Collection Number: 6174
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
NYSUT Records, 1845-2016
New York State United Teachers (NYSUT)
476.78 linear ft.
Forms of Material:
Audiovisual material, biography files, constitutions, correspondence, manuscripts, memorabilia, minutes, oral histories, photographs, publications, records, reports, speeches.
Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library
Collection material in English, Spanish, and French
New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) was created in 1972 by the merger of the New York State Teachers Association (NYSTA) and the United Teachers of New York (UTNY). NYSTA had been affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA), and UTNY with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). UTNY was the statewide organization whose United Federation of Teachers (UFT), led by Albert Shanker, was the predominant teachers' union in New York City. In joining with United Teachers and affiliating with the AFT, NYSUT also became a member union of the AFL-CIO.
In 1976, NYSUT voted to disaffiliate with the NEA. Some locals left NYSUT and created the NYEA (New York Educators Association), which became the state affiliate for the NEA. In the early 1980s, NYEA changed its name to NEA-NY.
NYEA/NEA- NY viewed association with the AFL-CIO's industrial unions as undermining the professional image and independence of teachers. The two organizations also differed strongly on aspects of the governance structure, particularly with respect to ethnic minority representation, with NYSUT opposed to mandatory minimums. The rivalry between NYSUT and NYEA/NEA-NY in organizing new locals expended a great deal of resources for both labor organizations.
While competition with NYEA/NEA-NY was a constant focus of NYSUT's organizing efforts for teachers, NYSUT was also organizing college faculty members, nurses, and other non-teaching personnel. Once members were organized, NYSUT continued to advocate for teachers' and other workers' rights through contract support and legal services at the local level and political involvement at the state and federal levels, supporting candidates and legislation that protected funding, due process, and working conditions.
NEA-NY merged with NYSUT in 2006, by which time NYSUT had grown to more than half a million members, becoming the largest union in New York State.
The Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives is the official repository for the records of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT). Since August of 2004 NYSUT has been transferring their permanent records to the Kheel Center.
Hobart, Thomas Y. Jr.
Neira, M. (Maria)
Advisory Committee to the Permanent Interagency on Early Childhood Programs.
American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
International Federation of Free Teachers' Unions.
Martin Luther King Commission.
New York State United Teachers (NYSUT)
Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau.
New York State United Teachers (NYSUT)
Teachers' Union, New York (State)
Form and Genre Terms:
Access to the collections in the Kheel Center is restricted. Please contact a reference archivist for access to these materials.
Restrictions on Use:
This collection must be used in keeping with the Kheel Center Information Sheet and Procedures for Document Use.
NYSUT Records. #6174. Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, Cornell University Library.
5018: US Congressional Investigation of Teachers' Union Local No. 555, United Public Workers of America, CIO, 1948.
5383: New York State Bureau of Vocational Curriculum Development and Industrial Teacher Training Records, 1946-1954.
Contains minutes of the Executive Board, Board of Directors, and numerous committees. Includes material regarding AFT and NYSUT conventions and Representive Assemblies. Also contains correspondence and publications.
Contains training tapes and videos on a variety of topics, focusing on the 1980s and '90s. Includes speeches and interviews with NYSUT president Tom Hobart, clips from Representative Assemblies, tributes honoring Al Shanker.
Contains items from conventions and other events dating as far back as 1845 but mostly concentrating on the 1980s and 90s; includes plaques, campaign pins, buttons, name tags, T-shirts, tote bags, and other items.
Contains interviews of NYSUT officers as well as interviews of other notable union organizers in the field of education. Includes audio tapes, VHS video cassettes, computer discs and transcripts.
Consists mostly of photos of NYSUT president Tom Hobart, some other labor and political leaders.
Consists mostly of issues of New York Teacher, the official newspaper of NYSUT, 1971-2010 (some earlier), and NYSUT United, successor to New York Teacher, 2010-2016. Also contains other NYSUT publications.
Biographies of officers and field staff of New York State Teachers Association (NYSTA) 1961-1975. Includes some photographs (formal head shots), many in poor condition.
Covers the period roughly corresponding to Tom Hobart's presidency, 1982-2004, with some files from the 1970s and a few as early as 1831. Documents Hobart's activities on the NYSUT Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Administrative Committee, officers' meetings, NY Special Olympics Board of Directors, international trips, and correspondence.
This is a collection of photographs from trips to Germany, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and El Salvador.
Consists of subject files, meeting minutes, reports, and correspondence from the Vice-Presidents' office. The files are arranged alphabetically by subject. These files date mostly from Antonia Cortese's tenure as First Vice-President, though some are earlier.
Consists of subject files from Ms. Neira's tenure as a NYSUT Vice-President, arranged alphabetically.
