Valda McKinney has been an instrumental asset in the labor movement for over three decades. In 1988, Valda embarked upon her career in education as a classroom teacher, where she became a member of the United Teachers of Dade. Valda became a Union Steward at Charles R. Hadley Elementary School, where she was also named their Teacher of the Year. Amongst her accomplishments, Valda can add that she is a graduate of the UTD Future Leaders class and went on to teach the class as well.
As she continued to matriculate in her career, Valda went on to work in the educational and professional issues department for 6 years, serving as a Teacher on Special Assignment, Assistant Director, and Director. Valda was hired as a full-time UTD staff member in 1995, offering countless contributions over the years. As a Union Organizer, representing over 30 sites in the southernmost part of Miami Dade County, which includes Homestead and Florida City. Within this capacity she is responsible for assisting members in resolving worksite issues and ensuring contractual obligation fulfillment by all parties.
In addition, Valda works tirelessly to increase union membership, promote professional development, and advocate for social and economic justice, all the while upholding the core values of public education. Valda not only works for a union but is also a member of both UTD and Teamsters Local Union 769, where she serves on the Women’s Committee and is a member of the Teamsters National Black Caucus. Even today Valda remains a continuous voice and steadfast champion of educators, lobbying at local, state, and national levels.
Valda is an active member of several professional organizations and the labor community. She has served in various roles including the Miami Dade Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute (current First Vice President, former Secretary, and Clarence Pittman Scholarship Committee member), Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, South Florida AFL-CIO (Recording Secretary and COPE Executive Board Member), American Federation of Teachers (Delegate, Education Research and Dissemination Trainer), National Education Association (Delegate), Florida Education Association (Delegate), the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (Program Coordinator), United Way (Union Counselor; Campaign Coordinator for UTD Staff and Women’s Leadership), Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, the George Meany Institute for Labor Studies (Graduate), the National Parent Teacher Association (lifetime member) and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated.
Valda is a native of Maryland and a proud graduate of Salisbury State University in Salisbury, MD (Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s degree). In her professional life preceding public education, Valda was the Chief Financial Officer for SHORE UP, Incorporated, a Community Action Agency, for 12 years. When she is not working, Valda enjoys dancing, traveling, fitness and spending time with family and friends.