This Week in Albany

Week ending November 16, 2018

 

Legislative Update

There are still 278 bills that passed both houses of the legislature that have not yet been sent to the Governor, including many of CSEA’s priority bills. These bills will be delivered to the Governor in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to “This Week in Albany” for more information as it becomes available.

 

Who Will Lead Senate Republicans?

After losing eight seats and their majority, Republicans in the State Senate openly debated this week whether Senator John Flanagan (R-East Northport) would retain his leadership position in the conference. Several Republican Senators publicly supported a change in leadership, with Senator Catharine Young (R-Olean) emerging as Flanagan’s main challenger.

Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins is expected to serve as Majority Leader when the new legislature is seated in January.


Next Year’s Budget Gap Lower than Originally Expected
 
The Division of the Budget projects a budget deficit of $3.1 billion for next fiscal year, a decrease of roughly $1 billion from initial estimates. If State Operations spending is limited to 2%, the deficit would be $402 million.

Governor Cuomo’s FY20 budget proposal is due by February 1, which is the deadline for Executive Budget proposals in the year following a gubernatorial election.


Happy Thanksgiving

“This Week in Albany” will take a week off next week for the Thanksgiving holiday and return on Friday, November 30. Have a safe and happy holiday.

    This Week in Albany

    Week ending November 9, 2018

    Legislative Update

    Governor Cuomo acted on 35 bills this week, including signing into law one of CSEA’s priority bills:

    Allow Step Increases Under Wage Freeze (Nassau County)
    Chapter 355 of 2018

    This legislation will allow employees of Nassau County to receive step increases if the Nassau Interim Finance Agency (NIFA) imposes a second wage freeze. Currently, steps are automatically frozen when a wage freeze order is implemented by NIFA. The loss of step payment increases led to retention and morale issues as well as severe financial hardship among Nassau County employees. Under an agreement reached between the Governor, Senate, and Assembly, this legislation will expire after the end of the next collective bargaining agreement between the County and CSEA, which has not yet been negotiated.

    Blue Wave Hits New York 

    Across the state, Democratic candidates racked up wins on a high turnout midterm Election Day.

    Democrats won all statewide offices, including the re-election of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Governor Andrew Cuomo and State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, and the election of Letitia ‘Tish’ James as Attorney General.

    Three New York Congressional Districts flipped from Republican to Democrat control, with Rep. Dan Donovan losing to Max Rose in NY11, Rep. John Faso losing to Antonio Delgado in NY19, and Rep. Claudia Tenney losing to Anthony Brindisi in NY22.

    The biggest change in New York came in the State Senate. Going into Tuesday, that chamber had 31 Republican seats, 31 Democratic seats, and one Democrat that conferenced with Republicans. At the end of Election Day, it appeared that Democrats will enter 2019 with at least 39 seats, taking control of the Senate for the first time in a decade. Incumbent Senators that appear to have lost include: Carl Marcellino (R-SD5), Kemp Hannon (R-SD6), Elaine Phillips (R-SD7), Marty Golden (R-SD22), and Terrence Murphy (R-SD40). Democrats won in open seats in SD3 (Monica Martinez), SD39 (James Skoufis), and SD42 (Jen Metzger), while Republicans won the open seats in SD43 (Daphne Jordan) and SD50 (Bob Antonacci).

    In the State Assembly, it the Democratic majority will grow by a few seats despite the apparent losses of incumbent Democrats Christine Pellegrino (AD9), Addie Jenne (AD116), and Bill Magee (AD121).

    Thank you to the CSEA members and activists who helped support CSEA-endorsed candidates this election season.

    National Outlook 

    In Congress, Democrats took back control of the House of Representatives for the first time since 2010. Republicans maintained control of the U.S. Senate and grew their majority. The exact number of seats for each party in Congress is still to be determined, as many races are still too close to call.

    Two vehemently anti-union Governors were defeated on Tuesday, with Wisconsin’s Scott Walker (R) and Illinois’ Bruce Rauner (R) both being soundly defeated.


      This Week in Albany

      Week ending November 2, 2018

      Don’t Forget to Vote!

