April 07, 2017

NYSUT celebrates members at annual convention

Source: NYSUT Media Relations
constituency awards 2017

This page includes the following press releases and high resolution photos for award winners at NYSUT's annual convention, the Representative Assembly, taking place April 7-8, 2017,  in New York City.


NYSUT honors Alan Lubin with union’s highest award

New York, N.Y. April 7, 2017 — New York State United Teachers today celebrated Alan B. Lubin’s nearly half-century fighting for public education, civil rights, students and working people by presenting him with the union’s highest honor — the Albert Shanker Award for Distinguished Service.

Lubin served for decades in leadership roles in both the United Federation of Teachers and NYSUT, including 17 years as NYSUT’s executive vice president where he forged strong bipartisan relations and helped win tremendous victories in Albany for NYSUT members across the state. The NYSUT Board of Directors named Lubin the union’s executive vice president emeritus last year.

“In the long history of this great union, Alan Lubin stands out as a lion who, in the spirit of the legendary former UFT and American Federation of Teachers President Albert Shanker, built broad, successful coalitions and knew how and when to use a joke, a smile — or a threat — to move legislators to our agenda. Over nearly five decades, Alan’s work improved the lives of union members and the institutions they served. I can think of no one more deserving of the Albert Shanker Award,” said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee.

NYSUT Executive Vice President Andrew Pallotta noted that, as leader of NYSUT’s legislative and political action operation, Lubin led the fight to protect public employees’ pensions from inflation through enactment of a Cost-of-Living Adjustment; won record school aid increases; pressed legislation requiring schools to be equipped with Automated External Defibrillators; and, later, co-founded the Business and Labor Coalition of New York.

“Alan Lubin has worn many hats — civil rights leader, political strategist, mentor, friend and fighter,” Pallotta said. “Above all, Alan Lubin is a unionist, through and through. He is a giant in the long history of two great unions — the UFT and NYSUT. He followed in the path blazed by Albert Shanker and is very deserving of this award.”

Lubin, a resident of Clifton Park in Saratoga County, noted that the Shanker Award is especially meaningful to him. When Lubin was a young teacher and unionist, Shanker invited him to meetings with Bayard Rustin, A. Phillip Randolph, Norm Hill and other leading labor figures of the day. There, Lubin said, he learned to listen, hone arguments and strategize — and, with Shanker, began to emphasize the importance of building strong coalitions with others who share the union’s goals.

“Albert Shanker was my mentor and my teacher,” Lubin said. “I am forever grateful to him. I am deeply honored to be receiving the Albert Shanker Award for Distinguished Service.”

More than 2,300 NYSUT delegates, alternates, guests and staff are in New York City attending the union’s annual policy making convention Friday and Saturday at the New York Hilton.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.


West Hempstead Teaching Assistant Nancy Sullivan receives NYSUT award

New York, N.Y. April 7, 2017 — Nancy Sullivan of Franklin Square received the School-Related Professional Member of the Year Award, one of NYSUT’s highest honors, at the union’s 45th Representative Assembly in New York City.

Sullivan is a teaching assistant at the West Hempstead Union Free School District. Since 2001, she has worked with students with special needs, in classrooms from kindergarten through grade 12. She is currently serving her second term as a union building representative at the West Hempstead Middle School.

When Nancy began working in the West Hempstead district 18 years ago, the union did not represent teaching assistants. She initiated efforts to bring teaching assistants under the union umbrella, collaborating with her colleagues to educate the district and pushing for approval of their union affiliation.

“Nancy understood the value of union membership so well she took the initiative to ensure her colleagues had the opportunity to obtain all the responsibilities, rights and benefits they deserved,” said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. “Once she achieved that goal, she continued to demonstrate her commitment to maintaining her colleagues’ professional rights as educators by participating in nearly every union event, serving on several committees and attending executive board meetings. Nancy is an exemplary model of union participation and leadership.”

In addition to being a committed union leader, Sullivan has earned a reputation for going above and beyond for her students.

“Over the years, Nancy has built strong relationships with many students,” said NYSUT Vice President Paul Pecorale. “She is always prepared, and she is always willing to help students with any assignment or test whether it is in her content area or not. She empowers students with her positivity.”

More than 2,300 NYSUT delegates, alternates, guests and staff are in New York City attending the union’s annual policy making convention, underway Friday and Saturday at the New York Hilton.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.


