BUFFALO, N.Y. April 27, 2012 - Cheryl Peck, a custodian in the Lancaster schools in Erie County, was honored Thursday as New York State United Teachers School-Related Professional Member of the Year.
Nearly 2,500 NYSUT delegates, guests and staff are in Buffalo this week for the union's annual policy-making convention.
Peck has been a member of the Lancaster Association of Service Personnel for 21 years and in 2007 was elected president for the more than 400 members. She was nominated by members of her union for her efforts to get members' issues resolved.
"Cheryl epitomizes so many of our outstanding local leaders," said NYSUT President Richard Iannuzzi. "Her on-the-job work ethic carries over into her union activism. She brings her members' voice to our statewide conferences and workshops and carries what she learns there back to them. It is her ability to make these connections within and outside her local that has earned her the distinction of SRP member of the year."
"The members in Cheryl's unit tell us that not only does she seem to be on call 24-7 to respond to their questions or concerns, but they also note how supportive she has been in increasing member involvement and activism," said NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue.
Peck is known for wearing many hats in the the school and district office where she works as a custodian, and in her union advocating for all who need assistance. Union members provide support to the Lancaster schools in the cafeteria, clerical, nursing, maintenance, transportation and teacher aide positions.
"Our members make the Lancaster schools work and they do a great job of it," Peck said. "We've all faced some tough financial times and one thing I have worked hard on, and we have accomplished through negotiating the last two contracts, is finding the balance between the needs of the taxpayers and the needs of the members."
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.