March 31, 2009

Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award: Shelvy Young-Abrams

Source:  NYSUT Constituency Awards 2009

Shelvy Young-Abrams

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

Shelvy Young-Abrams
United Federation of Teachers

Shelvy Young-Abrams began her career as a classroom paraprofessional in 1968, working in a Title I reading program. She quickly became active in the United Federation of Teachers at her school and was elected as the UFT paraprofessional representative in 1970, and a few years later she was elected as the Manhattan borough coordinator.

In 1998, she began to work full-time at the UFT focusing on paraprofessional issues. She acquired the responsibility of visiting schools in Brooklyn and Manhattan. That year, she was elected the first vice chairperson of the UFT Paraprofessional Chapter. In 2006, the chapter's 18,000 members elected her as chair of the chapter.

In her union work, Shelvy led campaigns to prevent injuries on the job for paraprofessionals, and to ensure when they are injured, that their rights and benefits are protected. The result was the UFT Workers' Compensation Project. Working with the School Safety Department, she also has been a major force in the UFT's Safe Secure Schools Campaign.

Shelvy is a member of Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance New York Chapter, the AFT Black Caucus, UFT Women's Rights Committee, co-chair of AFT Women's Rights Committee, AFT SRP Program and Policy Committee, the Central Labor Council, and she is president of the NYC Chapter of CLUW. In 1998, Abrams was elected to the NYSUT Board, and in 2006 to the executive committee. In 2006, as an AFT vice president, she was elected delegate to the NEA Representative Assembly.