      Election Day is this coming Tuesday, November 6th. Across the state, polls open at 6AM and close at 9PM.

      Make sure you have a plan for voting:

      1. When are you going to vote?
      2. Where are you going to vote?

      Not sure where your polling place is? Click here to find out.


      Over the past six weeks, “This Week in Albany” has highlighted some of the candidates that our union has endorsed. CSEA endorses candidates through a member-driven process that takes into account the best interests of the CSEA membership as a whole. However, CSEA respects the right of all members to vote for the candidates of their choosing, so just make sure that you get out and vote on Tuesday.

      For a full list of CSEA’s endorsements, along with an interactive map of highlighted candidates and video messages, please visit our website.


      How CSEA Votes

      Your vote is your voice, and when CSEA members vote, we make a difference. So how do CSEA members vote?

      • 80% of CSEA members are registered to vote.
      • 71% have voted in at least one of the last four elections.
      • 55% have voted in at least two of the last four elections.
      • 39% have voted in at least three of the last four elections.
      • 22% have voted in each of the last four elections.
      • 5% have voted in every election since 2000.
      • 28% have not voted in the past five years.

      Which category do you fall into?

      If we work together to improve these numbers, we all win. Voting is your right, so don’t give it up.


      Election Spotlights – Region 1 

      This week, we cover additional highlighted races in CSEA Long Island Region 1.

      For each race, click on the photo of CSEA’s endorsed candidate for a video message directly from the candidate.

      Not sure what district you’re in? Click here to find out.

      State Senate District 3

      CSEA Endorsement
      Dean Murray


      Click on the photo to hear from Dean Murray

      Dean Murray was first elected to the State Assembly in 2010. As a member of the Assembly, he has been a proven friend of labor. He fought to save services at Sagamore Children’s Psychiatric Center, co-sponsored legislation to establish workload standards for child protective services workers, co-sponsored the Safe Staffing for Quality Care Act, supported increasing oversight and transparency in economic development programs, and has a superb voting record on CSEA’s priority bills.


      State Senate District 7

      CSEA Endorsement
      Elaine Phillips


      Click on the photo to hear from Senator Elaine Phillips

      Elaine Phillips was first elected to the State Senate in 2016 after serving as Mayor of the Village of Flower Hill. Senator Phillips has been a friend to CSEA throughout her time in office, and has stood with our union against the attacks we’ve faced from Janus v AFSCME. She signed onto an Amicus Brief in favor of the union’s position in Janus, and voted in favor of legislation to protect the rights of CSEA members from the harmful impacts of Janus. She has also co-sponsored numerous pieces of legislation to benefit public employees in Nassau County and throughout the state.


      State Senate District 8

      CSEA Endorsement
      Jeff Pravato


      Click on the photo to hear from Jeff Pravato

      Serving as the Mayor of Massapequa Park for the past five years, Jeff has worked hard to improve the village’s finances and has worked with CSEA members in the village to negotiate fair contracts. Jeff is a strong union supporter who will stand up for union members on Long Island and across New York.


      For a full list of CSEA’s endorsements, along with an interactive map of highlighted candidates, please visit our website.

      Since last week’s “This Week in Albany,” we have added videos from: Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan (SD2), Senator Ken LaValle (SD1), and Senator Phil Boyle (SD4).


        This Week in Albany

        Week ending October 26, 2018

        Legislative Update

        Thirty-five bills were delivered to the Governor this week, including one of CSEA’s priority bills:

        Allow Step Increases Under Wage Freeze (Nassau County)
        S.8805 – Rules / S.10670 – Hooper
        Click here to read CSEA’s support memo for this bill.

        Under current law, if the Nassau Interim Finance Agency (NIFA) implements a wage freeze, all wage increases, including steps, are suspended. Nassau County was recently under a three year wage freeze that caused significant hardship on the working men and women of the county.

        This legislation aims to ease some of this uncertainty. Under this proposal, employees would be eligible to receive step increases during a wage freeze if certain conditions are met.