Alan Lubin was executive vice president of NYSUT from 1993 to 2009, after a long career as an officer in NYSUT's New York City affiliate, the United Federation of Teachers; he served on the NYSUT Board of Directors since 1973. The executive vice president position oversees the legislative and political programs of NYSUT, including the activities of its political action committee, VOTE/COPE. The correspondence in this series documents the breadth of relationships Lubin had with state legislators and agency administrators, party officials (both Republican and Democratic), and advocacy organizations, as well as his detailed command of complex issues affecting public education, organized labor, health care and the economy writ large. This knowledge base is also evident in his collection of speeches, which also reveal his willingness to make himself available to locals even at the election district level in the promotion of workers' rights..
A large part of the file concentrates on the early 1970s process of disaffiliation by NYSTA/NYSUT from the National Education Association and subsequent years of rivalry. Later records focus on reports and testimony by president Tom Hobart, vice president Antonia Cortese, executive vice president Herb Magidson, and other officers on issues such as teacher compensation, teacher certification, and health insurance..
Training tapes and newsclips on topics such as shared decision making and social promotion; speeches by Al Shanker and Tom Hobart, and excerpts from NYSTA House of Delegates conferences (1972) and later events to 1999. Includes open-reel audio tapes, audio cassettes, and VHS.
Consists Union charters and a certificate of agreement for the unification of NYSUT and NEA-NY.
Consists of black and white photos of NYSUT/NYSTA officers Tom Hobart, Charles Santelli, UFT president Albert Shanker, and unidentified others; U.S. Senator Jacob Javits.
Covers 1970-1999, with some material dating back to 1959. Materials for NYSUT/NYSTA Representative Assembly/Delegate Assembly, the annual convention of the New York State teachers union.
Speeches at Representative Assembly and other events featuring President Bill Clinton, U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, Andrew Cuomo, and other elected officials; NYSUT presidents Richard Ianuzzi and Tom Hobart; vice presidents Maria Neira and Antonia Cortese; Al Shanker, Randi Weingarten, Sandra Feldman, and other officers.
The series spans the late 1960s to 1981, with a few documents dating from the 1950s and as early as 1938, but focuses mainly on the early 1970s, the formative years of NYSUT as it emerged from NYSTA (New York State Teachers Association) and struggled with the question of unity with the National Education Association (NEA) versus affiliation with the AFL-CIO and the American Federation of Teachers. Issues of professionalism -- respect, recognition, and individual autonomy -- clashed with the practical desire for higher wages and benefits that was seen to be achievable only through following the industrial model of traditional labor organization. That tension was perfectly articulated in a speech by NYSTA's executive secretary Francis White to the House of Delegates shortly before his resignation, when he warned that the union could not achieve the militancy and effectiveness of the Teamsters without the unity and discipline of the Teamsters. In the end, the Board of Directors chose the industrial path, rejecting the elitist pretentions of the NEA, whose sense of exclusivity extended even to barring full membership by non-teaching school employees. For years to come, NYSUT and the NEA would exist as competing organizations in New York State, but the political acumen developed out of the conflict by the NYSUT elected officers would serve the union well in its dealings with the State Education Department, legislature, and local school boards. The collection includes testimony by officers before the state legislature, records of committees studying educational issues such as mainstreaming developmentally disabled students, and internal issues such as awards criteria, as well as the files of the annual conventions (House of Delegates/Representative Assembly). Both NEA and NYSTA/NYSUT board meetings are represented..
Consists of NYSUT Division of Research and Educational Services' reports, subject and correspondence files.
Covers 1965-1999, with greatest focus in the 1970s and 1980s during Jim Conti's tenure as director of field services. Includes correspondence of Conti and of individual regional offices, activity reports and requests for legal assistance.
Consists of training tapes and other videos on labor issues.
Consists mostly of materials covering 1990s, some 1980s. Contents include issues briefing materials for lobbying days by Committee of 100, members of NYSUT, including retirees, who volunteered to lobby legislators in Albany; voter registration and issues flyers by VOTE/COPE (Committee on Political Education), the political action committee of NYSUT; recommendations for candidate endorsements and related background materials (research on voting records, summaries of key legislation); resolutions for consideration at the NYSUT Representative Assembly; correspondence with elected officials; draft legislation initiated by NYSUT; legislative memoranda of support or opposition to specific bills; annual NYSUT legislative programs (comprehensive package of bills of interest to K-12 public education, higher education, and health professionals); analyses of proposed executive (governor's) budgets; annual reports on legislative sessions, including bills opposed by NYSUT and not passed, bills passed by one chamber, vetoed, or signed into law.
Covers Public Relations Department files 1983-1998. Final print copies of Bottom Line newsletter for local leaders, and background production materials; production worksheets for public service announcements and video segments for "Inside Your Schools" cable series addressing educational issues such as teacher shortage.