NYSUT honors Eileen Landy and Andy Sako for service to higher education

NEW YORK, N.Y. April 7, 2017 — Two veteran unionists with long histories in public higher education in New York State are being honored at New York State United Teachers’ annual Representative Assembly this weekend in New York City.

Eileen Landy of Clifton Park in Saratoga County, an associate professor of sociology at SUNY Old Westbury, and Andrew Sako of Orchard Park in Erie County, a professor of building management at Erie Community College, were named Higher Education Members of the Year by NYSUT and recognized during the union’s policy-making convention.

“Eileen and Andy have been integral in building the labor movement on college campuses — not only here in New York State, but across the country,” said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. “Their passion for unionism and for their professions is well known and respected.”

Landy is completing her 16th year as secretary-treasurer of United University Professions, the statewide union that represents academic and professional staff at State University of New York campuses and is NYSUT’s largest higher-ed affiliate. She was previously president of UUP’s Old Westbury chapter and presiding officer of the Old Westbury Faculty Senate, and has served as a delegate to, and a member of, numerous conventions and committees of NYSUT, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the Coalition of Labor Union Women. Landy is a frequent and vocal presence on picket lines and at rallies and is a recognized champion for women’s issues.

Sako has been president of the Faculty Federation of Erie Community College since 2004. He is also a member of NYSUT’s Board of Directors and of the NEA Board of Directors, representing New York State. In his academic work, he is known for establishing creative partnerships with the building trades in Erie County that benefit his students. Sako is also a recognized political force in the Buffalo area, respected by policymakers of all party affiliations.

“The example set by Eileen and Andy shows what the term ‘union solidarity’ really means,” said NYSUT Vice President Catalina Fortino. “No two people deserve this award more.”

NYSUT’s RA continues through Saturday. More than 2,300 union delegates, alternates, guests and staff are attending.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.


Sayville Central Schools Social Worker Honored by NYSUT

NEW YORK, N.Y. April 7, 2017 — A long-time unionist described as “a leader in her field of social work” has been recognized as NYSUT’s 2017 Health Care Professionals Member of the Year.

Dawn Lloyd-Matthews, an 18-year member of the Sayville Teachers Association on Long Island, was honored at NYSUT’s 45th Representative Assembly, held this weekend in New York City.

Lloyd-Matthews, of Wheatley Heights in Suffolk County, works with at-risk middle school students referred for social, emotional and/or behavioral reasons. She provides individual, group and family crisis intervention; coordinates community outreach programs; and assists children and families on matters dealing with abuse, neglect and homelessness. Her work in addressing cyber-bullying has been called “pioneering” by district officials, and she has been a featured speaker on the issue at numerous national conferences.

“Dawn’s dedication to helping students persevere and succeed, often through very difficult circumstances, is not only critical in ensuring all students receive the best education possible, it is also very inspiring,” said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. “Our union is privileged to have her as a member.”

Lloyd-Matthews has served in several key leadership roles with the STA, including executive vice president, grievance coordinator and member of the union’s negotiating team. She is also an STA delegate to the NYSUT and the American Federation of Teachers conventions.

A member of the National Association of School Social Workers and the New York State School Social Workers Association, Lloyd-Matthews also has worked in the classroom, lecturing on social networking behavior, the Dignity for All Students Act, relationships and suicide prevention. She also has served as a coach in basketball and lacrosse.

“Dawn represents the very best of NYSUT,” said union Vice President Paul Pecorale. “Through her passion, dedication and leadership, she epitomizes what it means to be a professional and a unionist.”

NYSUT's Representative Assembly, the union’s annual policymaking convention, runs today and Saturday at the Hilton Midtown in Manhattan, bringing together more than 2,300 union delegates, alternates, staff and guests.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.


NYSUT honors women leaders Sonia Basko and Kathryn Dein

New York, N.Y. April 7, 2017 — There is no accurate method to count and multiply the number of lives positively impacted by teacher and union activist Sonia Basko, who is being honored posthumously this weekend with “Not For Ourselves Alone:” The Sandra Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award at the New York State United Teachers annual Representative Assembly.

Basko changed thousands of students’ lives as a high school English teacher in western New York for 18 years; as an adjunct professor at Niagara University and Finger Lakes and Monroe community colleges; and as a literacy consultant. As a unionist, she was active in the Penfield Education Association, where she became local president. She was a NYSUT board member and then became special projects coordinator for NYSUT as a self-described “warrior for public education and civil rights.”

