The East Meadow Teachers Association was founded during the 1951-52 school year in an era of unprecedented, post World War II growth in the suburban development of Long Island. Indeed, at that time, East Meadow experienced a shortage of school facilities with all classes functioning on double sessions. A complete K - 12 educational program was not put into place until 1955-56. Prior to that, grades 10 -12 were housed in a neighboring high school in Hempstead.
Today, the East Meadow Teachers Association is the exclusive negotiating agent in district-wide collective bargaining including the processing of contractual grievances. As such, the Association represents the professional staff and all school-related personnel. This group includes the registered nurses, teacher assistants, library paraprofessionals, and intervention assistants. The legal authority for negotiations rests within Article 14 of the Civil Service Law popularly known as the Taylor Law which has existed since 1967.
In the years prior to the Taylor Law, the Association, since its inception, was concerned with securing and maintaining improvements in salaries, fringe benefits, and working conditions. Although formal contracts were not in vogue, the EMTA succeeded in negotiating a plethora of benefits which were incorporated into the district’s by-laws. Some pre-Taylor Law highlights include the present-day Empire Plan, disability insurance, sick leave payments at retirement, and a separate master’s degree column coupled with the addition of the majority of interim salary lanes, to mention just a few.
The East Meadow Teachers Association is a federated organization composed of nine school facilities and the SRP chapter. Its activities function through an Executive Council constituting the president, vice-president and delegates from each school faculty along with the president of the SRP chapter and the immediate past EMTA president. The Council maintains a group of twelve standing committees through which its major activities are pursued. These committees are the Newsletter, Membership, Entertainment, Negotiations, Welfare/Blood Drive, Community Relations, Grievance, Retirement, Elections, Health and Safety, Legislative, and Member Support Services. The chairpersons of particular committees are vital in fulfilling the stated goals of each committee.
The officers of the Executive Council, elected every other June, play a central role in expediting the work of the Association. The President, besides presiding at the monthly meetings of the Council, is the chief representative of the EMTA. He or she is liaison between the Association and the district, the general public, and as spokesperson for the organization. The Vice-Presidents are primarily charged with the responsibility as general overseers of the work of the various committees.
The East Meadow Teachers Association is affiliated with the New York Sate United Teachers (NYSUT), the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the National Education Association (NEA), and the AFL-CIO. The NYSUT field staff, with offices in Woodbury, provides assistance to both the local and individual teachers in matters relating to legal and contractual rights and member services and benefits. The lobbying efforts of both NYSUT and the AFT are paramount in securing needed legislation on the state and national levels for the advancement and protection of teachers’ rights and benefits and of public education.