were working without a contract.. There was a great deal of work involved in supporting union actions and negotiations with the goal of obviously settling our contract.


Yes. Aren’t you the head of the Action Committee also?


So, yes, I am.  I would like to say that this was one of my most rewarding times this year. I was able to work on behalf of my fellow members and I was the co-chair of the Action Committee where we put together cohesive actions in support of our contract negotiations.This involved 14 members in all capacities from across the district. We would meet regularly and learn and listen to one other. We had to respect everyone’s one another’s opinions and figure out how to best work together because the power of union comes all of us coming together and working together.  We were able to disseminate information uniformly across all buildings which is approx 1300+ members. It was our strength in numbers and our visibility at the Spring rally on top of all the other actions that we did throughout the year that solidified our reaching a contract. And this exemplified the power we have when we all join together as a union.


Yes. This is a follow up question. Do you feel that because of this that we are a stronger union today and that who comes into positions is coming into a strong union?


I have been here a very long time and I have been able to witness our union when it was super powerful and when it was not at its peak. However, I absolutely feel that we are at the peak that we need to be at and that we are very powerful and that we will continue to be powerful because we are strong in numbers..


What is the most difficult and / or most rewarding part of your work for the district and your work in leadership?


As I mentioned, this past year was the most difficult without a contract and we were in unprecedented times and it was a pandemic and our members were under a tremendous amount of stress. There were constant changes in the safety protocols. Our members were learning as they were going, often without the necessary training, technology, and at time effective communications in order to do their jobs. That along with the emotional toll because of lost members of their family, because they endured their own personal hardships, because our members were getting sick. For me, the most challenging part of all of that was at time no matter how many hours I was here in the office or working alongside Mary or Cheryl and everybody else, I couldn’t ease the pain or relieve that stress for the members.


What advice do you give to members, especially newer members, who are thinking about becoming more involved in union leadership activities?


My advice to them is to encourage them.. I encourage anyone who is thinking about getting involved to get involved. I start by saying them, get to know your fellow members, have the conversations. I encourage them to speak to their building reps. Have them understand that this is a very amazing position and that we become the liaisons between our union and our admin. I encourage them to take part in whatever they can that is offered by the union. Be proud to stand up for themselves. And be proud to recognize that our contract is very powerful. It’s important to read the contract. To know the contract. Go there and take the time to read the contrac because it protects you. You need to take advantage of the knowledge that the other senior colleagues have to offer.

What or who motivates and/or  inspires you personally?


My personal motivation comes from my family. They recognize the passion and the commitment that I have to do this work to support my members in any way shape or form that I can. I don't’ rest easy when I know that my members are not at ease or that I have not been able to provide them with the result that they wanted. My family supports me because it does take time away from being at home with them. They continue to root me on and they continue to say, “Mom you are doing a great job.”


Do you have a story of something that has happened in your work or in your life that we could share?


I’m sure I have a lot of stories... being that I’ve been around for 25 years.  I will share one work wise… Just last year, I received a letter from one of my past students sharing their accomplishments and their appreciation for me, so much so that this particular student is pursuing a teaching career as a direct result of having me as their fourth grade teacher. That was gratifying to hear that and to see it in black and white. And it’s actually posted on my bulletin board back at school and it is those things that continue to push forward and get through the next thing. We know as teachers and educators, we have a tremendous impact on our students and it’s all worthwhile.


Tell us something (emphasis on fun) that you’d like to share that not everyone knows about you?


Well… I do travel to Europe all the time, and I’m a big beach girl. I go to Europe a lot. Calabria Italy. Food is my pastime.  


But, something fun that not everyone knows about me is that I coached my daughter to an undefeated basketball championship. And I coached my son’s CYO Basketball team right up to HS. And,  at my short height of 5’1” and wearing heels all day, I don’t think too many people would think that I would be out there on the basketball court, but I was. 


Were you a basketball player yourself?

I did play ball. Yes, but only up through HS. And then I went to Iona College.


Do you still play at all?

I do play. Yes, and I love it.


Thank you so much.  

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New Rochelle Federation of School Employees    |    View online