March Issue
March 09, 2015

Retirees in action: Lyons honored for commitment to activism

Author: By Kara Smith
Source: NYSUT United
Rosemary Catanzariti, RC 19 co-president; Joan Perrini, ED 52 director; Kathleen Lyons, RC 21; Louise Levine Rosenthal, RC 19 co-president; and Sheila Goldberg, RC 17 president.
Caption: From left: Rosemary Catanzariti, RC 19 co-president; Joan Perrini, ED 52 director; Kathleen Lyons, RC 21; Louise Levine Rosenthal, RC 19 co-president; and Sheila Goldberg, RC 17 president.

More than 50 years later, Kathleen Lyons, Retiree Council 21, still remembers the anger she felt at being treated like a second-class citizen.

"I was a math major and had to constantly fight to get the classes I needed," she said, recalling her experiences at St. John's University as an undergraduate in the early 1960s, where men were given preferential class registration.

"They would give us women numbers to register," she said. "I remember in one physics class we had to sit in the back of the room and were expected to take attendance."

The experience paved the way for her decades of activism as a feminist and unionist. Lyons was one of six unionists nationwide to receive a 50-year American Federation of Teachers "Living the Legacy Award" at the 2014 AFT convention in California. "I was very honored to receive this award," she said.

After earning her degree, Lyons taught computer science and math in the West Islip district on Long Island, and trained several female colleagues as computer aides at a time when the field was relatively new. She was active in the West Islip Teachers Association as an in-service teacher; the West Islip Retiree Chapter as president and membership chair; served as secretary, vice president and newsletter editor for RC 21; and as a NYSUT and AFT delegate. She is currently a NYSUT retiree services consultant for the Nassau region.

The AFT Women's Rights Committee presents "Living the Legacy Awards" to female AFT members who have spearheaded women's rights issues at three levels of recognition: silver, 30 years of service; gold, 40 years of service; and diamond, 50 years of service.

Ask your senator to support bill that protects Social Security

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, will re-introduce the Strengthening Social Security Act that was formerly championed by retired U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. The bill would extend the solvency of the Social Security Trust Fund, which nearly two in three Americans rely on for income in old age. With Republican majorities in both bodies of Congress, the advocacy group Social Security Works launched a campaign to gain senate sponsors for the bill. The goal is to have more co-sponsors for Brown's bill than Sen. Harkin's bill had last year.

Ask your senators to co-sponsor the legislation. Visit http://salsa.wiredfor

NYSUT 2015 Regional Retiree Conference Calendar

RC 12 — May 7, Glen Sanders Mansion, Scotia Retiree Services Consultant: Jennifer Shaad Derby

RC 7 & 8 — May 13, Doubletree Inn, East Syracuse
Retiree Services Consultant: Anne Marie Voutsinas

RC 10 — May 14, NYSUT headquarters, Latham Retiree Services Consultant: Barbara McCarthy

RC 4 & 46 — May 27, Radisson Hotel, Corning
Retiree Services Consultant: Louise Ortman

RC 1, 2, 3 & 44 — May 28, Ramada Hotel and Conference Center, Getzville Retiree Services Consultant: TBD

RC 11 & 45 — June 2, The Hathaway House, Solon Retiree Services Consultant: Meryl Sasnowitz


NYSUT Retiree Services consultants serve as resources to retired members, retiree councils and in-service locals on NYSUT retiree matters.

David Cantor, Retiree Council 14-16 914-592-4411

Judy D. Kalb, RC 43
561-994-4929, ext. 129

TBD, RC 1-3, 44

Kathleen Lyons, RC 17-19

Barbara McCarthy, RC 9 & 10

Louise Ortman, RC 4 & 46

Joan Perrini, RC 20-23

Peter Randazzo, RC 5 & 6

Meryl Sasnowitz, RC 11 & 45

Jennifer Shaad-Derby, RC 12 & 13

Anne Marie Voutsinas, RC 7 & 8