2015 News Releases


Read CSEA’s recent news releases

November 2015

  • Nov. 23, 2015 Veto dismisses rightful concerns about developmental disabilities services

October 2015

  • Oct. 23, 2015 CSEA Announces support of Hillary Clinton for President of the United States

September 2015

  • Sept. 10, 2015 Statement of CSEA President Danny Donohue on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $15 wage proposal
  • Sept. 1, 2015 A Labor Day message from CSEA President Danny Donohue
    Raising the wages of undervalued workers means a better New York for all

July 2015

  • July 22, 2015 Statement of CSEA President Danny Donohue on recommendations of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s wage board
  • July 12, 2015 CSEA honors workers during “Pretrial, Probation and Parole Supervision Week”

April 2015

  • April 30, 2015 CSEA members overwhelmingly approve new agreement with Health Research, Inc.

March 2015

  • Mar. 18, 2015 CSEA message to New York state drivers: “Don’t Zone Out”Next week is National Work Zone Awareness Safety week

January 2015

  • Jan. 29, 2015 Court decision upholds penalty in Tarrytown worker deaths

Nov. 23, 2015
Veto dismisses rightful concerns about developmental disabilities services

ALBANY — CSEA today expressed bitter disappointment in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s veto of legislation (A. 7332) that would have ensured a better future for individuals and families living with developmental disabilities.

“This legislation, passed unanimously by both houses of the legislature, would compel the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) to show a true commitment to the well being of individuals with developmental disabilities by ensuring access to a range of treatment and living options that appropriately consider their needs,” said CSEA President Danny Donohue.

Instead, the veto continues the state’s misguided reading of the Supreme Court’s Olmstead ruling concerning care of individuals with developmental disabilities. While that ruling requires care be provided in the least restrictive environment, it also holds that the needs of individuals must be addressed. There are many individuals in state operations in particular, who have a wide range of multiple disabilities and health-related needs, who require more intensive care and supervision.

CSEA believes that the state selectively interprets Olmstead to diminish its obligations to provide appropriate levels of care. The administration’s murky plans for future housing, services and supervision have raised intense concern and criticism from parents, staff and other advocates across the state – much of it expressed at a series of recent public hearings.

“OPWDD needs to listen to the concerns that have long been raised,” Donohue said. “Families are rightly concerned that their loved ones will continue to receive the care they need. Staff are rightly concerned that they will be able to provide the care that is needed and have the help to do it.”

“The answers are not simple and unilateral decisions by New York state won’t make it any easier,” Donohue said.

CSEA represents about 18,000 workers in the developmental disabilities field. Most are delivering state operated services, but the union also represents nearly 2,000 employees in not-for-profit agencies that are contracted by the state. All are concerned about the state’s future plans for the system.

-30-

Read the governor’s veto message


Oct. 23, 2015
CSEA Announces support of Hillary Clinton for President of the United States

ALBANY — CSEA President Danny Donohue has announced the union’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.

“There is no question that Hillary Clinton is the most qualified candidate in the race for President and has demonstrated her ability to lead over and over again,” Donohue said. “Just as important, she has earned the respect of CSEA members and other working people, and the majority of our members strongly support her candidacy.”

“I am honored to have earned the support of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) and Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) Local 1000, and to stand with them in the fight to help working families get ahead and stay ahead,” Clinton said. “AFSCME and CSEA have spent decades working to strengthen America’s middle class and to give workers a voice.

“American workers built the middle class by fighting for higher wages, safer working conditions, retirement security, and the right to collectively bargain. Now, working families are under attack by Republicans who want to silence workers, strip them of their hard-won rights, and keep stacking the deck for those at the top. As President, I will stand up for workers and fight attacks on collective bargaining. I will fight to protect retirement security, including defined benefit plans and Social Security—because when unions are strong, families are strong, and when families are strong, America is strong.

I am proud to stand with public sector workers at the federal, state, county and municipal levels of government. They make this country work. Together with the men and women of AFSCME and CSEA, I know that we can continue making progress and build a better future for working families across America.”

