BUFFALO, NY April 27, 2012 - Judith Rudman, a dedicated unionist who served on the NYSUT Board of Directors from December 2003 until her death in February at age 89, has been posthumously awarded the union's most prestigious award.
Rudman, who was active in the education labor movement for more than 40 years, received the "Not for Ourselves Alone:" The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award during NYSUT's 40th annual Representative Assembly held Thursday through Saturday in Buffalo. The assembly, NYSUT's annual policy-making convention, drew to the city nearly 2,500 NYSUT delegates, guests and staff.
"Judith was a force within NYSUT, and a tireless advocate for her members and students. Her impact as an education labor leader helped improve, not only the lives and professions of our members, but the well-being of students" said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "Judith was a true friend to education and the labor movement. Just prior to her death, the NYSUT Board voted unanimously to honor Judith's lifetime achievement."
Born in Syracuse and raised in the Bronx, Rudman began her teaching career in New York City Schools. She retired from West Hempstead High School in 1986.
A founding leader in the establishment of the West Hempstead Education Aassociation, Rudman not only served as its president, but also authored the local's first constitution. She served for 16 years, too, as the WHEA's grievance chairperson.
Tenacious and determined, she was committed to ensuring that WHEA members received what they were entitled to under their local contract, and her expansive knowledge and negotiation skills made a substantial positive impact on the lives of countless WHEA members. Judith often successfully negotiated for teachers who did not even understand their entitlements under the contract. She was also instrumental in the effort to rearrange her local's salary index to include the master's degree, instead of including it as an add-on.
Rudman was also co-president of the Coalition of Retired Teachers on Long Island and was a past president of the retiree council. During her time as a NYSUT Board member, she represented Election District 52.
"Judith spent her life's work fighting tirelessly on behalf of the students she taught and the members she represented," said NYSUT Vice President Maria Neira. "Her commitment to education and labor was beyond reproach, and her legacy is one from which our younger generation of leaders can learn and strive to follow.
"Not for Ourselves Alone:" The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award is named in honor of the former American Federation of Teachers and United Federation of Teachers president, who succumbed to breast cancer in 2005. The award recognizes the contributions of women to the education union movement.
NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents more than 600,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education and health care and retirees. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.