        Critical areas such as child protective services and emergency dispatch services are finding it more difficult to recruit new employees. In addition, many employees have left the county workforce for other municipalities due to the uncertainty over future wages. This legislation will help Nassau County retain employees and recruit its future workforce.

        Election Spotlights – Regions 1 and 2 

        This week, we cover highlighted races in CSEA Long Island Region 1 and Metropolitan Region 2. There will be more coverage of Long Island Region 1 next week as well.

        For each race, click on the photo of CSEA’s endorsed candidate for a video message directly from the candidate.

        Not sure what district you’re in? Click here to find out.

        State Senate District 5

        CSEA Endorsement
        Carl Marcellino


        Click on the photo to hear from Senator Carl Marcellino

        Senator Carl Marcellino has been fighting for CSEA since first being elected to the Senate.

        Senator Marcellino stood with our union against the attacks we faced from Janus v AFSCME. He signed onto an Amicus Brief in favor of the union’s position in Janus, and voted in favor of legislation to protect the rights of CSEA members from the harmful impacts of the decision.

        He has sponsored legislation to protect our sanitation workers, bus drivers, and children. This year, he sponsored and championed legislation to protect the services provided by CSEA members by prohibiting the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities from outsourcing any State-operated Individualized Residential Alternative facilities to a private operator. Further, as Chair of the Senate Education Committee, Senator Marcellino secured a record $3.2 billion in funding for Long Island’s schools this year.

        Senator Marcellino has fought, and will continue to fight, for CSEA members in the 5th Senate district and all New Yorkers.


        State Senate District 6

        CSEA Endorsement
        Kemp Hannon


        Click on the photo to hear from Senator Kemp Hannon

        Kemp Hannon has been a friend to CSEA throughout his time in the State Senate.

        Senator Hannon stood with our union against the attacks we faced from Janus v AFSCME. He signed onto an Amicus Brief in favor of the union’s position in Janus, and voted in favor of legislation to protect the rights of CSEA members from the harmful impacts of the decision.

        As Chair of the Senate Health Committee, Senator Hannon has fought for additional funding for our safety-net hospitals and has lead the fight to protect mental health services.


        State Senate District 22

        CSEA Endorsement
        Martin Golden


        Click on the photo to hear from Senator Martin Golden

        As Chair of the Senate Civil Service and Pensions Committee, Senator Martin Golden has been a strong supporter of CSEA members and retirees.

        He has sponsored numerous bills that have protected jobs and retirement benefits. This includes legislation granting disciplinary rights to certain state employees that didn’t have this vital protection. Senator Golden also sponsored legislation that would eliminate the lifetime reduction of a pension payment when an outstanding loan is repaid in full.

        These are just a few examples of Senator Golden standing with CSEA.


        For a full list of CSEA’s endorsements, along with an interactive map of highlighted candidates, please visit our website. Content will be added to this page as it becomes available, so if you want more information on races in your area before they are highlighted in “This Week in Albany,” please visit our site.

        Since last week’s “This Week in Albany,” we have added videos from: Senator Shelley Mayer (SD37), James Skoufis (candidate for SD39), Senator Terrence Murphy (SD40), Senator Jim Tedisco (SD49), Senator Rich Funke (SD55), and Senator Catharine Young (SD57).


          This Week in Albany

          Week ending October 19, 2018

          New York Sends Feds More than We Get Back

          A report from Comptroller DiNapoli this week showed that New Yorkers send $24 billion more in tax payments to the federal government than the state receives back in federal spending.

          “New York gives more than it gets back from Washington and threats to cut federal funding for health care and other programs could tip the balance even further,” DiNapoli said.

          New York is one of 11 states that send more to the federal government than it receives back.

          McConnell: We Need to Cut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security

          The U.S. Treasury Department announced recently that the U.S. budget deficit has grown to $779 billion, a 17% increase over last year. The deficit is expected to reach and stay at over $1 trillion in the near future.

          U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security was to blame for the rising deficit, despite the fact that the federal “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017” is expected to add $1.5 trillion to the deficit.

          McConnell suggested that Congress will be looking at cuts to those “entitlement” programs. CSEA opposes proposals to diminish the social safety net and put the jobs and livelihood of CSEA members and retirees at risk.