At a time when too many Americans are feeling the consequences of an economy out of balance, Donohue expressed confidence that Clinton will pursue policies that help working people earn better wages to support their families while protecting benefits and retirement security. He noted that on a range of issues from foreign policy to women’s equality, Clinton is without peer in the presidential field.

CSEA was the first union to support Clinton in her successful runs for the United States Senate from New York and her bid for the White House in 2008. The endorsement follows extensive canvassing of the membership and discussion with leaders at every level of CSEA.

CSEA is New York’s leading union, representing nearly 300,000 members doing every kind of job in every part of New York.

-30-


Sept. 10, 2015
Statement of CSEA President Danny Donohue on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $15 wage proposal
ALBANY — “We don’t need a lot more political debate over the ample evidence that raising wages would be beneficial for working people and New York’s economy as a whole.

Actions speak louder than words. There are actions the Governor can take right now, beginning with his own state employees earning less than $15 per hour.

It would also send an important message to both local governments and private sector businesses, who seriously undervalue their employees.”

-30-


Sept. 1, 2015
A Labor Day message from CSEA President Danny Donohue
Raising the wages of undervalued workers means a better New York for all
ALBANY — “A rising tide lifts all boats.” This has long been a cornerstone reason for labor’s commitment to improving working conditions for union members and all working people. There is ample evidence that the rising tide is good for individuals, families, communities, business and our economy as a whole. When people share in prosperity, it’s good for everyone in a lot of different ways.

Recently, fast food workers, with significant help from Labor and other community allies mounted an impressive campaign for fairness and respect. They did a great job making their case and convinced Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s wage board that a raise is in order. They deserve it, but so do a whole lot of other undervalued workers, including many working in public service.

Governor Cuomo has stated repeatedly that income inequality, which plagues New York more than any other state, is a serious problem that must be addressed. I give the governor the benefit of the doubt that the actions of his wage board were not simply an isolated political stunt.

The governor doesn’t need a wage board to make a bigger dent in this economic injustice. Leading by example would be a good starting place:

  • Raise the wages of state workers making federal minimum wage because they aren’t included under state minimum wage law.
  • Address the state’s scandalous disregard of low-wage human services employees of not-for-profit agencies under state contract, who received a cost-of-living increase this year after enduring years without one.

These actions don’t even begin to address the needs of child care providers or the thousands of undervalued state, local government and school employees – many work for much less than $15 per hour – who take care of our kids, maintain our roads, water and sewer systems and do a whole lot more necessary work.

You can be sure that CSEA will be pursuing fair pay in every way possible because it is not only good for our members, but it will help build a better New York for all.

-30-


July 22, 2015
Statement of CSEA President Danny Donohue on recommendations of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s wage board

ALBANY — “Congratulations to the fast food workers for their brave fight that goes to the very heart of the income inequality that plagues New York more than any other state. It showed the determination of all low-wage workers looking to earn a decent wage for themselves and their families.

Now is the time to do more to address this rampant problem. I give Governor Andrew Cuomo the benefit of the doubt that this wage board wasn’t just an isolated political stunt to score some cheap points. There are some meaningful actions he can take on his own right now to close the wage gap and benefit low wage workers, starting with his own state work force and the neglected workers of not-for-profit agencies funded by the state:

  • Raise the wages of state workers making federal minimum wage because they aren’t included under state minimum wage by law.
  • Address the state’s scandalous disregard of low-wage human services employees of not-for-profit agencies under state contract who received a cost-of-living increase this year after enduring years without one.

These actions don’t even begin to address the needs of child care providers or the thousands of undervalued local government and school employees – many work for much less than $15 per hour – who take care of our kids, maintain our roads, water and sewer systems and do a whole lot more necessary work. Leading by example would be a good starting place.

Let’s be clear, the governor doesn’t need a wage board to make a bigger dent in this enormous problem and show he’s really serious about income inequality.”

-30-


July 12, 2015
CSEA honors workers during “Pretrial, Probation and Parole Supervision Week”

ALBANY — CSEA has joined with labor and other groups to recognize July 12 – 18, 2015, as ‘Pretrial, Probation and Parole Supervision Week.’

