April 03, 2014

Sandra Bliss: 'Not for Ourselves Alone' Sandra Feldman Award

Source:  NYSUT Communications

Sandra Bliss
Retiree Council 12

Sandra Bliss taught math and served her union for 40 years in the Frankfort-Schuyler School District. During every year of her long tenure that began in 1969, she held either elected or appointed union positions of leadership.  She jumped right in when the Frankfort-Schuyler teachers went out on strike for four days in 1971 and coordinated the strike headquarters.

Even today she remains on the local union's bargaining team. Upon retirement, she got involved with Retiree Council 12, now serving as vice president, and organized her local union's retiree chapter, of which she is president. She served on the NYSUT Board for 24 years.

 As an articulate spokesperson, Bliss participated in the original Committee of 100 and has continued to do so ever since. She believes that political action is central to union work and that coalition building is an important facet of political action. For many years, she coordinated the VOTE-COPE drives at her local. She also coordinated and ran the phone banks at the Utica Regional Office and organized and operated phone banks for the Central New York Labor Council.

Bliss also believes professional development is a cornerstone of union life. In 1985, she became the first director of the Mohawk Regional Teacher Center and was the catalyst that moved the teacher center forward.