          Election Spotlights – Region 3 

          This week, we cover highlighted races in CSEA Southern Region 3.

          For each race, click on the photo of CSEA’s endorsed candidate for a video message directly from the candidate.

          Not sure what district you’re in? Click here to find out.

          State Senate District 41

          CSEA Endorsement
          Sue Serino


          Click on the photo to hear from Senator Sue Serino

          Sue Serino has been a friend to CSEA throughout her time in the State Senate.

          This year, Senator Serino was the sponsor of legislation to provide local government employees who are veterans with paid time off for health care services related to their service. She also cosponsored bills to increase school bus safety and reform state procurement practices by restoring State Comptroller oversight.

          Senator Serino has stood side-by-side with CSEA against proposals to force local government consolidation that would have eliminated local services and jobs, opposed the Constitutional Convention, and co-sponsored the pension buy-back law that allowed all public employees who are veterans to receive up to three years of pension credit for their service.


          State Senate District 42

          CSEA Endorsement
          Annie Rabbitt


          Click on the photo to hear from Annie Rabbitt

          Orange County Clerk Annie Rabbitt has proven herself as a fighter for working men and women over a long and successful career in public service. Annie served in the NYS Assembly for eight years. Rabbitt had a warm relationship with CSEA throughout her time in the Assembly, and CSEA routinely endorsed her Assembly campaigns.

          During her time as Orange County Clerk, Annie has worked in conjunction with her CSEA-represented staff to update and modernize the operations of the Clerk’s office, bringing it into the 21st century.


          Congressional District 19

          CSEA Endorsement
          Antonio Delgado

          Click on the photo to hear from Antonio Delgado

          Though he is a newcomer to the New York political scene, Antionio Delgado has stood with union members throughout his campaign for the 19th Congressional District. Delgado recognizes that there has been a sustained attack on union members in recent years, and is committed to standing up for and strengthening unions.

          On the other hand, Delgado’s opponent John Faso has actively worked against working families during his time in Congress. This included an attempt to pass federal legislation to nullify a New York State Law that protects workers who are injured by falls on the job. Faso was also the deciding vote during the House’s attempt to reform health care that would have cost New York $6.9 billion.

          Antonio Delgado would be a strong voice in Washington for CSEA members and all New Yorkers.


          For a full list of CSEA’s endorsements, along with an interactive map of highlighted candidates, please visit our website. Content will be added to this page as it becomes available, so if you want more information on races in your area before they are highlighted in “This Week in Albany,” please visit our site.

          Since last week’s “This Week in Albany,” we have added videos from Senators Kemp Hannon (SD6) and Sue Serino (SD41).


            This Week in Albany

            Week ending October 12, 2018

            Social Security Update

            Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 67 million Americans will increase 2.8 percent in 2019, the Social Security Administration announced this week. The 2.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 62 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2019. The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax will increase to $132,900 from $128,400.

            CSEA continues to advocate for fixes to the Social Security system that ensures its longevity for generations to come.
            Kavanuagh Confirmed

            On Saturday, October 3, the U.S. Senate voted 50-48 to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

            The vote margin was the smallest for a judge confirmed to the Court since 1881. All Republicans except for Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) voted for the nomination, while all Democrats except for Joe Manchin (West Virginia) voted against the nomination.

            Kavanaugh’s confirmation secures the 5-4 conservative majority on the Court while moving the Court decidedly away from worker rights.

            Election Spotlights – Region 4

            This week, we cover highlighted races in CSEA Capital Region 4.

            For each race, click on the photo of CSEA’s endorsed candidate for a video message directly from the candidate.

            Not sure what district you’re in? Click here to find out.

            State Senate District 43

            CSEA Endorsement
            Daphne Jordan

            Click on the photo to hear from Daphne Jordan

            Daphne Jordan has served as a Halfmoon Town Councilmember since 2014. In addition, Daphne has served as a Trustee; a member of the Executive Committee; and as Treasurer for the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library. Daphne is the Legislative Director and Senate Local Government Committee Director for Senator Kathy Marchione. In that role, she worked directly with CSEA to draft legislation to study the staffing levels at the OCFS Brookwood Secure Center in Columbia County. Daphne Jordan will be a friend to CSEA in the State Senate.