CSEA members work in probation and other public safety jobs in nearly every community in New York.

‘On behalf of nearly 300,000 CSEA members across New York state, I am pleased to recognize, each year, our members who are probation professionals,’ CSEA President Danny Donohue said. ‘Their work too often may be taken for granted, but they serve people and communities every day.’

Pretrial, Probation and Parole Supervision Week is an annual event meant to honor a segment of the work force that deserves great respect. Probation professionals are a vital part of every New York state county work force and have an important dual role in the public safety field. Not only do they work with the justice system to protect the public from crime, violence and abuse, but they also provide important support services while struggling with large workloads.

‘Probation professionals help supervise and counsel offenders so they can face up to the challenges of getting their lives on track,” Donohue said, “They help them focus on goals, which is good for the individuals and the community.”

As with all public safety work, these professionals often put their own well being at risk to keep people and their communities safe. CSEA realizes the high level of commitment and the special dedication these workers have to the public they serve.

CSEA is New York State’s leading union, representing employees of the state and its counties, towns, villages, school districts, library systems, authorities and public benefit corporations. Together with a growing population of private sector members and retirees, CSEA is the largest affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which is one of the largest affiliates of the AFL-CIO.

-30-


April 30, 2015
CSEA members overwhelmingly approve new agreement with Health Research, Inc.

BUFFALO — After swift negotiations, CSEA members overwhelmingly approved a new agreement with Health Research, Inc. (HRI), a not-for-profit corporation affiliated with the New York State Department of Health and the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, a leading cancer research center in Buffalo.

CSEA represents more than 1,000 HRI employees, who perform daily, key functions in keeping important, cutting-edge medical research like cancer and biomedical research, rehabilitation medicine and disease and infection research moving forward.

The new four-year contract (previous contract expired March 31, 2015) includes wage increases and an increase in employer contribution of health insurance premiums in all years of the agreement, addressing the two top issues workers identified as concerns through a pre-negotiations survey.

CSEA members also maintain steps and longevity in the new agreement, which also enhances benefit programs, time off, severance packages, and cost of living adjustments for workers in downstate locations.

“Good things result when labor and management work towards everyone’s best interest,” said CSEA President Danny Donohue.

“This contract brought back a lot of good things for the members of both CSEA locals at HRI and this, all after a very rough time of transition and change,” said Deborah Hanna, president of CSEA’s Health Research, Inc. Local, Albany Division. “We are very pleased. This contract not only has additional benefits gained but we are also holding on to key benefits that were at risk. We are back to where we want to be. We are back on track.”

“It was good to see this high level of engagement from our members,” said Laura Porter, president of CSEA’s Health Research, Inc. Local at Roswell Park, Buffalo. “There were so many members taking interest and continually involved throughout the process, from voicing opinions throughout negotiations to voting on this contract. To that, we can attribute this success.”

-30-


Mar. 18, 2015
CSEA message to New York state drivers: “Don’t Zone Out”
Next week is National Work Zone Awareness Safety week

ALBANY — With the roadwork season nearly upon us, scores of CSEA members will be out on roads, bridges and highways repairing the damage inflicted during the brutal winter months. These men and women are at serious risk for injury or death at the hands of drivers who ignore the law and blast through work zones unaware that lives are at stake, including their own.

March 23-27 is National Work Zone Awareness Week. There is no better time to remind motorists about the dangers of distracted driving and driving carefully through work zones.

Distracted driving is a serious problem and for CSEA, it’s personal. Too many road workers lose their lives or are injured each year. Since recordkeeping began in 1983, nearly 50 CSEA members have lost their lives on the job in highway work zones.

These incidents are not only tragic, they are preventable.

“In an instant, distracted driving can kill and change lives forever,” said CSEA President Danny Donohue. “Keep in mind that most traffic zone deaths and injuries involve the traveling public; so when you pay attention, the life you save may be your own.”

CSEA is promoting its Don’t Zone Out message through a variety of traditional and social media channels and is also working with minor league baseball teams in New York to get the word out throughout the season again. CSEA has had great success reaching hundreds of thousands of people with our safety message.

