NYSUT Communications |
Saturday May 04 2024 3:24 PM

Ron Smith, Retiree Member of the Year

Ron Smith has been NYSUT’s statewide Political Action Committee coordinator since 2018. A dedicated unionist, he is credited with helping shape NYSUT’s political profile over his career.

Smith first became interested in politics at SUNY Oswego and taught social studies in Sayville Public Schools for 37 years. He became involved in the union in the 1960s and assisted with the earliest contract negotiations for his local. “We were building contracts from the ground up,” he said. “It was the wild west of bargaining.” Smith was elected vice president and then in 1978, chosen as president of his local— a post he held for 28 years.

It was during his time as the union president that he realized the impact that the union could have on school board elections and began running full-scale campaigns. “It didn’t take a real leap for us to realize that if we had a good school board, if we had people who were friendly on the school board, that would make everything easier.”

Smith was elected to the NYSUT Board of Directors and selected to serve as a local Political Action Coordinator, before taking on the then-nascent role of statewide Political Action Coordinator. He also served as the executive vice president for the Long Island Federation of Labor and as a state committee member for the Working Families Party.