For more than 35 years, Mary E. Sullivan has fought tirelessly for working people’s interests at the grassroots, statewide, and national levels. By mobilizing workers and encouraging internal communication, Sullivan has helped strengthen CSEA’s position as New York’s leading union.
Sullivan began her professional career as an employee of the Herkimer County Department of Social Services. She advanced through the union ranks, serving first as president of the Herkimer County employees unit and then as president of Herkimer County Local 822. She also served as treasurer and 1st vice president of CSEA’s Central Region.
Sullivan was the first local government official to serve in CSEA statewide office when she was chosen by CSEA statewide Board of Directors to fill a vacancy as treasurer of the union. She went on to twice win overwhelming re-election. Sullivan was elected Executive Vice President in 1994.
Sullivan has been a driving force behind CSEA’s Labor Education and Development (LEAD) program, helping to mold and mentor the next generation of union leaders.
A key player in CSEA’s International Union, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), she was elected an AFSCME International Vice President in 1996 and named to its PEOPLE Committee, which raises funds to elect pro-labor candidates.
Sullivan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from SUNY College at Potsdam and is a graduate of the Harvard Trade Union Program at Harvard University. She is a member of the Capital District Chapter of Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA) and Pride@Work (P@W).
In 2009, Sullivan was elected President of the Capital District Area Labor Federation, which represents 120,000 union members and their families across 11 counties in New York’s Capital Region.
An active community volunteer, Sullivan served for nine years on the United Way of New York State Board and currently is Board Treasurer of 211NY. She is also a past president of the Herkimer County Unit of the American Cancer Society, as well as past president of the Herkimer area ZONTA International. She has received numerous awards and recognitions for her service and achievement.
In 2012, Sullivan received the Frances Perkins Award from Eleanor’s Legacy, an organization named in honor of Eleanor Roosevelt dedicated to building a new generation of New York women leaders. The award recognizes the leadership of a New Yorker active in the organized labor movement who is dedicated to improving New Yorkers’ quality of life on and off the job.