NYSUT's field service operation provided ongoing assistance to local teachers associations throughout the state. The department was divided into several geographic regional offices, and field representatives associated with each office were assigned to school districts within the area. Assistance focused primarily on contract negotiations and grievances, which frequently involved arbitration and close cooperation with the NYSUT Legal Department. These are the files of the NYSUT Mid-Hudson Regional Office, covering the late 1980s through the 1990s. A large section of the files are devoted to Rhinecliff, a Special Act school, one of many created by special acts of the state legislature to provide education for students whose disruptive behaviors required their placement outside the mainstream system. Complicating the different funding mechanisms and regulations for staff under Education Law was the fact that the district was governed by a religious-affiliated agency, Pius XII Family and Children Services. The files document how adversarial the relationship was between the teacher's union, which struggled with issues of salary parity and professional dignity, and the administration, some of whom came not from the public education system but from the state corrections system. No issue -- whether a door had two locks or three -- seemed too trivial to challenge either by the teachers or the administration. By contrast, the files of the Wappingers district, a mainstream public school district, are more typical of the orderly negotiations process encountered by the NYSUT field representatives (later called labor relations specialists) on behalf of teachers, school bus drivers, and other school related personnel.
Covers 2006-2010, with a few folders 1988-1991. In addition to records of NYSUT's Division of Research and Educational Services, which fell under the purview of the First Vice President, the files document the activities of Maria Neira more generally, in her role as a member of the NYSUT Board of Directors, Executive Committee, Cabinet, Officers' Committee, Administrative Committee, NYSUT Policy Council, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, and the Education and Learning Trust. Meeting agendas and minutes of these entities are heavily featured, as well as speeches and reports prepared by Neira. Minutes and materials of NYSUT's political action arm, VOTE/COPE, and its lobbying group, the Committee of 100, are also included. Topics cover closing the academic achievement gap, credit recovery (attempts to allow students who missed class to make up course credit online, in order to graduate), charter schools, vocational training and other programs for non-college-bound students, and the state response to federal programs under presidents G. W. Bush and Obama, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top, respectively.
Consists of computer print-outs of teacher salaries by degree of education, years of service, and school district. Does not contain any identifying information for individual teachers.
Covers the period 1976-1994. The NYS Special Task Force on Equity and Excellence in Education (also known as the Rubin Commission or Rubin Task Force, named for its chairman, Max J. Rubin) was created to make recommendations for a state aid formula that would more fairly fund school districts, taking into account the great disparities in local wealth throughout the state. Materials in this collection focus mostly on the NYSUT committee that tracked the task force's work, the NYSUT Commission on Equitable Public School Funding. Meeting agendas and minutes, position papers, and correspondence comprise the bulk of the files, along with analyses of the 1978 NY Supreme Court decision (and the Appellate Division decision in 1981) in Levittown v. Nyquist, which found the current school aid formula unconstitutional. Files also include materials of the Task Force on Creating Career Pathways for New York State Youth, appointed by Governor Mario Cuomo in 1991 and co-chaired by NYSUT president Tom Hobart and Regent Walter Cooper of Rochester. The task force examined school-to-work transitions for students at risk of dropping out, including a proposal to replace the Regents general diploma with a Career Pathways Certificate at age 16 and establish alternative learning environments for students beyond the age of mandatory attendance. Finally, a large number of files reflect the work of the Curriculum and Assessment Council and its many subcommittees, which advised the State Education Department on its school restructuring initiative, A New Compact for Learning. Detailed critiques by NYSUT vice president Antonia Cortese, who was a member of the group, give insight into the level of concern by the teachers union for rigorous academic standards.
Files cover organizing activities from 1972 through 1989 by Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, an affiliate of NYSUT, and its counterpart in New York City, Federation of Nurses UFT. This was the peak period of organizing activity for these AFT unions, concentrated mainly in the New York City and Long Island metropolitan area but also including some medical centers, nursing homes/rehabilitation centers, and independent visiting nurse service agencies as far flung as Plattsburgh, Rochester, and Buffalo. Also included are materials by FNHP's main competitor, the New York State Nurses Association. Content of files comprise contract agreements, NLRB election decisions, recruiting materials by the medical facilities, organizing materials by the unions, anti-union correspondence by management, salary and benefit information, financial filings, opinion surveys, and also materials dealing with important nursing issues of the day, especially caring for the AIDS patient, dealing with the nursing shortage, licensing requirements, and the advent of the nurse practitioner.
Contents are mostly files of staff consultant James Kiepper, whose fee was paid by NYSUT (copies of checks included). Records include voluminous handwritten notes by Kiepper, TECB newsletters and background production materials, meeting agendas and minutes, testimony at Regents hearings, and policy papers on teacher education.
Consists of interviews and research notes used in writing the history of NYSUT.