Raised in RI by two educators, Nick DiPardo has been surrounded by hard-working educators since the day he was born.
“I grew up in a union household,” he says. “Both of my parents were active AFT members and my father was president of their local in Woonsocket.”
While other children may recall walking uphill both ways in the snow to get to school, DiPardo fondly remembers after-school trips to his father’s office and early exposure to union meetings and AFT conventions.
“I saw how difficult life was for teachers,” DiPardo explains. ”Their jobs were stressful, their pensions were being attacked. It seemed like everyone would blame teachers for everything that went wrong.”
Apparently, his parents’ nurturing formed DiPardo’s nature, as he entered the Labor movement professionally as soon as he could.
“When I graduated from college,” he muses, “working in the labor movement seemed like a great way to help out hard-working teachers.”
Di Pardo currently serves as a lead organizer for AFT’s Northeast Regional Organizing Project who will be supporting his colleagues at AFT MA while he pursues a Masters degree at the UMass Amherst Labor Center.
“I've been assigned to work with AFT MA and the locals on the charter school ballot initiative this November,” DiPardo explains, noting that his assignment runs through Election Day, when the fate of the charter school cap will be decided and the fates of many educators may be sealed.
“Whatever the level of education, educators are constantly under attack,” DiPardo observes, encouraging all AFT members to remain involved in local and national efforts in every way possible. “The charter ballot initiative and school privatization is only the most recent attack, and immediately after Election Day, I'm sure there will be another.”
Though he has also served in RI, PA and Washington, DC, DiPardo started with AFT in MA.
“I worked on the MA Early Childhood Educators Union,” he recalls, citing, the pioneering joint venture between AFT MA and MTA. “I was here from 2011-2014.”
Since then, DiPardo has spent most of his time in the Pittsburgh area, working with higher education faculty and helping to form new locals.
“I successfully helped 1,000 part-time faculty at the Community College of Allegheny County and about 400 full-time faculty at Northern Illinois University join the AFT,” he says proudly.
While in MA, DiPardo looks forward to helping colleagues and learning from them as well, just as he has from his parents and so many others throughout his personal and professional life.
“At this point in my career, I've gotten the opportunity to work with educators at all levels,” he says, recalling experiences with k-12 teachers, as well as higher education faculty. “I'm really looking forward to using the Save Our Public Shools campaign as an opportunity for intense internal organizing, developing new activists, and leaving AFT-MA locals in a stronger position than when I arrived.”