CSEA efforts lead to election of many endorsed candidates

vote-button-1CSEA was active in every part of the state in this year’s elections. CSEA-endorsed candidates across the state were largely successful in their elections to local and state offices. Union activists across the state campaigned on behalf of endorsed candidates in their areas.

In the Southern Tier, Fred Akshar was overwhelmingly elected to the state Senate in a special election for the 52nd District. CSEA activists made thousands of phone calls in support of Akshar, a Broome County undersheriff.

CSEA members’ efforts also paid off in Schenectady, where Mayor Gary McCarthy, who was endorsed by the union, fended off another challenge from Roger Hull.

In the City of Poughkeepsie, CSEA-endorsed candidate Rob Rolison was elected mayor. CSEA efforts are also being credited with a tight margin in the Town of Patterson supervisor election, where the union’s endorsed candidate, Democrat Andrew Falk, is down by only 32 votes in the Republican stronghold town. More than 100 absentee ballots will determine the race’s outcome.

On Long Island, CSEA efforts were successful in numerous races, including the re-election of Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. The union’s endorsed candidates won all of the Town of Hempstead races and City of Long Beach council seats.

In New York City, CSEA-endorsed candidate Alicia Hyndman easily won a special election for a vacant New York State Assembly seat in Queens.

In the Town of Lancaster in Erie County, CSEA endorsed candidate Johanna Metz-Coleman defeated the incumbent town supervisor, who had been a champion of the Tea Party and created a very poor working environment for CSEA members.

    CSEA stands strong, moves toward future, during dynamic 105th Annual Delegates Meeting


    CSEA Central New York DDSO Local activist Cherie Casler, left, poses with her sister and co-worker, Theresa Young, during the 105th Annual Delegates Meeting in Buffalo.

    During the 105th Annual Delegates Meeting in Buffalo, hundreds of CSEA leaders and activists were empowered to face the union’s challenges and lead CSEA into the future. With the ADM theme being, “My Union, Your Union, Our Tomorrow,” all of the week’s training centered around Strong Communities Work and Member Engagement. Specifically, programs taught delegates how to engage members and how to partner with organizations and activist to expand economic opportunities. CSEA aims to have delegates bring the information and skills they have acquired back to other members so they can be used to strengthen the labor movement.

    This year’s meeting was the first of its kind. Activists were able to develop their union and leadership skills through a coordinated series of learning tracks that were focused on specific needs, including certification for required officer and representation training.

    The five-day meeting also included powerful addresses from A. Philip Randolph Institute President Clayola Brown and AFSCME International President Lee Saunders.

    CSEA President Danny Donohue also recognized Statewide Treasurer Joe McMullen for his service to the union. McMullen is retiring early next year.
    The week also included delegates stepping up to support one of their union sisters. Central New York DDSO Local member Theresa Young is undergoing treatment for a rare form of breast cancer. Hundreds of delegates wore pink “Team T” t-shirts during the meeting to support not only Young, but others who have been affected by cancer.

    Central New York DDSO Local members, including Young’s sister, Cherie Casler, and other supporters from the Central Region will also participate in the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Syracuse on Sunday, Oct. 18. Hundreds of CSEA members will participate in walks in their regions throughout October.

    The meeting also included several awards. Western Region and Erie County Local activist Judi Knight was honored with the Nadra Floyd Award for Organizing, while Long Island Region and Nassau County Local activist Lynne Kramer received the Membership Achievement Award.
    SUNY Upstate Local and Central Region activist Gloria Smith received the PEOPLE Recruiter of the Year Award, and the Central Region took home the PEOPLE Cup.

    CSEA also honored three activists with its Mission Achievement Award. Central Region Judiciary Local President Don Lynskey received the State Mission Achievement Award, Poughkeepsie City School District Unit activist Tyreck Douglas received the Local Government Mission Achievement Award, and Fulton Center Nursing Facility Local President Migdalia Perry received the Private Sector Mission Achievement Award.
    View CSEA’s Officer Reports to the ADM
    View photos
    Learn more about and find a Making Strides Walk near you

      Mark Labor Day with CSEA

      labor day events copy


        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.”

