I just read about the passing of Charles Sutera [June 7]. I would echo the comments made by former UFT Staff Director Tom Pappas that “Charlie was basically a people person.” As a former UFT District 27 representative for part of the time that Charlie was the District 24 representative, I found him to be extremely professional in all matters that the district representatives were involved in as part of their responsibilities.
In the old UFT Queens office, the district representatives did not have separate offices. Our desks were arranged behind each other on both sides of a large room. Charlie’s desk was across the large aisle that separated the two groups of desks. We were constantly discussing possible grievances, school board elections, Board of Education procedures, etc. Charlie was more than a colleague, he was a friend. Most important, he was a “union brother.”
Though I haven’t seen Charlie in many years, I often think about the UFT Queens office and the people that worked there to build the union. Charlie, as well as the other UFT staff in the Queens office, helped me understand and grow as a union leader at the UFT, AFT and NYSUT for the greater part of 40 years of being an active trade unionist.
Charlie, we will all miss you.
Mark Chaykin, retired