Even while dealing with cancer and the effects of treatment, Basko remained involved in raising awareness about vital issues during the 2016 presidential election. She was staff liaison for NYSUT’s flagship sponsorship of the statewide Making Strides Against Breast Cancer campaign, working at the Rochester walk.

In her work, Basko’s goal was to effect change through words and actions. She held a steady course striving to learn more. She graduated from both NYSUT and AFL-CIO leadership institutes. When she joined NYSUT’s staff, she worked with officers on social justice and philanthropic initiatives, along with member engagement. She organized “Picket in the Pines,” NYSUT’s first statewide rally in the North Country, and the union’s Fair Trade outreach programs.

Basko was also staff liaison to the NYSUT Civil and Human Rights Committee and instrumental in creating the campaigns “Start the Conversation,” addressing racial equality, and “Why in Five,” showing how unions are a force for solidarity, educational justice, immigration reform, child labor protections, women’s rights, fair trade, and combating hunger and poverty.

As a child, Basko had cancer and attended Camp Good Days and Special Times in western New York; she remained a volunteer with the camp throughout her life. She died at age 43 on Dec. 29, 2016.

Her “Not for Ourselves Alone” Award honors Feldman, a former president of the UFT and American Federation of Teachers who was dedicated to the labor and civil rights movements. Feldman was beloved for her strength of personality, her humanity and leadership skills. She died in 2005.

Also receiving a Feldman-inspired recognition is Kathryn Dein of the North Babylon Teachers’ Organization, recipient of NYSUT’s Sandy Feldman Leadership Grant. The $2,000 grant helps up-and-coming women activists develop leadership skills, network with other labor leaders, and build union and community involvement.

Dein, an AIS math teacher and president of her NYSUT local, has been working with a union action committee creating community events and a Parent-Youth Activity Center. She intends to use the grant to attend leadership programs and take part in coalition-building training.

More than 2,300 NYSUT delegates, alternates, guests and staff are in New York City attending the union’s annual policy making convention Friday and Saturday at the New York Hilton.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.


NYSUT honors Stewart Cohen and Alma Cormican as Retirees of the Year

New York, N.Y. April 7, 2017 — Stewart Cohen and Alma Cormican, who together represent nearly a century of dedicated labor activism, were honored as New York State United Teachers’ 2017 Retirees of the Year during the union's 45th annual Representative Assembly in New York City.

Cohen, in the words of United Federation of Teachers Retired Teachers Chapter Leader Tom Murphy, is “the UFT/NYSUT’s most valued political activist on the west coast of Florida.” The UFT is NYSUT’s largest affiliate, representing educators and health care professionals in New York City. Since retiring to Sarasota in 2003, Cohen serves as a UFT delegate to the Florida Alliance for Retired Americans, representing FLARA on the West Central Florida Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO and chairing its Board of Trustees. Cohen is also a regular participant in Sarasota and Manatee Democratic Party actions as a labor advocate.

“The benefits our members enjoy today, particularly our many legislative wins, simply would not have been possible without people like Stewart Cohen," said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. “Political activism is the foundation of NYSUT’s work and Stewart demonstrates what one person can achieve when passion and professionalism combine.”

Westchester/Putnam retiree member Alma Cormican epitomizes the qualities that make NYSUT a strong union. The past president and chief negotiator for the White Plains Teachers Association, Cormican remained a union activist after retiring in 1999, joining her retiree local’s executive committee in 2004 and becoming its president in 2008. Cormican has edited her retiree local’s award-winning newsletter since 2006; organized and run pre-retirement seminars for in-service teachers since 2009; and raised more than $15,000 for local scholarships and the Westchester/Putnam Retiree’s REACT committee, which helps schools and children in need.

Since 1972, Cormican has attended NYSUT RAs and is an active member of the statewide union’s Retiree Advisory Committee, where she contributed to the publication Your Blueprint for a Successful Retirement: An online planning guide.

“Alma Cormican is a testament to the fact that today's active membership owes a large debt of gratitude to our retired members,” said Magee. “The consistent and unwavering support of members like Alma, who’ve dedicated themselves to advancing the union movement, is an inspiration for us all."

"Both Stewart and Alma represent the very best of our union," added NYSUT Vice President Paul Pecorale. “Their commitment to improving the lives of working families and to the labor movement is not limited to their professional lives — they continue to make that a focus of their life's work."

More than 2,300 NYSUT delegates, alternates, guests and staff are in New York City attending the union's annual policy-making convention, which runs Friday and Saturday at the New York Hilton Midtown.

New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.