Since CSEA’s “Don’t Zone Out” campaign began in 2010, many other awareness campaigns across the country have also been established. As a result, distracted driving related deaths and injuries were dramatically decreased. Nationwide, in 2009 distracted driving reportedly killed almost 6,000 people. In 2012 (most recent statistic on record), the number fell to 3,000 deaths, but the message must always be reinforced.

CSEA is also reminding drivers about the state’s “move over law.” Nearly three years ago, CSEA successfully supported an amendment to the state “move over law” to include road workers. Motorists are required, when possible, to change lanes when they approach an incident where there is a vehicle with flashing red lights (such as police or fire) but also for amber lights (road workers) as well. When it is not possible to move over or there is only one lane, drivers must slow down. The penalty is a moving violation, can carry penalties of 5 points on your license, up to $400 fine plus court surcharges and a possible jail sentence.

WHAT THE PUBLIC CAN DO
• Move over for amber lights, or police lights.
• Obey posted speed limits.
• Put the phone down and drive.
• Never send or read text messages while driving.
• In work zones, focus only on your driving.
• If someone calls you while you’re driving, ignore it.
• Help spread the word.
• Join the Don’t Zone Out Facebook community and help build awareness:
www.facebook.com/DontZoneOut.

Note: Media wishing to arrange interviews with highway workers about this issue may contact the CSEA Communications Specialist in your area.

Long Island Region: Rich Impagliazzo 631-462-0030
Southern Region: Jessica Ladlee 845-831-1000
Capital Region: Therese Assalian 518-785-4400
Central Region: Mark Kotzin 315-433-0050
Western Region: Ed Molitor 518-257-1272 or 800-342-4146 Ext 1272

Jan. 29, 2015
Court decision upholds penalty in Tarrytown worker deaths

ALBANY — A significant court decision has upheld the willful violation citation the state Department of Labor issued to the Village of Tarrytown in Westchester County following the tragic deaths of two CSEA members there on Sept. 6, 2010.

The Department of Labor’s Public Employee Safety and Health Bureau (PESH) issued a willful violation citation after CSEA members Anthony Ruggiero and John Kelly died from asphyxiation from losing consciousness and falling in a village manhole. The Village of Tarrytown was cited for knowing the requirements of entering a permit-required confined space and not following the regulations. The decision to dismiss the Village of Tarrytown’s appeal came Jan. 21, 2015 from the state Supreme Court Appellate Division.

“This decision affirms that it is first and foremost the employer’s responsibility to provide safe working conditions and the training required for workers to carry out their jobs in a safe manner,” said CSEA President Danny Donohue. “The court has reinforced that workplace safety is a right. CSEA will continue to fight to ensure employers provide all workers with the safe working conditions.”

Ruggiero, a CSEA Village of Tarrytown Unit member, reported to work on Labor Day 2010 to fix a sewer blockage in a village manhole. Overcome by fumes, he fell while descending into the manhole. Kelly, a local volunteer firefighter who was a CSEA member and state Department of Transportation employee, also lost consciousness and fell while trying to rescue Ruggiero. Neither man had received recent training, through the village or the local fire department, on permit-required confined space safety.

“While no citation will bring back these two men, the decision to uphold the PESH citation acknowledges that Anthony Ruggiero and John Kelly were failed by the safety practices or lack thereof in Tarrytown,” said CSEA Southern Region President Billy Riccaldo. “I hope that village leaders in Tarrytown can continue the strides they’ve since made in improving their workplace safety practices. CSEA has offered all available resources to get Tarrytown in compliance and to have them stay in compliance. We want to see labor and management partnering to make workplace safety a top priority in Tarrytown and all work sites.”

Following the PESH citation, the Village of Tarrytown appealed to the state Industrial Board of Appeals (IBA), which subsequently affirmed the PESH findings. Village officials continued to fight the citation by appealing to the state Supreme Court.

“We are pleased that the court has upheld the appropriate citation after what was a clear violation of the law,” said CSEA Westchester County Local President John Staino. “Anthony Ruggiero and John Kelly should never have lost their lives, and as a union we will work to have management provide safe workplaces so this never happens again.”
-30-