July 21, 2017

Labor and education friends remember Josephine Sano

Author: Sylvia Saunders
Source: NYSUT Communications
sano and clinton
Caption: FILE PHOTO: Labor pioneer Josephine Sano and then-First Lady Hillary Clinton at the historic Kate Mullany House in 2000.

A huge crowd paid tribute today to longtime labor leader and teacher Josephine Sano, a feisty union pioneer who served as president of Albany Public School Teachers Association.

Sano, who was also the first woman president of the Albany County Central Labor Council, was a big believer in improving teaching and learning conditions using the collective bargaining process. When she won NYSUT's Not for Ourselves Alone: The Sandy Feldman Outstanding Leadership Award in 2006, she reminded those new to teaching that the benefits they enjoy today were the result of difficult battles. "Things like maternity leave and tenure are not birthrights, but hard-fought gains," Sano said.

A social studies teacher for 44 years, Sano passed away this week at the age of 97. Her indomitable spirit is perhaps best summed up by one of her favorite and frequently quoted phrases by Hubert Humphrey: "It is better to live one day as a tiger than to live a lifetime as a chicken."