          VOICE/CSEA providers, parents and community members meet to discuss subsidy program issues


          CSEA Western Region President Flo Tripi discusses how late and short child care subsidy payments is harming providers and parents in Monroe County.

          VOICE/CSEA child care providers from Monroe County, parents and community members met Tuesday to discuss how late and short payments have adversely affected child care programs.

          While county officials, including Department of Human Services Commissioner Kelly A. Reid, were scheduled to attend this meeting to hear the providers’ and parents’ concerns, they canceled shortly before the meeting was to begin.

          Ensuring access to quality child care so parents can work and children can receive the best possible start in life is one the most important investments our communities can make toward breaking the cycle of poverty and giving struggling families a leg up. Access to affordable child care helps working parents stay active in the work force.

          Investments in early education may also reduce the need for special education placements and remedial education, and later in life, involvement with the criminal justice system. High quality early learning experiences are also linked to increased productivity and earnings when these children become adults.

          “We’re disappointed that county officials didn’t show up, but we look forward to scheduling another meeting with them where providers and parents can have a voice,” CSEA Western Region President Flo Tripi said. “We are hopeful we can continue this good relationship and make some progress on these concerns.”

          Watch WROC’s coverage


            Tell your representative to say NO to fast-track legislation!

            Final-Countdown-to-Stop-TPP-and-Bad-Trade-Deals-Call-Today_blog_post_fullWidthURGENT: The House of Representatives has begun debate on Fast-Track legislation. Call your representative now at 1-855-712-7845, or click here to be immediately connected.

            Fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership undermines our democracy and doesn’t allow Congress to fix bad provisions that hurt American workers.

            Fast-track trade agreements miss the mark. Instead of building a vibrant middle class, this trade agreement will:

            • export public and private sector jobs overseas,
            • reduce workers’ wages,
            • drive up Medicare and Medicaid costs, and even
            • erode American food safety standards.

            Please call your representative now – 1-855-712-7845 – and tell them to vote no on Fast-Track.

              CSEA joins Bon Jovi, governor, advocates in push to raise minimum wage


              Rocker Jon Bon Jovi, left, addresses a Manhattan rally on Thursday to support raising the minimum wage as Gov. Andrew Cuomo, second from left, CSEA Metropolitan Region President Lester Crockett, third from right, and other labor leaders and advocates look on.

              CSEA Metropolitan Region President Lester Crockett joined Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, rocker Jon Bon Jovi and labor leaders from across New York Thursday, June 11, at a rally to push to raise the minimum wage. The event was held at the Hotel and Motel Trades Council headquarters in Manhattan.

              In May, Cuomo instructed the state Department of Labor to launch a wage board to investigate and make recommendations on an increase in the minimum wage in the fast food industry. The board is expected to make recommendations for a possible increase by July; those recommendations do not require legislative approval in order to become enacted.

              “Raising the wage is about fairness and giving hardworking New Yorkers more than a shot at making ends meet,” said Bon Jovi at the rally.

              “An economy that works for all makes our democracy more vibrant and sustainable,” CSEA President Danny Donohue said. “When we fight against income inequality, we also fight for fairness and justice for all families.”

              “If workers can’t earn the salaries they need to survive, there is no way we can expect our local economies to thrive,” Crockett said.

                CSEA retirees win fights over health insurance

                scalesCSEA-represented retirees in two Western Region communities are getting some health insurance relief after successfully fighting back against their employers’ attempts to cut their retirement security.
                CSEA recently scored major victories in legal cases against the Niagara Falls School District and the City of Lockport, where the employers sought to cut health insurance benefits against retired workers.
                In recent years, CSEA retirees have been standing strong against employers’ efforts to cut the retirement benefits that the workers have earned — and that the employers have promised to them.

