Behind the scenes of the NYSUT RA, union staff scurries about busily before, during and after to make things tick, whirr and purr.
The Information Technology department sets up and then breaks down the Internet zone that provides computers for members to use during the assembly. They also set up the Political Action Center, where members can send faxes to legislators on important NYSUT issues. IT also sets up the computers and printers for the Communications department, which produces the RA Reporter each night, updates the website and fields media calls.
The IT crew also coordinates the display of resolutions at the RA, and handles registration.
“We’re the first to arrive and the last to leave,” said Ralph Watson of IT, as he packed up computers outside the grand ballroom on Saturday.
Paul Rukwid said the print shop this year was responsible for 22 pallets of material on a truck from Albany to the RA. Staff moved boxes, carried RA kits and then handed those kits to delegates. This year’s kit was a shoulder backpack filled with RA information that was printed at headquarters prior to the convention. After the materials were printed, print shop staff stuffed the 2,800 kits.
“Delegates register and we hand out kits,” Rukwid explained. Registration on Friday alone was eight hours. It continued Saturday and Sunday mornings as well.
The print shop hauls four copiers, 100,000 sheets of white copy paper and 100,000 copies of various colored paper for copying special orders of business and reports to the Resolutions Committee. They also made 100 display signs, said Robert Beedleson, manager of Printing and Mail Services.
Beedleson said he and his staff also pack up equipment and material headed back to Albany once the final gavel goes down.
At the Convention Management Office, staff from different departments provides support and information to assist delegates, staff and guests. If you stand near their tables for more than a few minutes, you’ll hear how they are peppered with requests and questions. They also serve as the communication hub for the speakers on the dais.
All of these departments — and many more, including some that provide information at the Services and Benefits on Display center — set up shop on a floor at the hotel, trading quips about who got the least amount of sleep and what’s left to be done that day. The Communications Department is one of these crews, and we are here writing blogs, press releases, and writing and proofing the RA Reporter that is left on the seats of delegates each day of the convention, showcasing speakers in articles and photographs. No matter how late the day’s events last, the Communications Department is there to the end to cover the action and make sure delegates get the latest news.