            State Senate District 46

            CSEA Endorsement
            George Amedore

            Click on the photo to hear from George Amedore

            George Amedore was first elected to the State Senate in 2014 and previously served in the State Assembly from 2007 to 2012. He is a proven friend to labor and has a 100% voting record on CSEA’s legislative priorities. He was the prime sponsor of legislation for CSEA’s state contract. As co-chair of the Senate’s bipartisan Joint Senate Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, he has worked directly with CSEA members in fighting the opioid epidemic.


            Congressional District 21

            CSEA Endorsement
            Tedra Cobb

            Click on the photo to hear from Tedra Cobb

            Tedra Cobb served as a St. Lawrence County Legislator from 2002 until 2010. While a Legislator she led the effort to create and pass the current St. Lawrence County ethics law and the St. Lawrence County Board of Ethics. Additionally, she was instrumental in securing a project labor agreement for the St. Lawrence County Jail. Tedra’s background is in healthcare and she has created two businesses, a community health agency and Tedra Cobb Associates, to help North County residents navigate the healthcare industry.

            Further, Cobb’s opponent, Elise Stefanik, has a 9% voting record on AFSCME’s legislative priorities.


            For a full list of CSEA’s endorsements, along with an interactive map of highlighted candidates, please visit our website. Content will be added to this page as it becomes available, so if you want more information on races in your area before they are highlighted in “This Week in Albany,” please visit our site.

            Since last week’s “This Week in Albany,” we have added videos from Senators Carl Marcellino (SD5), Martin Golden (SD22), and Joe Griffo (SD47).


              This Week in Albany

              Week Ending October 5, 2018

              “Raise the Age” Goes Into Effect

              New York’s “Raise the Age” law went into effect on October 1. The law removes 16-year-olds from the adult criminal justice system to a more age-appropriate setting. The law will expand to include 17-year-olds on October 1, 2019.

              The requirements of the new law will undoubtedly place additional stress on county probation departments and Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) juvenile justice facilities. CSEA has always advocated that the State properly fund the program, including covering 100% of a local government’s cost for the program. This lead to the inclusion of $100 million for the program in the 2018-19 state budget for counties to hire new probation officers and cover other costs.

              CSEA will continue to advocate for proper State funding for OCFS and local probation departments to ensure that workers have the support that they need to make the program successful.

              Kavanaugh Update

              By a 51-49 vote on Friday, the U.S. Senate advanced the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, setting up a final confirmation vote by the full Senate as early as Saturday.

              The vote had been delayed by a week after Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) called for an FBI investigation into sexual assault allegations against Kavanaugh. Friday’s procedural vote to end     debate came a day after the investigation was completed. Flake voted to end debate, while Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) voted no. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) cast the 51st vote to advance the nomination.

              While Kavanaugh’s confirmation still isn’t assured, it appears likely at this time. Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Court will likely swing the court further in favor of the interests of big business and the wealthy over those of workers.

              Election Spotlight

              This week, we cover highlighted races in CSEA Central Region 5.

              For each race, click on the photo of CSEA’s endorsed candidate for a video message directly from the candidate.

              Not sure what district you’re in? Click here to find out.

              State Senate District 50

              CSEA Endorsement
              Bob Antonacci

              Click on the photo to hear from Bob Antonacci

              Bob Antonacci was first elected Onondaga County Comptroller in 2008. As Comptroller, he has been an advocate for CSEA members throughout Onondaga County. He fought against illegal pay raises for county officials as CSEA members were continually asked to take less. Bob has been an important voice for CSEA members and has held county leaders accountable for their mismanagement of civil service, conducting several audits. Bob will stand strong for the working men and women of the 50th Senate District.


              Congressional District 22

              CSEA Endorsement
              Anthony Brindisi

              Click on the photo to hear from Anthony Brindisi

              Anthony Brindisi was first elected to the State Assembly in 2011. As a member of the Assembly, he has been a strong supporter of labor, and has a 100% voting record on CSEA’s priority bills.