                Niagara Falls School District must reimburse retirees
                In the Niagara Falls School District, the State Supreme Court ruled the district illegally reduced retiree benefits when it moved them from their previous health plan into a more costly one.
                A 1994 state law prohibits school districts from diminishing retiree health insurance benefits unless benefits for current workers are also cut.
                Despite this law, in 2011, Niagara Falls School District officials changed the health plans for active and retired employees from a traditional Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan to a preferred provider plan, claiming the coverage was the same under both plans.
                CSEA sued the district after the union’s review of the plans showed that while active employees did see a slight cost improvement under the new plan, retirees were saddled with new or higher co-payments for office visits, prescriptions and other services under the new plan.
                The court ordered the district to reimburse retirees for expenses they incurred under the new plan and to offer their former plan to them again.
                The school district’s appeal to the New York State Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, was dismissed on June 9 and there is no further appeal. The school district should therefore be reimbursing retirees for their excessive out-of-pocket expenditures retroactively and implement a process for correcting the problem in the future.
                “Sadly, some employers will disregard the real impact on real people to cut costs” said CSEA President Danny Donohue. “CSEA’s responsibility is to keep the focus on doing what’s right for everyone.”

                City of Lockport must pay Medicare reimbursement
                In the City of Lockport, the city’s Common Council recently voted to pay nearly $90,000 to retired, CSEA-represented city workers to settle a lawsuit over Medicare Part B reimbursements. Medicare Part B, the federal program’s medical insurance component, is crucial to the overall retirement security of millions of Americans.
                CSEA retirees have fought this battle since 2010, when city officials agreed to pay the premium cost of Medicare Part B for retired CSEA members covered by the City of Lockport Unit. City officials soon failed to honor the agreement, and CSEA first sued the city in 2010 for failure to pay the Medicare Part B premiums.
                The litigation, which ultimately included two lawsuits and one arbitration decision, was tentatively settled June 10, 2015, when the Lockport City Council approved a tentative agreement to make retroactive payments in two batches, with the first one due in July and the second scheduled for March 2016.
                The City Council also voted on Wednesday to begin paying the Medicare Part B premiums prospectively every month starting in July, which city officials were supposed to start doing in 2010.
                “Our retirees have earned their benefits, and these benefits are their rights,” Donohue said. “The outcome of these cases should send a message to all public employers that our retirement security is our right, and we will fight for what we have earned. We need to continue to stand strong to ensure that all working people have a dignified, secure retirement.”

                  Essentially Women No. 1 2016

                  Essentially Women is published to share information and generate ideas on subjects important to working women.

                  Read Essentially Women, No. 1, 2016

                  See past editions of Essentially Women

                    CSEA seeking nominees for Nadra Floyd, Membership Achievement awards



                    CALL FOR ENTRIES

                    Nadra Floyd Award for Organizing
                    The Nadra Floyd Award for Organizing honor CSEA members who make an extraordinary contribution to a campaign to organize a new bargaining unit or group of workers into CSEA.

                    The award’s namesake, Floyd, was a longtime union activist who served as CSEA’s director of Organizing from 2000 to her untimely passing in 2001. At the time of her death, Floyd was working to grow CSEA’s membership and transform CSEA’s Organizing program.

                    Membership Achievement Award
                    The Membership Achievement Award recognizes a CSEA member, committee, unit or local that has done the hard work of strengthening the union through internal organizing by signing up newly hired employees as CSEA members or converting agency shop fee payers into members.

                    Download the Nadra Floyd Award for Organizing nomination form
                    Download the Membership Achievement Award nomination form

                    Nominations for both awards must be submitted by August 31, 2018, and mailed to the:

                    CSEA Membership Committee
                    Nadra Floyd Award for Organizing
                    c/o CSEA Organizing Department
                    143 Washington Avenue
                    Albany, N.Y. 12210

                    or CSEA Membership Committee
                    Membership Achievement Award
                    c/o CSEA Organizing Department
                    143 Washington Avenue
                    Albany, N.Y. 12210