Richard C. Iannuzzi has served as president of New York State United Teachers since April 2005, leading the union through a period of tremendous growth, with membership now at more than 600,000.
A leading voice in the labor movement at both the state and federal levels, Iannuzzi serves as a vice president of the American Federation of Teachers and of the New York State AFL-CIO. He also serves as delegate to the national AFL-CIO, co-chair of the New York State Labor-Religion Coalition and a member of the board of directors of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, one of the world's foremost human rights organizations.
With nearly 500 full-time employees, NYSUT represents a diverse membership that includes in-service and retired members in New York's public schools, colleges, universities and health care facilities, as well as dozens of private schools and colleges, non-profits and government agencies. Its programs are provided from 16 offices around the state; its more than 1,000 affiliates bargain collectively for benefits, working conditions and professional improvements.
"Whether we work in health care, on a campus or in a school - whether we are in-service or retired - we all bring different contributions and concerns to our shared union endeavors," said Iannuzzi, who has spoken frequently concerning the potential for diversity to increase the power of unity. "After all, each of us understands that our strength is not in focusing on our diverse professions, geography or the size of our locals, but in our common union culture. In essence, our strength is our solidarity."
Raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., in a union household, Iannuzzi taught elementary school in the Central Islip public schools for 34 years, including 20 spent as a fourth-grade teacher. He was active in his union from the beginning of his career, joining his local on strike in November 1970, his first year on the job.
Iannuzzi began as an elected building representative in 1971 and served on the grievance committee for five years. He was vice president of the Central Islip Teachers Association from 1976 to 1996 and president from 1996 to 2004. In addition to his local union roles, Iannuzzi has served as a NYSUT, AFT and NEA convention delegate and a Long Island Federation of Labor delegate.
As NYSUT president, he travels frequently around the state speaking to editorial boards and providing commentary on public radio delivering the union's message on education and health care.
A graduate of CUNY's Brooklyn College, Iannuzzi was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 1970. In addition, Iannuzzi earned a master's degree with distinction from Hofstra University and a labor studies certificate from Cornell University.
A resident of Smithtown, Long Island, Iannuzzi also maintains a residence in the city of Albany. He and his wife, Joanne, have three grown children, including daughter Deborah, a NYSUT member who teaches English at Central Islip High School.
The Iannuzzis are the proud grandparents of five grandchildren.