              As an Assemblyman, he has always had an open door policy. He has always been willing to meet with CSEA members to hear our concerns. Brindisi has been a strong advocate for Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center, working side by side with CSEA members to fight against cuts to the Office of Mental Health.

              Brindisi will bring a strong voice in Washington on behalf of working men and women.


              For a full list of CSEA’s endorsements, along with an interactive map of highlighted candidates, please visit our website. Content will be added to this page as it becomes available, so if you want more information on races in your area before they are highlighted in “This Week in Albany,” please visit our site.


                This Week in Albany

                Week ending September 28, 2018

                 

                Kavanaugh Hearing and Vote

                This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing about sexual assault allegations made by Christine Blasey Ford against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

                On Friday afternoon, the day after the hearing, the committee voted to move Kavanaugh’s nomination to the floor. However, Senator Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) said that his vote on the floor will be contingent on the FBI conducting an investigation of the allegations.

                Senator Flake said that he wanted the FBI investigation completed within a week. At this time it is unclear if the White House will ask for an FBI investigation or when a final vote will take place.


                DiNapoli’s Opponent Loves Janus

                Jonathan Trichter, who is challenging Comptroller Tom DiNapoli this fall, was asked on a radio program if he thought that the anti-union Janus v AFSCME Supreme Court decision was a good one. Trichter’s response was: “Janus is probably my favorite Supreme Court Decision.”

                Conversely, Comptroller DiNapoli said on the day of the Janus decision: “Today’s U.S. Supreme Court decision overriding 40 years of legal precedent is just plain wrong…Labor remains the backbone of the New York and American economy. Unions created our middle class – and are still building it. A strong and united labor movement will preserve employee benefits and retirements, support fair contracts and promote safe working conditions.”

                Election Spotlight 

                Over the next six weeks, “This Week in Albany” will be highlighting one or more races in each of CSEA’s six regions.

                For a full list of CSEA’s endorsements, along with an interactive map of highlighted candidates, please visit our website. Content will be added to this page as it becomes available, so if you want more information on races in your area before they are highlighted in “This Week in Albany,” please visit our site.

                This week, we start with highlighted races in CSEA Region 6 – Western New York.

                CSEA Region 6 Election Spotlights

                For each race, click on the photo of CSEA’s endorsed candidate for a video message directly from the candidate.

                Not sure what district you’re in? Click here to find out.

                Congressional District 25


                CSEA Endorsement
                Joe Morelle

                Joe Morelle

                Click on the photo to hear from Joe Morelle

                Joe Morelle is a proven leader. He was first elected to the State Assembly in 1991, and has served as Majority Leader since 2013. Throughout his time in public office, Joe Morelle has proven himself to be a friend of CSEA, and has a 100% voting record on CSEA’s priority bills.

                As the late CSEA Region 6 President Flo Tripi said earlier this year, “We are pleased to announce this endorsement of Joe Morelle for Congress. Joe has been a good friend to labor over his many years in public service. His strong record of delivering results for our community makes him the best choice to continue the legacy of Louise Slaughter.”


                State Senate District 60

                CSEA Endorsement
                Chris Jacobs

                Click on the photo to hear from Chris Jacobs

                Throughout his time in public office, Chris Jacobs has been a friend to CSEA. Prior to serving in the senate, he forged a great working relationship with CSEA members in his capacity as Erie County Clerk.

                As Senator, he rallied with CSEA and gave a keynote address at the First Annual Worker’s Day of Action in Buffalo in February, and voted in favor of legislation to protect the rights of CSEA members from the negative impacts of the Janus v AFSCME decision. He also worked with CSEA to prevent the Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center from moving and has a 100% voting record on CSEA’s priority bills.


                  This Week in Albany

                  Week ending September 21, 2018

                  Legislative Update

                  Fifty bills were delivered to the Governor this week, but the majority of CSEA’s priority bills have not yet been sent to the Governor’s desk.

                  Please check our website and stay tuned to “This Week in Albany” in coming weeks and months for more updates as they become available.
                  Absentee Ballots

                  If you have a child in college, or will yourself be away from home on election day, don’t forget to apply for an absentee ballot so that your vote can be counted on Election Day.

