April 13, 2005

M. Jane Kauffman: 2005 'Not for Ourselves Alone' Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award

Source:  NYSUT Awards and Honors: Not for Ourselvs Alone

M. Jane Kauffman

Williamsville Teachers Association


M. Jane Kauffman was walking the Williamsville TA's picket line in 1974 when she caught the union bug. The strike motivated her to become involved in the union movement, the retired guidance counselor said. Soon afterward she became a building rep and started working on the union's VOTE-COPE drive, making the local one of the leading contributors of the time.

After her first NYSUT Committee of 100 lobbying experience in the late '70s, Kauffman knew that political action would become the major focus of her union activities. A Committee of 100 activist to this day, she has been Western New York VOTE-COPE coordinator, a NYSUT state PAC member and Western New York's PAC chairperson. As a high point in her years of political activism, Kauffman was elected as a Clinton delegate to two Democratic National Conventions. Known as an enthusiastic union leader with strong organizational skills and an astute political mind, Kauffman has garnered many awards. She cites two recognitions that evoked special emotions - a mid-1980s Williamsville Teachers' Association President's Award for numerous contributions to her local union, and an appreciation plaque presented by former NYSUT President Tom Hobart upon her retirement after 13 years as a member of the statewide union's Board of Directors. Acting as grand marshal of a Buffalo AFL-CIO Council/United Way Labor Day parade, accompanied by the late U.S. Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, is an especially fond memory. After serving many years on the executive board of the local Central Labor Council, she was the first woman to hold an elected office when she became treasurer. Today, she continues her union advocacy working as a part-time NYSUT retiree services consultant with Retiree Council 4.