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April 27, 2010

Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award: Ruth Dworkin

Source: RA 2010
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"Not for Ourselves Alone:" The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award

Ruth Dworkin
Yonkers Federation of Teachers

In 1962, Ruth Dworkin began her elementary teaching career and quickly became involved in the union, serving as a building rep in 1965. Two years later, she was elected elementary vice president and served in that position until her retirement in 1989. Notably, she served on the interim board of directors during the merger of UTNY and NYSTA. Today she is NYSUT At-Large Director, Districts 51, 52, 53.

Dworkin was the first full-time staff director for the Yonkers Fed. She was the point person for the legendary $6 million job security arbitration, meeting with every affected teacher and nurse to secure their proper monetary reimbursement from the district. She served as long-time editor of The Yonkers Teacher, on the Teacher Center policy board and on every negotiating team during her time as vice president.

Her union involvement continued after her retirement from teaching. She was first vice president and president of NYSUT Retiree Council 15-16. She stayed on as YFT grievance co-chair for 15 years after retirement. Dworkin has attended NYSUT and AFT conventions for more than 40 years, and she has undoubtedly helped forge the philosophy, ideology and policies of both organizations.

Perhaps her most important contribution has been her eagerness to mentor and support those following in her footsteps. From YFT presidents to rookie building reps, all have benefited from her advice and tutelage.