Anthony V. Minieri, a carpenter in the City School District of New Rochelle for more than 20 years, is a member of F.U.S.E. (Federation of United School Employees). Bill Coleman, a union delegate for F.U.S.E. and a member of NYSUT's SRP Advisory Committee, interviewed him.
Tell me about your job and why you love what you do.
As one of the districtwide carpenters in the New Rochelle City School District, I am responsible for making repairs and fulfilling requests for creating and installing fixtures. Since I started I have made everything from bookshelves, to cabinets, to guitar racks for students and staff in any of our 11 school buildings and our city hall.
It feels great to give back to a school district that led me to the career I have today. Back in junior high school at Isaac E. Young in New Rochelle, I took woodshop, and at New Rochelle High School, I took carpentry and drafting. I went on to Westchester Community College for civil engineering, and eventually attended Iona College to gain experience in construction and facilities management.
After serving in the Marines, I opened my own business to build and renovate homes. I was later hired with the New Rochelle City School District. I had come full circle. My experience at a young age prepared me to serve the district that gave me my start in the field.
How did you get involved in your union?
In 1978, I joined the Local Carpenters' Union 350 in New Rochelle. When I started working as a carpenter for the New Rochelle CSD, I saw an opportunity when a building representative stepped down. I was voted in as the building representative for 17 tradesmen. I take the job very seriously. I relay important news and information to our members and, most importantly, I ensure that we work in a safe environment. Recently, I was asked to sit on the Grievance Chair Committee to select a grievance chairperson for the F.U.S.E.
What about hobbies or other activities?
I consider myself a history buff and an avid reader. Visiting historical places is a great pastime. Of course, I always enjoy spending time with my children, and coach their baseball, softball and soccer teams. I find time to attend local board meetings and community events to hear different perspectives and stay current on the issues. When all is said and done, I try to find some personal time to grab the pole and go fishing!
How do you make a difference?
When I visit the schools, I am proud to see the work we have done. Seeing the students in the classroom on the benches we built, for example. It gives me great joy knowing that my co-workers and I were able to contribute positively to the learning experience. I look forward to coming to work every day.
My school experiences, my time as a business owner, the relationships I have built over the years with my co-workers and subcontractors, and my time with the union have all shaped the work I do today. We are here for the staff and students.