                  October 30 is the last day to mail an application for an absentee ballot, or you can apply in person until November 5. Ballots must be postmarked by November 5.

                  Click here to download an absentee ballot application from the State Board of Elections.


                  Federal Farm Bill

                  The U.S. Senate and House have held several conference committees in order to reach a compromise on an extension of the Farm Bill that expires at the end of September. The Farm Bill is a comprehensive piece of legislation that governs programs used by farmers as well as food subsidy programs utilized by low-income Americans.

                  CSEA is closely monitoring this bill. The House of Representatives included a provision in their bill that would eliminate the merit and fitness staffing requirements to determine eligibility for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This proposal by the House would allow jobs performed by county workers in New York State to be privatized. CSEA is fundamentally opposed to this provision and is actively working to ensure it is excluded from a final bill.

                  Never Quit Fact of the Week

                  One sign of the strength of our union is in the contracts we negotiate. Across New York, CSEA members are covered by about 1,500 contracts that provide fair pay, paid time off, health benefits, and other important benefits.


                    This Week in Albany

                    Week ending September 7, 2018

                    Donohue – Cuomo Telephone Town Hall

                    This week, Governor Cuomo joined CSEA President Danny Donohue for a telephone town hall with CSEA members.

                    On the call, the Governor and President Donohue discussed several issues of importance to CSEA members. Governor Cuomo discussed the need to improve staffing within the state workforce (especially at the Office of Mental Health and Office for People with Developmental Disabilities) and touched on the need to support good middle class jobs in our suburban and rural areas.

                    Importantly, the Governor and President Donohue were very open about the contentious relationship between CSEA and the Executive through the Governor’s first few years in office. The Governor acknowledged that the State was in a difficult financial position when he came into office, and he had to make some decisions that went against what he would have liked to do. President Donohue reiterated that when the Governor has been in the wrong, CSEA has and will continue to call him out on it. But when the Governor does the right thing, as he has throughout the Janus v AFSCME attack on our union, we will stand with him.

                    Thank you to the hundreds of CSEA members who participated.


                    More Pension Fund News

                    In addition to last week’s news on the value of the state’s pension fund, Comptroller DiNapoli announced that employer pension contributions will remain steady for the bills that will be due in February of 2020.

                    The Retirement System always bills employers 18 months before the bill is due so the State and municipalities can include the numbers in their respective budgets.

                    Kavanaugh Hearings Begin

                    Confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh began in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee this week.

                    The hearings were contentious at times. Democratic Senators objected to the hearings moving forward before documents from Kavanaugh’s time as counsel to President George W. Bush were made public, and protesters interrupted the proceedings several times.

                    At this time, there is no date set for a vote on Kavanaugh’s confirmation.


                    Primary Elections

                    Primary Elections for state and local government races will be held next Thursday, September 13.

                    In New York City and the counties of Dutchess, Erie, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester, polls open at 6 AM and close at 9 PM. In all other counties, polls open at 12 noon and CLOSE at 9 PM.

                    Don’t forget that in New York, you must be an enrolled member of a party to vote in that Primary. For example, you must be a registered Democrat to vote in the Democratic Primary for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General.

                    Not sure where your polling place is? Click here to find out.


                    Never Quit Fact of the Week

                    Outside of your workplace, labor unions have an impact on many areas of your life.

                    With the National Football League (NFL) season beginning this weekend, we should recognize that NFL players, as members of the NFL Players Association, are our brothers as members of the AFL-CIO, the referees are members of the NFL Referees Association, and the footballs themselves are made by members of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW).

                    Further, CSEA stands with our brothers and sisters in the Building and Construction Trades Council in New York City in their fight against Miami Dolphins owner and Chairman of The Related Companies Stephen Ross for his company’s union busting tactics at its construction sites.


                    Never Forget

                    CSEA remembers the lives of all who were lost on September 11, 2001, including CSEA members Yvette Anderson, Florence Cohen, Harry Goody, Marian “Marty” Hrycak and Dorothy Temple.